Happy holidays & introduction to new board

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HYVÄT wants to thank all of its members, supporters and other collaborators for a fruitful year 2019. This year we demanded, we surveyed, we socialized and we celebrated. HYVÄT’s membership count kept growing  and the association can’t wait to utilize all the grown potential in year 2019.

Next year is in good hands. About half of the old board were re-elected, but we also got some new active doers. You can find next year’s board below. All of their emails are “first.last@helsinki.fi”. Next year’s tasks will be allocated in mid-January. Please let us know at phd-board@helsinki.fi if you are interested to help us next year!

Happy holidays and see you again next year!

Board 2019
Anton Saressalo (chairperson)
Cecilia Berardo
Samaneh Khalili
Merja Kiiskinen
Petra Lehtoruusu
Krista Longi
Joonas Maristo
Ville Pikkarainen
Jari Rinta-aho

Call for applications for PhD student representatives for the Doctoral Programme in Biomedicine

HYVÄT is looking for a PhD student representative for the octoral Programme in Biomedicine for the term from February 2019 until the end of the year. Being a student representative is a rewarding experience on many levels and an opportunity to improve the doctoral education.

Apply by sending a freely formed application to the HYVÄT board (phd-board@helsinki.fi) at latest on Thu Dec 13th at 16:00. You have to be a PhD student in the programme to be eligible to apply.

DPBM is a broad, international doctoral program that organizes training in the fields of biomedicine and translational and molecular medicine. The aim of DPBM is to train internationally competent experts with excellent skills to continue research or work in other demanding expert positions of the public or private sectors.

Doctoral Programme in Biomedicine doctoral candidates have the opportunity to participate in an excellent research training program including basic and advanced courses in biomedical research offered locally, nationally,  and internationally.  The course offerings include an extensive variety of practical training courses, seminar series and scientific symposia.  Doctoral Programme in Biomedicine doctoral candidates may also participate in all courses that are arranged by DSHealth, in areas including transferable skills, and by other doctoral programs in the school.

The Doctoral Programme in Biomedicine operates within DSHealth in the highly international research environments of the Meilahti and Viikki campuses of the University of Helsinki, offering excellent research and training facilities, high quality infrastructure, and extensive networks and collaborations.

Call for applications: for PhD student representatives for the Doctoral Programme in Political, Societal and Regional Change

HYVÄT is looking for a PhD student representative for the Doctoral programme in Political, Societal and Regional Change for the year 2019.

Apply by sending a freely formed application to the HYVÄT board (phd-board@helsinki.fi) at latest on Sun Dec 9th. You have to be a PhD student in the programme to be eligible to apply.

The Doctoral Programme in Political, Societal and Regional Change belongs to the Doctoral School in Humanities and Social Sciences. The PSRC has 240 doctoral candidates. Seventeen of them are funded by the Doctoral Programme. The PSRC is multidisciplinary by nature. It offers lectures, courses, seminars and conferences on a variety of topics from politics and history to research skills and supervision.

The PSRC’s responsible faculty is the Faculty of Social Sciences. The PSRC includes disciplines and research areas from four faculties of the University of Helsinki: the Faculty of Social Sciences, the Faculty of Arts, and the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry.

University of Helsinki PhD Kick-off 2019

University of Helsinki, HYVÄT and City of Helsinki organized PhD kick-off on 5th of  November at University’s Main Building. The event started with welcome words by Vice Rector Paula Eerola and  Anton Saaresalo on behalf of HYVÄT. Later PhD students had the chance to mingle and  ask questions about living, working and studying in Helsinki and in the University. 

HUART’s survey for early career researchers – results published

The Helsinki University Researchers’ and Teachers’ Association, HUART made a survey directed to early career researchers, meaning researchers who are doing the PhD or have graduated only a few year’s ago. Young does in other words not refer to the age of the researcher, but to the early career stage they are in. The now published results are interesting because the main themes are largely the same as the ones that came up in HYVÄT’s earlier survey for PhD researchers.  The main difficulties early stage researchers face according to HUART’s survey are: 1) unstable funding, 2) uncertain career prospects, 3) bureacracy and uncertainty of support in case of unemployment, and, 4) the experience of not being included into the academic community.

1. Unstable funding
Almost 40 % of the respondents were working on a salary, and 24 % were working on a grant, while some were working partly on a salary and partly on a grant. Around 6 % were unemployed. Although this is a small percentage, up to 30 % of the respondents had been unemployed at some point during the dissertation project.

The difficulty of gettimg secure long-term funding was the greatest concern of the respondent. 73 % reported that they had more than one source of funding, 38 % had 4 or 5 different sources of funding.
The salary or grant is not always enough to make a living: 18 % of the grantees and 14 % of the employed reported that they had difficulties in making ends meet.

In addition, the salary system of the university was seen as non-transparent. A fifth of the Finnish respondents and 56 % of international respondents did not know according to which level (vaati-taso) their salary was calculated. This is a serious problem, and a sign of unequality between Finnish and international staff.

2. Uncertain career prospects

A few years after graduation only around 40 % doctors work in academia. However, 49 % of the respodents hoped to have an academic career within research. They saw themselves as researchers, and wished to continue doing reserach and teaching, but saw many obstacles on this path. Working hard to get an academic career, but with no assurance that the hard work will pay off, does little to motivate people. Many described an academic career as a dream that was likely not to come true. Hopelessness, cynicism, and disappointment was evident in the open answers about career prospects.

3. Bureacracy and uncertainty of support in case of unemployment

The unemployed reported that unemployment meant increased uncertainty and often the need to really fight for their rights. Especially those working on a grant described arbitrary descisions that sometimes interpreted them as entrepreneurs or students, which has meant that they did not get any unemployment support, while others in the same situation did.

4. Experiences of not being included into the academic community

A little more than 40 % of the respondents reported that they do not feel included in the academic community. (In HYVÄT’s survey 47 % reported the same). The employed ones reportd being a little bit better integrated, but but still 38 % of them too did not feel integrated. The open answers said that regular staff belittle the position of young researchers, and that the early career researchers were excluded from many activities and infrastructures such as teaching opportunities, pedagogy courses, e-mail lists, workspaces, and laboratories. Some grant researchers even did teaching and other kinds of work for free in order to gain experience to put on the CV.

This was seen as unfair because the university nevertheless profits from all articles and completed degrees that the affiliated young researchers produce.

The entire report can be read here (in Finnish only).