HiLIFE Research Trainee Scholarships

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Do you dream of working one day as a scientist? Wait no longer!
HiLIFE Research Trainee Scholarships provide exciting opportunities to follow your own
scientific curiosity.. The scholarships are granted once per year, and include both an
international and a local call. In the international call, students may apply to any top research
institution abroad, while in the local call in any research group within the University of Helsinki.

NOTE: The application period is August 29 - October 7, 2022.

Why should you consider applying for the grant?

Practical research training during undergraduate BSc, MSc and Lic (Med, Vet Med) studies can
be an empowering experience. HiLIFE Research Trainee Scholarships offer an opportunity to
conduct a research training period at a life science research group as a part of voluntary studies
(particularly BSc/MSc/Lic thesis). The research group can be selected both at the University of
Helsinki or at another research institute abroad.
The HiLIFE Research Trainee Scholarships will provide financial support for a four-month
training period. HiLIFE will grant a total of ten HiLIFE Research Trainee Scholarships, five for
research to be conducted at UH (up to €1500/month), and five for research to be conducted
abroad (up to €2000/month plus up to €1000 for travel costs).
Read more about the experiences of other trainees in the HiLIFE Research Trainee
Scholarships blog.

Who is eligible to apply?

This programme is open to all BSc/MSc/Lic students studying life sciences at the University of
Helsinki. Although students enrolled in life science faculties will have priority, students from
other UH faculties can also apply provided they have a project related to life science research.

Life Science faculties at the University of Helsinki are: 

  • Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry
  • Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences
  • Faculty of Pharmacy
  • Faculty of Medicine
  • Faculty of Science
  • Faculty of Veterinary Medicine

The scholarship is intended for students who are starting a new internship and not extending an existing one. Moreover, the scholarship cannot be used to carry out research after you have completed your MSc/Lic degree, nor it can be a reason to delay the completion of your degree.
If you intend to apply for a position abroad, you have to match one of these criteria:

  • You will be continuing research that you started at UH, or
  • You will be carrying out research that is not conducted at UH.

If selected for a position abroad, you will have to have a co-supervisor from UH and will have to purchase Health Insurance for the duration of your internship. Please also note that Switzerland is not among the countries eligible for this type of scholarship.

Selection criteria

  • Grades (You can order a transcript of studies in Sisu)
  • CV (max. 2 pages)
  • Motivation letter (max. 1 page) where you are expected to describe your motivation to do
    research, explain what research topic/question you would like to investigate and why, and define an outstanding question in that field. Please also describe how the internship would benefit your future and, if you already have an idea of where you would like to conduct your research, explain why you would like to join that specific lab.
  • Interview by the HiLFE EDU selection committee (for short-listed students). The
    committee is composed of HiLIFE researchers from different life science fields.

How to apply?

Applications are to be sent by filling out this elomake form where you will be able to attach the
above mentioned three attachments (transcript, CV, motivation letter). All material included in
the application should be in English, and in PDF format. The application period is between
August 29 - October 7, 2022. Applications close at 4.00pm EEST and late applications will not
be considered.

Timeline

  • Application period August 29 - October 7, 2022.
  • Candidates selected for the interview will be notified by October 26
  • Interviews will take place on November 2 in Biokeskus 1, room 3109, Viikki campus
  • Selected trainees will be announced by November 15
  • The internship must be conducted between January 2023 and December 2023

Selected trainees will commit to:

  • Carry out the internship between January 2023 and December 2023 (unless exceptional circumstances cause a delay)
  • Attend the infosession on November 23 at 3.00-4.00pm EET in Biokeskus 1, room 3109, Viikki campus
  • Write two blog posts for the HiLIFE Trainee blog and post about their experience on the HiLIFE Trainee social media channels (Twitter and Instagram)
  • Participate to two science communication workshops organized jointly with The Science Basement:
    • How to write a blog post - December 7, 2022, at 3.00-5.00pm EET in Biokeskus 1, room 3109, Viikki campus
    • How to communicate your science on social media - January

More information about the programme

There will be an information event about the programme on Monday, September 26, 2022,
3.00-4.00pm EEST, in Biokeskus 1, room 3109, Viikki campus.

You may also send enquiries to hilife-edu@helsinki.fi.

HiLIFE Research Trainee Scholarship FAQ

Who can participate, and how is life science defined?
The program is intended for students interested in life science research that are enrolled in BSc, MSc or Lic (Med and Vet Med) Degree Programs at the University of Helsinki. Students from the Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Pharmacy, Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Faculty of Science and Faculty of Medicine will have priority in the call, however students from other UH faculties can also apply provided they have a project related to life science research.

Can I apply for both a scholarship abroad and at the University of Helsinki?

No, the application form will allow you to select only one option. Note that there are specific conditions applying for the internships conducted abroad.

Can I apply for this scholarship if I want to extend my stay at a UH research lab?
The scholarship is intended for students who are starting a new internship and not extending an existing one. You can still submit your application but priority will be given to students starting a new research project.

Do I have to conduct the internship within one time period?

Yes, the 4 months internship cannot be split into multiple instances with breaks in between. If you are under extraordinary conditions restricting you from having the internship in one go in full time, we can consider exchanging part of the internship to part-time work. This has to be approved by the selected research group. If any special request, make sure to indicate these in your application. Full-time and -length internships are preferred.

 

I want to try out different types of research. Can I split the internship for conducting research on two groups instead of one?

We highly recommend selecting just one group for the 4 months internship period, as it will give you a more in-depth view of the research topic. Also, this is often preferred by the research groups. However, if the types of research you wish to conduct are offered within the same research group/lab, and both PI’s are agreeing on the arrangement, this option can be considered. Please state in your application how you would make such an arrangement work.

Can this scholarship be used for conducting internships at a start-up or other industry-based organization?

Although we would like to see the scholarship opportunities expanding to life science start-upsin the future, at the moment the scholarship is only offered to be used within academia. If a research group is involved in company collaboration, this can be incorporated into the internship, however, the contracting and other official arrangements have to be made though the research group.

Can I apply to this scholarship if I have already completed (or I am in the process of
completing) my MSc/Lic thesis?

No, the scholarship cannot be used to carry out research after you have completed your
MSc/Lic thesis. Also note, that the scholarship should not delay the completion of your degree.

What are the criteria to apply for an internship abroad?
If you intend to apply for a position abroad, you have to match one of these criteria:

  • You will be continuing research that you started at UH, or
  • You will be carrying out research that is not conducted at UH.

If selected for a position abroad, you will have to have a co-supervisor from UH and will have to purchase Health Insurance for the duration of your internship. Please also note that Switzerland is not among the countries eligible for this type of scholarship.

Can I get credits for this training period?
It is strongly encouraged that you try to implement the practical training as a part of your degree and be prepared to explain how you will do that to the selection committee. However, policies differ between different study programs and you should consult the guidelines of your study programme to find out how to credit this period as a part of your degree.

What if I have 1-2 courses overlapping my internship period? Am I unable to apply for the scholarship?

Often minimal overlaps of a few hours here and there can be agreed with the research group. More important is to think about the quality of delivered research work, your trainee experience and study performance, if you have multiple commitments at the same time.

Why should I consider applying?
This is an opportunity to work as a part of a research group on a topic that you find fascinating. You are expected to learn new things and improve your analytical, communication, teamwork and technical skills. You will build new personal and professional connections and experience what it is like to be a member of the academic research group. If you are selected, you will be offered a monthly salary covering the living costs.

What information is required for the application?
To be eligible, the application must include the following three attachments in PDF format:

  1. Motivation letter (max 1 page): describe your motivation to do research, explain what research topic/question you would like to investigate and why, and define an outstanding question in that field. Please also describe how the internship would benefit your future and, if you already have an idea of where you would like to conduct your research, explain why you would like to join that specific lab.
  2. CV, which includes research and other work experience (max 2 pages).
  3. Most recent study transcript (which you can order in Sisu).

Where can I start looking for research groups?
The webpages of University of Helsinki Life Science departments and research institutions are a good way to source what type of research is conducted.

Institute of Biotechnology
Neuroscience Center
Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland
Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry
Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences
Faculty of Medicine
Faculty of Pharmacy
Faculty of Science
Faculty of Veterinary Medicine
A good way to find a suitable lab abroad is to check the corresponding authors of publications you find interesting.

What happens if I cannot secure a position at a research group?

This is very rare, but in case there are challenges to obtain a position, we can provide support. Any adjustments to the planned internship dates will be negotiated on a case-by-case basis. It is very important to keep us updated during the process.

How are the applications evaluated?
The applications will be scored independently by the members of the HiLIFE EDU committee. We look for curious, ambitious, independent, and self-reliant students. The committee will evaluate your previous success in studies and will pay special attention to your motivation letter. The best ranked applicants will be invited for an interview with the HiLIFE EDU committee.

Who will be in the selection committee?
The HiLIFE EDU committee includes researchers from different HiLIFE units, representing
different disciplines of life sciences. Please pay attention to this while writing your motivation letter, and aim to convey the key points of your research in a clear and concise manner to the entire committee.

What is expected of me if I am selected?

  • You are expected to directly contact the host research group of your interest after you have received a notice of your selection – not before (help is provided for this).
  • You will conduct a full-time research project for 4 months between January 2023 and December 2023 (unless exceptional circumstances cause a delay)
  • You need to adhere to the guidelines of your study programme in order to obtain credits.
  • You will attend the infosession on November 23 at 3.00-4.00pm EET in Biokeskus 1, room 3109, Viikki campus
  • You are expected to contribute to the programme social media outreach by writing two blog posts for the HiLIFE Trainee blog and posting about your experience on the HiLIFE Trainee social media channels (Twitter and Instagram)
  • You will participate to two science communication workshops organized with The Science Basement:
    • How to write a blog post - December 7, 2022, at 3.00-5.00pm EET in Biokeskus 1, room 3109, Viikki campus
    • How to communicate your science on social media - January 24, 2023, at 3.00-5.00pm EET in Biokeskus 1, room 3109, Viikki campus
  • If you are selected for an internship abroad, you will be required to purchase Health Insurance for the duration of your internship.

Where can I get more information?
There will be an information event about the programme on Monday, September 26, 2022,
3.00–4.00pm EEST, in Biokeskus 1, room 3109, Viikki campus. You may also send enquiries to hilife-edu@helsinki.fi.

Where and when can I apply?
Applications are to be sent by filling out this elomake form where you will be able to attach the transcript, CV and motivation letter. All material included in the application should be in English, and in PDF format. The application period is between August 29 - October 7, 2022. Applications close at 4.00pm EEST and late applications will not be considered.

When will I know if I got selected?
You will be informed by October 26 if you have been selected for an interview. Interviews will be conducted on November 2 and decisions on the awarded grants will be announced by
November 15.

When should I conduct the internship?
The internships must be conducted between January and December 2023.

Do you provide support for work continuation at the research group after the internship has ended?

We cannot guarantee that the research group would provide employment opportunities afterwards, nor do we have a grant for that purpose. However, performing well in the research and actively networking with the research group has provided further opportunities for some of our scholarship recipients. Our tip is to be active and demonstrate that you would be interested in continuing the research.

What will I learn during the science communication workshops?
The two workshops organized jointly with The Science Basement will teach you how to
communicate complex scientific information and ideas in a creative and engaging way. During the first workshop (on December 7), you will learn the key elements of a blog post, how to use storytelling in science, as well as a few good practices for peer-review. The second workshop (on January 24) will recap the most important point of blog writing and then focus on how to communicate science on social media (especially Twitter and Instagram).

What is HiLIFE?
HiLIFE is a new life science institute at the University of Helsinki established in 2017 supporting high quality research across campuses and life science faculties. HiLIFE builds on existing strengths and new recruits and partnerships to create an attractive international environment for solving grand challenges in health, food and the environment. HiLIFE operates across faculties that conduct research and education in life sciences.
https://www.helsinki.fi/en/helsinki-institute-of-life-science/about