The Fellowship involves a one to three months research stay at the Aleksanteri Institute, the Finnish Centre for Russian and Eastern European studies, which is ranked as one of the best research environments in Europe. As a Visiting Fellow, you have an outstanding opportunity to concentrate on your research, get to know the Finnish research landscape and build new cooperation networks.
What do we offer?
“The Institute is an amazing place to work. The resources Helsinki can offer are very impressive and the discussions with colleagues at the Aleksanteri Institute also proved most useful.” - Christine Engel, Professor of Russian Literature, Film and Culture, University of Innsbruck
The Aleksanteri Institute provides the Visiting Fellows with office space located right in the middle of Helsinki city centre. IT facilities, as well as use of the Institute’s in-house library and other University of Helsinki libraries and their online services are included. The unique Slavonic Library is just around the corner and its professional staff are well prepared to welcome our Visiting Fellows.
“This is a real opportunity to get down to work without distractions and the environment is great – very intellectual, with many disciplines and topics. This mix is inspirational, and helps spark lots of ideas. The resources are excellent and everything is so well-organised.” - Jelena Obradovic-Wochnik, Senior Lecturer in Politics and International Relations, Aston University
The lively academic community at the Aleksanteri Institute consists of 50 researchers and experts on Russian and Eastern European Studies. As a national centre in its field, the Institute is also a perfect starting point for getting to know the Finnish scholarly world: our network covers 12 universities all over Finland: Aalto University, Hanken School of Economics, Lappeenranta University of Technology, University of Eastern Finland, University of Jyväskylä, University of Lapland, University of Oulu, University of Tampere, University of Turku, University of Vaasa and Åbo Akademi. And – of course – the University of Helsinki, where the Institute is affiliated with the Faculty of Arts.
Each Visiting Fellow has two hosts who facilitate their integration into the local academic scene. The hosts are chosen so that they share a common scholarly interest with the guest, but all of the Aleksanteri staff will help you in getting the most out of your visit.
“It was terrific to have the opportunity to engage with a community of committed scholars and researchers who are working, in an interdisciplinary context, on topics on Eastern Europe. ...everyone at the Institute was so helpful, generous with their time, and willing to give advice about the city and the university. My academic hosts were also very helpful in meeting with me, providing suggestions and inviting me to Tampere for the day." - Barbara J. Falk, Canadian Forces College / Royal Military College of Canada / University of Toronto, Canada
Helsinki is one of the safest cities in the world but that doesn't mean it's boring! In fact, Helsinki has repeatedly been ranked among the top ten places to live and visit in the whole world (Helsinki Times, July 2021). You can get to know the city via MyHelsinki.
In addition to academic activities, the Aleksanteri Institute arranges extra-curricular activities such as cultural excursions and trips to the nearby nature destinations for the Visiting Fellows according to their interests whenever possible.
The Aleksanteri Visiting Fellows are invited to stay in the affordable but very centrally located university guest house Töölö Towers which offers a selection of Scandinavian style rooms and larger apartments also for those travelling with family. Breakfast and weekly cleaning is included in the price as is the sauna and use of the laundry. You can also access the University Wi-fi from the apartment. You are welcome to use the Unisport gym and join in the group classes at the staff rate, in any of its six locations – one of which is near the Aleksanteri Institute, one close to the Töölö Towers accommodation.
The Towers are situated by the beautiful Hesperia park leading to one of the most popular beaches in Helsinki, the Hietaniemi or "Hietsu" beach with plenty of activities in summer season. Tram and bus connections from the accommodation are very good but if you like walking you can get to the Aleksanteri Institute in less than 30 minutes and get a glimpse of the National Museum, Parliament House, Töölönlahti Bay, Finlandia Hall, Central Railway Station and National Theatre on the way!
Helsinki is the capital of Finland but is by far not the only interesting destination. The big University cities of Turku and Tampere are worth visiting and the journey by train takes less than two hours. If you are willing to travel further, you can even get to Lapland and visit Santa! Get inspired by browsing the Visit Finland website. For more facts see Finland.fi.
Our Visiting Fellows often visit other universities and research centres in Finland, and we are happy to help them make connections beyond the Aleksanteri Institute and the University of Helsinki.
The Fellowship carries a monthly grant of 3400 € to cover all expenses related to the stay in Helsinki.
As the fellowship is a grant, not a salary, it is not subject to Finnish taxation. Because Visiting Fellows are not staff members of the University of Helsinki, they are not covered by the university’s insurance or occupational health care. Fellows are therefore expected to arrange for their own medical and travel insurance and to provide proof of a valid insurance policy when beginning their fellowship term.
It is always a great pleasure for the Aleksanteri Institute to host our highly accomplished visitors whose presence invigorates our academic community and instigates new initiatives. We are happy to say that also the Visiting Fellows themselves have greatly enjoyed their time at the Aleksanteri Institute and in Helsinki. For most Visiting Fellows their visit has been an exceptional time to fully concentrate on research and writing, and for creating new networks and initiatives with our resident researchers and also with other Visiting Fellows.
Here's what some of our former fellows thought about the visit
“Exceptional working environment in terms of colleagues (permanent staff and visiting fellows), research activity, office and related provisions, accommodation, libraries. Being here during the annual conference was also fantastic. That conference is in my view the best international conference on Russia. I was also able to attend seminars at the Finnish Institute for International Affairs, and at the University of Turku.” —Edwin Bacon, Reader in Comparative Politics, Birkbeck, University of London
“This is a wonderful research community and I was honored to be a part of it. Everything was excellent.” — Martin Dimitrov, Associate Professor of Political Science, Tulane University
“The Institute is an amazing place to work. The resources Helsinki can offer are very impressive and the discussions with colleagues at the Aleksanteri Institute also proved most useful.” — Christine Engel, Professor of Russian Literature, Film and Culture, University of Innsbruck
“It was terrific to have the opportunity to engage with a community of committed scholars and researchers who are working, in an interdisciplinary context, on topics on Eastern Europe. ...everyone at the Institute was so helpful, generous with their time, and willing to give advice about the city and the university. My academic hosts were also very helpful in meeting with me, providing suggestions and inviting me to Tampere for the day." — Barbara J. Falk, Canadian Forces College / Royal Military College of Canada / University of Toronto, Canada
“My stay was really very useful and pleasant. I enjoyed the fruitful discussions with colleagues at the Aleksanteri, working at the Slavonic Library – and the opportunity to concentrate on my research project. I also highly appreciated the help of the staff! Everything was perfect.” — Olga Malinova, Professor of Politics, National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow
“This is a real opportunity to get down to work without distractions and the environment is great – very intellectual, with many disciplines and topics. This mix is inspirational, and helps spark lots of ideas. The resources are excellent and everything is so well-organised.” — Jelena Obradovic-Wochnik, Senior Lecturer in Politics and International Relations, Aston University
“The fellowship was very effective and fruitful time and helped me to integrate in the community of the researchers at the Institute and elsewhere in Finland. This was possible also thanks to help of the colleagues of the Institute. One obvious advantage was the access to the library resources, the friendly office surroundings and comfortable living conditions.” — Elena L. Omel’chenko, Professor of Sociology, National Research University Higher School of Economics, St. Petersburg
“The expertise of the center and its researchers raised the bar for me, and reminded me of the importance of a thorough and detailed understanding of my discipline (Anthropology) and of the region where I work. “ — Gertjan Plets, Assistant Professor in Cultural Heritage, University of Utrecht
“The fellowship was useful in so many ways and I was able to develop contacts with Finnish researchers. It was a delight and a luxury to be able to work in quite a concentrated way, with only pleasant distractions (like invitations to lunch or seminars). The conditions were extremely conducive to being able to get on with doing productive work.” — Madeleine Reeves, Senior Lecturer in Social Anthropology, University of Manchester
“I especially appreciated the vibrancy and size of the community of Russia scholars.” —Andrei Tsygankov, Professor of Politics and International Relations, San Francisco State University
We hope that our future Visiting Fellows will be at least as satisfied as the former ones have been!