Tips for Finding a Host University in Finland

HOW TO FIND A SUITABLE HOST INSTITUTION?

In Fulbright Finland programs, it is the grantee’s responsibility to find a suitable host institution for his/her grant term.

To locate a suitable host/host institution in Finland, please use the tips and advice given below.

  1. Ask around if the members of your own professional network already have some connections to fellow scholars in Finland.
     
  2. International conferences are also good opportunities to find out about colleagues in your own field in Finland.
     
  3. Download a Higher Education in Finland 2015-2016 publication, which introduces all Finnish universities and their fields of education and programs taught.
     
  4. Find out in which Finnish universities the previous U.S. Fulbright grantees have spent their Fulbright period. For information on the previous grantees, their field of study, project title and host institution, please visit the Fulbright grantee lists. The list also includes similar information on the Finnish Fulbright grantees to the U.S. The alumni of the program are always happy to advice new candidates.
     
  5. Learn about research in Finland.
     
  6. Take a look at a society or association that represents your specific discipline in Finland. They may be able to point you to the direction of a suitable Finnish institution.

Academy of Finland

In Finland, there are 29 Centers of Excellence in Research nominated by the Academy of Finland (the Research Council of Finland). These centers represent the top research fields and environments in Finnish science. The centers are introduced in the two brochures by the Academy of Finland:

Academy of Finland funds also special research programs called Academy Programs. They are science-driven, thematic and target-oriented bodies of research projects that are aimed at supporting scientific regeneration and increasing scientific and societal impact. These programs are for instance in the following fields: health, mineral resources, energy, digital humanities, learning and skills, bioeconomy, synthetic biology. Please see the Academy of Finland's website on these special research programs.

You may also find interesting the research projects funded by the Strategic Research Council, which combine high quality science with great societal impact. These projects seek concrete solutions to grand challenges that require multidisciplinary approaches in close collaboration with various stakeholders. More information is available at: www.aka.fi/en/strategic-research-funding/programmes/programmes-20152017/

Higher education institutions in Finland

There are two types of higher education institutions in Finland; universities and universities of applied sciences (UAS). Universities, which are academic or artistic institutions, focus on research and education based on research. They confer Bachelor's, Master's, Licentiate and Doctoral degrees. There are 14 universities in Finland.

The Finnish 23 UAS' offer work-related education in response to labor market needs. UAS' confer Bachelor's and Master's degrees.

The Finnish universities provide over 300 Master’s degree programs and about 60 special Doctoral programs with teaching in English.

HOW TO APPROACH A POTENTIAL HOST?

In terms of connecting with a potential host, here are a few tips that may be helpful.

  1. It is ok to ‘cold call’. You don’t need to have a pre-existing relationship with an academic in Finland in order to secure a host. If you already know someone with whom you want to work, that obviously makes the process a bit simpler, but if you don’t, it’s not a problem. The key is to find someone whose work is compatible with your research interests.
  2. Be prepared and clear about expectations. When you contact a prospective host, you need to be as clear as possible about your research aims (this will help to ensure a good fit). The key is to try to articulate these expectations and aims as clearly as possible to ensure a good fit.
  3. Provide your prospective host with resources if needed. There are resources that describe the role and expectations of the host on the Fulbright Finland website. These may be helpful in answering prospective hosts’ questions if they arise.

MAXIMIZING YOUR HOST RELATIONSHIP

Once you have secured a host and been selected for a Fulbright Scholarship, the really important work begins! Here are a few tips—some apply to the time before you arrive in Finland while others are relevant to your grant period.

  1. Begin communicating with your host early and often, so that your goals and plans are clear for both of you and you are able to hit the ground running when you arrive. The key at this stage is to not make any assumptions.
  2. Continue the conversation upon arrival. The key to making the most of your grant period and to maintaining a productive relationship with your host will be to communicate clearly about expectations.
  3. Be active, ask questions and take initiative yourself!