Profile and Activities

Want to know what we're all about? On this page, we've gathered information on our research profile and the research fields involved in the programme. Here, you will also find information on the studies and the type of activities and networks that await if you join the doctoral programme.


The Instructions for Students website, aimed at current and old doctoral students, offers advice related to funding your studies, doing doctoral-level research and all the other information you need to complete a doctoral degree at the University of Helsinki.


The aim of DPDR is to educate experts that have a wide view of drugs and toxicology. DPDR is a multidisciplinary doctoral programme and research in DPDR covers the life cycle of medicines and toxicology.

Research groups in DPDR study diverse areas in drug research, such as: 

  • drug design and synthesis
  • bioactivity screening
  • pharmaceutical microbiology
  • drug formulation
  • nanomedicine
  • industrial manufacturing
  • pharmacokinetics
  • pharmacodynamics
  • analytics
  • drug interactions
  • pharmacogenetics
  • pharmacology and clinical pharmacology
  • clinic al drug research
  • pharmacoepidemiology
  • clinical pharmacy
  • pharmacoeconomics
  • toxicology and clinical toxicology
  • veterinary drug research.

Doc­toral can­did­ates and Su­per­vi­sors

DPDR has approximately 125 Doctoral candidates. About 15 doctoral theses are published annually.

Supervisors in the DPDR work in the area of drug research and toxicological research. They are usually professors and principal investigators at the University of Helsinki. However, researchers at other research institutes may co-supervise a DPDR doctoral candiate. In addition, each student has a follow-up/thesis committee group.

Fac­ulties and part­ners of DPDR

University page:

  • Faculty of Pharmacy (host faculty)
  • Faculty of Medicine (Medicum): Pharmacology and Clinical pharmacology
  • HiLIFE: Institute of Biotechnology, Neuroscience Center, FIMM
  • Faculty of Veterinary Medicine
  • Faculty of Science
  • Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry
  • Industry, Fimea, NIHW, pharmacies and other organisations

Part­ners and co-op­er­a­tion

DPDR is a part of the national FinPharmaNet network.

International partners include ULLA (European consortium for [Post Graduate] Training in the Field of Pharmaceutical Sciences), The Paul Ehrlich European Medicinal Chemistry Ph.D. NetworkGPEN (Globalization of Pharmaceutical Education Network) and Nordic POP. DSHealth and it’s doctoral programmes are members of NorDoc (Nordic Doctoral training in health sciences) network which is under development at the moment. Courses for Doctoral candidates are free in the member Universities.

Doctoral candidates in the DPDR are usually also members of a scientific society in their own field, for example, Finnish Pharmaceutical Society, Finnish Pharmacological Society, Finnish Society of Clinical Pharmacology and the Finnish Society of Physical Pharmacy.

DPDR degree structure

Starting from 1.8.2017, the doctoral studies in the DPDR programme consist of three parts: 

  1. a doctoral thesis,
  2. Scientific studies (30 ECTS) consist of discipline-specific studies supporting the thesis research work as well as:
    1. obligatory course in research ethics (min 1 ECTS)
    2. obligatory annual thesis committee meetings and reports (0 ECTS)
  3. Studies in transferrable skills (10 ECTS), mainly organized by Doctoral School in Health Sciences (DSHealth). Note that Laboratory animal science NEU-603 is obligatory for all DPDR doctoral candidates working with lab animals (if not completed before).

DPDR degree structure in WebOodi Course Catalogue Service.
DPDR degree structure (pdf):


Trans­fer­ring to the new de­gree struc­ture (This notice is aimed at all doctoral candidates, whose study right has begun prior to August 1, 2017.) Find more detailed information  about  transferring to the new degree structure from here. If you study by the old degree system ( 60 cr) you can find more information about requirements from here

The date and time when registration for a particular course opens in WebOodi is given in the course announcement. Once the call is opened a deadline for registrations is given. Usually the call for applications opens approximately one month and closes approximately two weeks before the course starts. These are only guidelines – always check the deadlines for the course you are interested in! Please follow your email and the doctoral programme homepages to stay up-to-date on courses.

Studies are completed flexibly on courses and through means other than traditional coursework: conference presentations, scientific and popular articles etc. Want to know more? Visit our study planning instructions for current doctoral students at the university's Instructions for Students -service.

Courses in research ethics and transferable skills are offered throughout the academic year by the Doctoral School in Health Sciences.

To get started:

See Instructions for students website for more information about

  • Registering courses and activities completed elsewhere (conferences etc) and
  • Registering study modules.
  • Doc­toral can­did­ates´trans­ition to the new de­gree sys­tem: More information on Instructions for students webpage.

DPDR upcoming courses

DPDR-302 Modern Methods in Life Science and Reporters in Drug Research - Examples of how to reduce the number of animals and increase the research quality

The objective of the symposium and the course is to give an overview and examples of the current state-of-the-art in basic biological and pharmacological research and drug development with a focus on science excellence, research quality, refinement, reduction and replacement of animal experiments. The training is organized by the Doctoral Programme in Drug Research, DPDR-302 (University of Helsinki) and the 3R Working Group of the National Committee for the Protection of Animals Used for Scientific Purposes, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. No registration fee.

Time December 10th, 17th and 18th, 2020  
Target group: researchers, Ph.D. and M.Sc. students. 3 ECTS (lectures, workshop and exam) 

Registration via:

Course program in the attachment below

PROV-708 Solid state analysis of pharmaceutics

PROV-708, 5 cr, Clare Strachan
02.11.2020 -11.12.2020
More info and registration in WebOodi

Kliininen lääketutkimus 2020 (DPDR-140)

The course is organized on 16.-17.11.2020
Ohjelma ja ilmoittautuminen

Chemical Sciences in Biological Challenges

The course has been postponed to 9.-11.6.2021 more information later
Venue: SPA Hotel Rauhalahti, Katiskaniementie 8, 70700 Kuopio, Finland
Web page:

Parkinsons and Huntingtons disease:  Pathology, Diagnosis and therapy-Symposium

Time: TBA
Organizer: Merja Voutilainen


Courses organized by Industrial Pharmacy  (Prov-9XX) are available digitally (video lectures included). Open to PhD students!

PROV-911 GxP course in industrial pharmacy, 5 ects

PROV-902a Pharmaceutical development (part I), 5 ects

PROV-902b Pharmaceutical development (part II), 5 ects

PROV-912 Business economy of pharmaceutical industry, 5 ects

PROV-907 Pharmaceutical marketing, 5 ects

International courses

NOVA network
The Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry are members of the NOVA (The Nordic Forestry, Veterinary and Agricultural University Network). Students of members faculties may participate on NOVA courses free of charge (travel and accommodation not included).

NorDoc – Nordic Doctoral Training in Health Sciences network provides doctoral training courses in health offered by the NorDoc partner organisations in Nordic countries.

CAReNet - Clinical Animal Research Network is a Nordic network of researchers and animal health care professionals with particular interest in research. The aim of the network is to strengthen and develop veterinary clinical research. CAReNet activities are open to all interested, regardless of organizational affiliation.

National courses

See national course list, for example, in FinBioNet page (→ FinBioNet course calendar).

CSC, IT-center for sciences

Sem­inars and other events in Viikki

Other courses at the University of Helsinki