Fulbright-Aalto Distinguished Chair

The Fulbright-Aalto University Distinguished Chair position provides an American Scholar with the opportunity to lecture and conduct research at Aalto University.

This prestigious appointment in the Fulbright Scholar Program is available for scholars and specialists in the areas of expertise within any of the following four broad themes:

  • ICT and digitalization
  • Materials and sustainable use of natural resources
  • Art and design knowledge building
  • Global business dynamics

In addition to the broad themes, the university invests in three integrative multidisciplinary themes focusing on solving challenges that are important globally and for the Finnish economy:

  • Advanced energy solutions
  • Health and wellbeing
  • Human-centred living environments

The grant is jointly funded by Aalto University and Fulbright Finland, the Finnish Fulbright Commission.


The Fulbright - Aalto Distinguished Chair is available for visits of 3–9 months. It includes

  • Monthly allowance of 5,600 EUR. A total stipend for 9 months is 50,400 EUR.
  • Travel allowance of 2,000 USD
  • The host institution will arrange and pay for housing for the scholar
  • Work facilities and administrative support
  • Orientation and support services provided by Fulbright Finland in Helsinki. For example, Fulbright Finland will arrange a three-day arrival orientation in Helsinki for all American Fulbright grantees at the end of August each year
  • Fulbright Finland arranges mid-year activities and networking opportunities (such as the American Voices Seminar at the University of Turku) each year
  • Possible lecturing opportunities in other Finnish higher education institutions and in other European countries

Length of Position

Starting date of position is late August or January unless otherwise agreed upon with the Fulbright Finland. The academic year begins in September and ends in May.

The Chair Position

The Fulbright - Aalto University Distinguished Chair will lecture and conduct research at any or all of the six Schools at Aalto University. The award emphasizes projects that highlight active research work but the Chair is expected to do some teaching as well. The position can be awarded for any field but the applicant‘s area of expertise should fall within the interdisciplinary themes mentioned above.

Aalto University strives to provide a very friendly and collegial atmosphere to pursue a variety of professional activities, such as research collaboration, teaching and lecturing, writing joint publications with Finnish colleagues, and mentoring student research at the M.A. and doctoral level. In addition to lecturing at Aalto University, the Fulbright - Aalto University Chair is able to network and create linkages throughout Finland and give occasional guest lectures at other Finnish universities. The Chair and Aalto University faculty at the department will work together in designing the Chair’s activities.

Applicants should include a letter of invitation from the relevant unit at Aalto University in their application.  Also, the Dean of the relevant school should be informed about the invitation. However, assistance in connecting with Aalto University is available from Fulbright Finland if needed.

Aalto University

Aalto University is a multidisciplinary university where science and art meet technology and business. Our mission is to work towards a better world and create solutions to meet the greatest challenges facing society through top-quality research and pioneering education.

Aalto University has six schools with 12 000 full-time equivalent students and 4 000 employees, 400 of whom are professors. 37% of our academic staff is international. The university is committed to international and multidisciplinary teaching and research, and offers studies up to the doctoral level. Aalto University was founded in 2010 as Helsinki University of Technology, the Helsinki School of Economics and the University of Art and Design Helsinki were merged.

The main campus in Espoo's Otaniemi supports Aalto University's vision for building an innovative society. All the university's core activities will be located in Otaniemi by 2021. Otaniemi,is about 15 minutes from the city center of Helsinki. The campus and its immediate vicinity is the site for many of Finland’s largest companies’ headquarters, not to mention home to a great number of smaller companies.


The language of instruction for the scholar is English. English is widely spoken in academic circles and in the country as a whole.

Living in Finland and Bringing Family

One can experience a way of life in Finland that combines a dynamic urban culture with a richly diverse natural environment.

The country is a Nordic welfare state, safe and well-organized. It has a unique, fascinating culture that combines western and eastern influences. It’s a land of contrast and of variety, but with a strong sense of national pride and culture.

It is very common for Fulbright scholars to take their family along to Finland. The experience can be life changing not only for the scholar but for their spouse and children as well.

The Finnish school system is considered one of the best in the world. Schools accommodate international visitors very well and instruction in English is also available in many cities. Finnish public schools are free of charge, although some special institutions, such as international schools, may charge tuition. Higher education institutions offer many degree and non-degree programs in English.

The Destination Finland section of this website is designed to learn more about the country and the opportunities it offers.

Candidate profile

Distinguished Chair eligibility guidelines and review criteria are published on the Council for International Exchange of Scholar (IIE/CIES) website.

In Finland the American scholar applications and the proposed Fulbright projects are evaluated on:

  •     candidate's academic or professional qualifications
  •     originality and feasibility of the proposed project
  •     benefit to the host institution
  •     potential for long-term impact
  •     importance of conducting the project in Finland
  •     contribution to the advancement of knowledge in the candidate's field
  •     contribution to the candidate’s personal and professional development
  •     host institution support provided for the candidate
  •     potential for contribution beyond the host institution

Additionally, candidates in all Fulbright programs are reviewed on the project’s contribution to the objectives of the Fulbright Program as well as on the adaptability and suitability of the candidate to act as a Fulbright Ambassador for the United States in Finland.

Applicants residing in Finland are not eligible for a Fulbright grant. Preference may be given to candidates with no or little experience in Finland.

As a general matter, preference for Fulbright Scholar opportunities will be given to candidates who have not previously received a Fulbright Scholar grant. This policy is set by the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board in Washington D.C.


The application period for the academic year 2020-2021 ends on September 16, 2019.

The U.S. program partner in the Fulbright Distinguished Chairs Program is the Council for International Exchange of Scholars (IIE/CIES). Applications are submitted through IIE/CIES, which pre-screens the applications in the United States and forwards the recommended dossiers to the Fulbright Finland in Helsinki for final selection.

Additional information, including detailed application instructions is available from the IIE/CIES website and Fulbright U.S. Scholar Catalog of Awards.

Assistance and Additional Information

Fulbright Finland encourages potential applicants to contact the office directly with any questions.

NOTE: July is traditionally a summer vacation month in Finland and responses to inquiries be delayed. Applicants are advised to contact the Finnish host institution well ahead of time to solicit an invitation letter for their application.

Aalto University

Ms. Eeva Lyytikäinen
HR Specialist
tel. +358 50 555 2085

Fulbright Finland Foundation

Ms. Emmi Jelekäinen
Program Coordinator

Hakaniemenranta 6
FI-00530 Helsinki
tel: +358 44 5535 286

Council for International Exchange of Scholars (IIE/CIES)

1400 K Street, NW, Suite 700
Washington, DC 20005