The University of Helsinki, the Higher School of Economics and the FRRESH Network welcome PhD students to a seven-day intensive course, which will be held at the HSE St. Petersburg campus on March 18-24, 2019.

Course description

The intensive course is aimed for post-graduate students working in the field of social sciences and humanities. It will concentrate on practical skills of a young scholar by focusing on four modules:

1. Thesis under construction – research and writing as a process
2. How to write and publish an article in a scientific journal
3. Improve your teaching – pedagogical tips and new trends
4. Making outstanding applications for funding

The lecturers and the supervisors of the intensive course are experienced lecturers and professors of the University of Helsinki and the Higher School of Economics. They have a solid experience in multidisciplinary and international research training, publishing and university pedagogy. Moreover, they have also applied and run many successful research and educational projects and represent different disciplines in the field of humanities and social sciences.

Lecturers and supervisors of the course

Professor Olga Malinova HSE, Moscow
Professor Vladimir Gel’man University of Helsinki / EUSP
Professor Irina Busygina HSE, St. Petersburg
Associate Professor Andrey Starodubtsev University of Helsinki / HSE, St. Petersburg
Adjunct Professor Sari Autio-Sarasmo University of Helsinki
Senior Researcher Kaarina Aitamurto University of Helsinki

The intensive course consists of lectures, workshops and thematic panels. The participants of the course will prepare a workshop paper on their research (5 pages) which can be a research proposal, a draft for an article or a summary of the current status of their PhD. The course literature will be sent in advance. The workload for the course is 5 ECTS.

How to apply

Please send your application by December 10, 2018 to the address Application should include the following documents:

1. Motivation letter with a short (200 words) description of your research
2. CV
3. Abstract of your research for the workshop (300 words)

The participants coming outside of St. Petersburg are provided the travel (from Moscow or Helsinki) and the accommodation in St. Petersburg. Please note that places on the course are limited. The notification of acceptance will be sent by December 14, 2018.

For more information on the course, please contact coordinator of the course Dr. Ira Jänis-Isokangas (


Information on the lecturers and the supervisors of the course

Olga Malinova is Professor in the Department of Social Science and Academic Director of the Doctoral School of Political Science at the HSE University in Moscow. She has specialized i.a. in symbolic politics, identity studies, memory politics, political ideologies and political culture. Currently she is working in a research project on collective memory in Russian political discourse during the 1990s and the 2000s.

Vladimir Gel’man is Professor at the Aleksanteri Institute, University of Helsinki and at the European University at St. Petersburg. His research focus is on politics and governance in Russia and post-Soviet Eurasia. He is also a board member of Demokratizatsiya: The Journal of Post-Soviet Democratization, European Political Science and the associated editor of Russian Politics.

Irina Busygina is Professor in the Department of Applied Politics at the HSE University in St. Petersburg and at the Center for Global Politics in the Free University of Berlin. She has published widely on comparative politics, globalization and regional integration, European integration, German politics and Russian foreign policy. In addition, she is a member of the editorial boards of two academic journals: Baltic Region and Russian Politics.

Andrey Starodubtsev works as Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at the HSE University in St. Petersburg and as Postdoctoral Researcher at the Aleksanteri Institute, University of Helsinki. His expertise covers such themes as comparative federalism and decentralisation, public policy and authoritarian modernisation in contemporary Russia.

Sari Autio-Sarasmo is University Lecturer in Russian Studies at Aleksanteri Institute. She is an economic historian with the title of docent in General History. Her research interest are in East-West interaction during the Cold War era and economic modernisation of the Soviet Union and Russia. She has supervised several PhD theses, and in 2018-2019 she is Visiting International Professor (VIP) in research training at the University of Bochum, Germany.

Kaarina Aitamurto is Senior Researcher and Docent in Study of Religions at the Aleksanteri Institute, University of Helsinki. She has specialized in Islam in Russia, contemporary Slavic Paganism, the governance of religion in Russia, religion and nationalism in Russia, and Central-Asian migrant workers in Russia. Her present research interests lie in the areas of representations of Islam in Russia, Islamophobia and Muslim minorities in St. Petersburg and Moscow. She is a member of the editorial board of Transcultural Studies (Brill) and the editor of the project Religion and Spirituality in Russia and Eastern Europe.


The intensive course is funded by the Finnish National Agency for Education’s FIRST Programme and organised by the Aleksanteri Institute, the University of Helsinki and the HSE Moscow and St. Petersburg. The course is also a part of the Finnish-Russian Network for Russian and Eurasian Studies (FRRESH) funded by the KONE Foundation.



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