Call for applications for HELSUS POSTDOCTORAL RESEARCHER, SEED FUNDING AND SOCIETAL IMPACT FUNDING

Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science is a cross-faculty research platform in sustainability science within the University of Helsinki. The aim of the HELSUS funding is to enhance the development of sustainability science research at the University of Helsinki, to increase the amount of external research funding for sustainability science research and to enhance societal impact of sustainability sciences.  
 

HELSUS opens a call for applications for

The call is open from 1 October 2021 to 29 October 2021 (at 16:00 EET).
 

The funding will be initiated in January 2022. Seed funding and Societal impact funding must be used during 2022. Researchers who have received funding must submit a report on the use of funding after the funding period.
 

WHO CAN APPLY

The call is open for HELSUS members from the HELSUS Faculties: The Faculties of Agriculture and Forestry, Arts, Biological and Environmental Sciences, Educational Sciences, Law, Pharmacy, Science and Social Sciences. The applicant must be an approved HELSUS member by the closing date of the call.

To be eligible to apply for a HELSUS postdoctoral researcher position, the applicant must be a HELSUS member or student member and with a maximum time of five years since PhD completion (degree certificate issued 29 October 2016 – 29 October 2021). Possible career breaks (maternity, paternity, parental or childcare leave, military or nonmilitary service, or long-term illness) will be considered. If the applicant pleads these special reasons, they should be justified in the CV.

One person can only apply for one of the three funding instruments. The call is not open for the members of the HELSUS Steering Group.

 

HELSUS POSTDOCTORAL RESEARCHER

 

HELSUS postdoctoral researcher funding can be applied for HELSUS member’s personal postdoc funding or for recruiting a postdoctoral researcher by a HELSUS member for a project. The postdoctoral researcher funding is 60 000 € per year and it is granted for the applicant’s own salary and other research costs (personal postdoc funding) or for the employment of a postdoctoral researcher and for other research costs related to the project (postdoc for a project) for up to two years.

Employment starts as soon as possible. All HELSUS postdoctoral researchers are expected to participate actively in HELSUS activities and communications.

At most six HELSUS postdoctoral researcher positions (personal or for a project) are available:

  1. Thematic postdoctoral researcher positions for two years in the thematic areas described below (A-C) or
  2. Postdoctoral researcher positions for two years in optional area of sustainability science

 

  1. Two-year thematic postdoctoral positions:

 

A. Societal impact of sustainability science

Postdoctoral researcher (personal funding or for a project) to study societal impact of sustainability science. Sustainability science is inherently transdisciplinary and involves actors from different fields to advance sustainability transformation of the society. However, the route from research to societal impact is not straightforward and require co-creation, negotiation, collaboration and interaction between the actors in science and society. There are several theoretical discussions and backgrounds for transdisciplinary sustainability science as well as empirical experiences and methods how to trace and conceptualize the possible societal impacts. HELSUS welcomes applications from various disciplinary backgrounds, theoretical approaches and/or empirical orientations. The transdisciplinary environment within HELSUS and its partners provide fruitful environment for investigating societal impact of sustainability science.

 

B. Sustainability transformation of higher education

Postdoctoral researcher (personal funding or for a project) to study new approaches and initiatives of transformative sustainability education. There is an increasing debate, both in science and policy, about the role of higher education in addressing the global sustainability challenges. It is a social responsibility of higher education to help students and the academic community learn professional skills and competences to support sustainable development, instead of mere information provision on sustainability challenges. These attempts are seen also in the curriculum development, new teaching contents, co-creation and service learning approaches and developing teaching methods. Although, many steps have been taken to integrate sustainability higher education, there is a lack of research-based evidence for the development of sustainability education. The university wide sustainability course and other sustainability education initiatives at the University of Helsinki and elsewhere would offer a possibility to gather data, collaborate and conduct research on sustainability education. There is also a possibility to work together with other European sustainability institutes. HELSUS invites applications from different disciplinary backgrounds and theoretical perspectives on sustainability education.

 

C. Sustainable and carbon neutral higher education institutions

Postdoctoral researcher (personal funding or for a project) to study the transition of higher education institutions (HEI) towards sustainability and carbon neutrality. Universities and other HEIs are aiming to reduce their carbon footprint, creating more inclusive research and teaching practices and develop a vast array of more sustainable practices that include all the three dimensions of sustainability: environmental, social and economic sustainability. The role of higher education institutes to advance sustainability transition has been recently addressed. This includes universities’ own operations but also their responsibility of providing sustainability education and supporting research that has both scientific relevance and societal impact. The postdoctoral researcher would have the possibility to employ diversity of theoretical frames and interdisciplinary approaches to gather data and collaborate with the university sustainability specialists in order to conduct research on higher education institutions. HELSUS invites applications from different disciplinary backgrounds and theoretical perspectives.

 

2. Two-year postdoctoral positions in optional area of sustainability science

Postdoctoral researcher or postdoctoral researcher for a project in optional field of sustainability sciences. There are five HELSUS research themes: Methodology & Theory of sustainability science, Arctic, Global South, Urban, Production & Consumption that are most supported research areas. The applicant may connect the research to some of these themes but it is not requirement. More information about HELSUS research themes can be found in https://www2.helsinki.fi/en/helsinki-institute-of-sustainability-science/sustainability-research.

Evaluation criteria for all postdoctoral researcher applications whether personal or for a project are:

  • The quality and innovativeness of the research plan
  • Focus on sustainability science
  • Interdisciplinary quality
  • The applicant’s credibility in executing the research plan
  • How the application contributes to the development of sustainability science and HELSUS

Application: Postdoctoral researcher funding is applied on an online form (e-form https://elomake.helsinki.fi/lomakkeet/113626/lomakkeet.html . In addition to the online application form, the following attachment (as a single pdf file) is required. Please note that if the attachment exceeds the given number of pages, the excessive pages will not be considered in the evaluation. The required attachment is to be named lastname_firstname.pdf. Please indicate clearly at the beginning of your application, which postdoctoral researcher position (thematic or open) and whether personal or for a project you are applying for.

The required attachment for personal postdoctoral researcher funding is a single pdf file containing the following documents (in this order):

  1. CV of the applicant including a list of at most 10 selected publications (in total max 4 pages):
    It is suggested that the CV format recommended by the Finnish Board of Research Integrity is used. The CV should include information relevant to the call.
  2. Research plan (max 3 pages)
    Research plan with bibliography and graphs (font size 12pt). The research plan is expected to be compiled according to the given guidelines.

The required attachment from the project leader for employing a postdoctoral researcher for a project is a single pdf file containing the following documents (in this order):

  1. The CV of the project leader (applicant) (max 4 pages)
    It is suggested that the CV format recommended by the Finnish Board of Research Integrity is used. The CV should include information relevant to the call.
  2. Publication list of the project leader (applicant)
    List of publications with a maximum of 20 most relevant publications showing the applicant’s scientific merits.
  3. Project research plan (in total max 3 pages)
    Research plan with bibliography and graphs (font size 12pt). The research plan is expected to be compiled according to the given guidelines.

 

When compiling the research plan and the budget, please note:

  • The research plan must be structured following the instructions given. To ensure the uniformity and quality of the review process, applications must be comparable.
  • The postdoctoral researcher funding is 60 000 € per year (both personal or for a project) and it is to be used for the applicant’s own salary and other justified research costs (personal postdoc funding) or for the employment of a postdoctoral researcher and for other research costs related to the project (postdoc for a project) for a period of up to two years. The postdoctoral researcher salary is placed on the requirement level 5 of the University salary system.

  • For travelling, please notice that the University compensates for the carbon emissions of the work-related flights in a centralized manner. Because of this, there is no need to itemize compensation in the application budget.
  • The accompanying budgeting tool (excel) should be used to prepare the budget and the budget should be filled in the online application form. For help in budgeting, please consult the financial services of your Faculty.

 

SEED FUNDING

Seed funding is intended to support the applicant’s prospects in securing significant national or international research funding, e.g. Academy of Finland, EU, ERC and Belmont. Seed funding is granted for activities supporting the planning and preparation of a research project and the eventual application of external funding for it. HELSUS encourages the development of interdisciplinary, cross-faculty or cross-sectorial research projects that aim to contribute to sustainability transformation.

Seed funding can be used e.g. for employing a grant writer or for travel expenses, but it is not granted for the applicant's own salary.

At most 30 000 € seed funding can be granted per applicant.

The evaluation criteria for seed funding applications are:

  • The significance and innovativeness of the new research idea within the field of sustainability sciences
  • The feasibility of the seed funding plan for preparing the research project
  • The capability of the applicant to implement the seed funding plan
  • The way in which the planned research project supports the development of sustainability science and HELSUS

Application: Seed funding is applied on an online form (e-form  https://elomake.helsinki.fi/lomakkeet/113398/lomakkeet.html).  In addition to the online application form, the following attachment (as a single pdf file) is required. Please note that if the attachment exceeds the given number of pages, the excessive pages will not be considered in the evaluation. The required attachment is to be named lastname_firstname.pdf.

The required attachment for seed funding application is a single pdf file containing the following documents (in this order):

  1. CV of the applicant (max 4 pages)
    It is suggested that the CV format recommended by the Finnish Board of Research Integrity is used. The CV should include information relevant to the call and the length should not exceed 4 pages.
  2. A list of at most 20 selected publications.

When compiling the plan and the budget, please note:

  • Seed funding is intended to support the applicant’s prospects in securing significant national or international research funding. The applicant for seed funding is to be also the main applicant in the resulting final application for major research funding.
  • Granted funding must be used during 2022.
  • Seed funding is not granted for the applicant's own salary.
  • If the seed funding is planned to be used for employing, please consult the HR services of your Faculty. Employment contracts shorter than six months are in general not to be made.
  • The name of the person planned to be employed does not need to be known in the application phase.
  • For travelling, please notice that the University compensates for the carbon emissions of the work-related flights in a centralized manner. Because of this, there is no need to itemize compensation in the application budget.
  • The accompanying budgeting tool (excel) should be used to prepare the budget and the budget should be filled in the online application form. For help in budgeting, please consult the financial services of your Faculty.

 

SOCIETAL IMPACT FUNDING

 

Societal impact funding instrument encourages and supports HELSUS members to make a societal impact that enhances sustainability. The funding can be applied for writing Policy Briefs from already published results, arranging events that enhance the dissemination of scientific results and collaboration with societal actors (private and public sector, municipalities and/or civil society) and establishing networks, arranging workshops, transition arenas or living labs that enhance sustainability in society.

At most 5000 € societal impact funding can be granted per applicant.

The evaluation criteria for societal impact funding applications are:

  • The feasiblity and the concreteness of the proposed plan
  • The significance and expected outcome of societal impact on different societal actors
  • The visibility of HELSUS community and sustainability science

Application: Societal impact funding is applied on an online form (e-form https://elomake.helsinki.fi/lomakkeet/113378/lomakkeet.html). In addition to the online application form, the following attachment as a single pdf file is required. Please note that if the attachment exceeds the given number of pages, the excessive pages will not be considered in the evaluation. The required attachment is to be named lastname_firstname.pdf.

The required attachment for societal impact funding application is a single pdf file containing the following documents (in this order):

  1. CV of the applicant (max 4 pages)
    It is suggested that the CV format recommended by the Finnish Board of Research Integrity is used. The CV should include information relevant to the call and the length should not exceed 4 pages.
  2. A list of at most 20 selected publications.

When compiling the plan and the budget, please note:

  • Granted funding must be used during 2022.
  • If the funding is planned to be used for employing, please consult the HR services of your Faculty. Employment contracts shorter than six months are in general not to be made.
  • The name of the person planned to be employed does not need to be known in the application phase.
  • The accompanying budgeting tool (excel) should be used to prepare the budget and the budget should be filled in the online application form. For help in budgeting, please consult the financial services of your Faculty.

HOW TO APPLY

The online application e-forms will open at the start of the application period and close at the deadline on Friday 29 October 2021 at 16:00 EET. Applications submitted after the end of the application period will not be considered.

Applications are submitted on an online form (see the individual funding instruments).

EVALUATION PROCESS AND TIMETABLE FOR DECISIONS

The applications will be evaluated by the multidisciplinary HELSUS Steering group. A good application is therefore sufficiently accessible to an academic audience outside of specific disciplinary fields.

The funding decisions will be made in late December. The result of the call will be emailed to all applicants and published on HELSUS website. Funding will be initiated in January 2022, and the Seed funding and the Societal impact funding must be used during 2022.

Funding receivers must submit a report on the use of funding after the funding period.

FURTHER INFORMATION

Further information on the call can be requested from Senior Advisor Ulla Lahtinen at helsus-research-admin@helsinki.fi or tel. 0294123221.