The rotation periods aim to familiarise the MD PhD students with hands-on research. During these periods, students will familiarise themselves with the research methods and settings of different research groups and join the scientific community. After each rotation period, students should know what the group in question is studying and why, as well as have familiarised themselves with their key research methods.
Students selected to the MD PhD programme will complete a total of four rotation periods in three to four research groups during their first two summer breaks. They will work in these groups for three months during both the first and second summers, usually in June, July and August, i.e., outside teaching periods. They will work for approximately one and a half months in each group, and at least one of the rotation periods must be completed in a Faculty research group carrying out clinical research. The rotation periods (1st and 2nd summer) will be funded by the Faculty of Medicine. When selecting the groups, students should pay attention to such aspects as the size, structure, productivity and research interests of the group in question. Many students will later join one of these groups to complete their doctoral studies, but students are also allowed to complete their dissertations in other groups.
- Students have the right to appropriate supervision and occupational safety.
- Students completing their rotation periods must be treated fairly and equally.
Students and supervisors
MD PhD students should independently contact research group leaders well in advance to discuss the possibility to complete the rotation period in the group in question. Students intending to complete a rotation period are undergraduate students, so their laboratory work experience should be assessed before drafting more detailed job descriptions.
Senior researchers in the research groups must have at least the qualifications of a docent, and the group must be carrying out high-quality research. The de facto supervisor of the work must be available throughout the rotation period. The supervisor must commit to the assignment and have the required knowledge and skills.
MD PhD programme tutors
The steering group of the MD PhD programme must appoint two to three tutors for each year group. The tutors will provide general advice and answer students’ questions on the programme. In addition, the tutors will advise students on selecting suitable research groups.
Students must prepare a report after each summer spent completing rotation periods and submit it to the programme by 15 September. The report should reflect on, e.g., different research periods, the methods learned and the results obtained. Students should familiarise themselves with the reporting form (available in Finnish) well before preparing their reports.
Frequently asked questions about the rotation periods
I wish to complete a rotation period abroad. How can I do that?
A rotation period completed abroad is a rewarding experience, even though it requires a bit more organising compared to rotations completed in Helsinki. Finding a suitable research group is your responsibility, but you should ask for tips from senior students and, when necessary, the programme's Education Planning Officer. After finding a suitable group, please announce the relevant details in a manner similar to other rotation periods. Unfortunately, the pay for rotation periods completed abroad will be the same as for periods completed in Finland. However, you should check whether you are entitled to an increased student grant for the duration of the rotation. If necessary, the Education Planning Officer will provide you with a separate certificate on the rotation for Kela, the Social Insurance Institution of Finland. Please note that no credits will be awarded for rotation periods. Airline tickets, accommodation and other travel arrangements are your responsibility.
Next summer, I only want to work in one research group. Is that OK?
The MD PhD Programme’s speciality lies in the opportunity to visit several different rotation groups before choosing your research group. Students ought to go to at least three different groups in two years, with one of the groups being a clinical research group. However, if it is the best thing for the student due to, for example, their situation in life or interest to finish the rotations in the same group, it is possible to do so and you could commit to a group after the first summer. Please contact the programme's Education Planning Officer (email@example.com) if due to your circumstances you can only work in one group. The schedules are flexible and we will always try to resolve the cases in students’ favour.
One rotation period must be completed in a research group of the Faculty conducting clinical research. What is considered a clinical research group?
Clinical research groups are groups where the group director is conducting clinical research or where patient data is being processed. If unsure about a certain group fulfilling the criteria for clinical research groups, you can check the matter with the Education Planning Officer.
Should I commit to a research group already after my first summer?
You should not. It is a good idea to see more than one group before you decide on yours. Some of the groups will not even let you choose their group after the first summer.
However, if it is the best thing for the student due to, for example, their situation in life or interest to finish the rotations in the same group, it is possible to do so and you could commit to a group after the first summer. In this case, it is a good idea to discuss the matter first with MD PhD’s Education Planning Officer before making any definite plans.
Should I do part-time research already after my first rotation summer (second year of studies)?
This depends on the student. The MD PhD does not require doing part-time research, however, if the student has time and energy to do so, they can. It is good to keep in mind though, that new research groups become available after the first rotation summer. Working in more than one group might help the student in deciding their own research topic.