For New Postdocs
At the heart of most postdocs when looking for jobs, is whether the new job or country will be a good fit. One of the big questions we ask ourselves, is if the new job is worth the relocation. So, whether you are an international postdoc or Finnish national planning to join the University of Helsinki, here are a few reasons to further convince you of having made the right decision. And if that isn’t enough, here are some outlined benefits of being an employee of the University of Helsinki.
Arriving in Finland
The University has vast resources tailored to welcoming new staff members that are definitely worth looking at before your arrival. These include but are not limited to, Finnish language courses, adapting to Finnish culture and even the most mind-boggling of all, figuring out the Finnish Tax system. A dedicated site and email (email@example.com) for international researchers moving to Finland can be found here. More information about working at the University can also be found here. And since we are living in a digital age, there is now an application (Uniarrival app) which takes you through a checklist of all things necessary for your relocation. University of Helsinki is also a member of EURAXESS, a pan-European initiative aimed at providing information and support services to professional researchers.
The Viikki campus
Now that you’re armed with knowledge about what it means to be living and working in Finland, what about working in Viikki? The Viikki campus, can be arrived at quite easily using public transportation from the city center, airport and railway station. The Municipality of Helsinki offers quite a good transport system and travel routes can be planned via Journey planner or the HSL app.
Residential areas in Viikki and the vicinity are more of the suburban kind (great for families) however, if you are not (yet) family-oriented or are not quite ready for suburban life, there are plenty of other livelier areas to find accommodation. Again, the University has a dedicated site that assists newcomers in finding suitable accommodation. For those relocating with family, there are support services available to equip you with all the information you need. Not to worry, if you are relocating alone, the university has a Unibuddy system (firstname.lastname@example.org) where international staff are paired with a buddy who can help with integrating into the social world of the university, Helsinki Metropolis and Finland in general.
If you are a nature-lover, then Viikki is the best place to be working. The Viikki campus is surrounded by vast fields and forests and is even in close proximity to the sea. It is also the home of the Viikki nature reserve which has also been featured on the official Finland travel guide.
On the academic side, the Viikki campus is a multidisciplinary hub for teaching and research in the biosciences, agriculture and forestry, pharmacy, and veterinary medicine. You can find more information on all things Viikki-campus related here. It is also home to BI (Institute of biotechnology) which is a unit of HiLIFE, and other governmental research institutes such as LUKE and EVIRA.
We hope that this is enough to get you started. If it isn’t, feel free to contact us via email@example.com and we will try our best to help or put you in touch with someone who can! And, while you are out there exploring Helsinki, be sure to check out the main campus library, a personal favorite.
For Current Postdocs
The University has a bulk of resources for personnel aimed at personal and career development. These area grouped under continuing education for staff members and include diverse courses such as professional development and master classes organized throughout the year. In addition, Language courses are also offered throughout the year and a schedule for Viikki is usually advertised in fall. Career services also organizes workshops, although these appear to be targeted to undergraduates but are nonetheless useful for gaining new skills in job-hunting.
For those interested in more formal learning opportunities, the University of Helsinki does have an on-going cooperation with the Open University.
If you’re headed the academic career route, the university offers several options including information on tenure-track and professorships, which can be found here. There is also a detailed description of the requirements necessary for teaching and research staff. More information on the university four-tier system can be found in Flamma (requires login). In addition, there is a dedicated unit aimed at assisting researchers with funding applications e.g. grants. More information can also be obtained through email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
In addition, for those postdocs who are commercially inclined, there is the Helsinki Think company which is the entrepreneurship society of the University of Helsinki. At the very least by being involved, you will learn the ins and outs of starting or joining a business.
ViPA plans to provide a number of workshops that will aim to cater for both career tracks, so keep your eyes peeled and watch this space!
Funding and career resources
Here is a list of references and resources supplied by Tamara Bar-Magen Numhauser at the recent ViPA funding Seminar.
Grinstein A and Treister R. The unhappy postdoc: a survey based study [version 2; referees: 2 approved, 1 approved with reservations, 1 not approved]. F1000Research 2018, 6:1642 (https://doi.org/10.12688/f1000research.12538.2)
John Ziker, The Long, Lonely Job of Homo academicus, https://thebluereview.org/faculty-time-allocation/
Jeremy Yoder https://chroniclevitae.com/news/1775-i-found-a-tenure-track-job-here-s-what-it-took
The New Scientist (https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn21491-eight-ways-to-set-yourself-apart-as-a-postdoc/)