Aalto Distinguished Chair

Fulbright-Aalto University Distinguished Chair

The Fulbright-Aalto University Distinguished Chair provides U.S. scholars with the opportunity to conduct research and teach at Aalto University. Although this award emphasizes active research work, teaching is also expected.

Purpose of the Grant Program

This prestigious appointment in the Fulbright Scholar Program is available for scholars and specialists for visits of 3–9 months in the areas of expertise within any of the following themes:

  • ICT and digitalization
  • Materials and sustainable use of natural resources
  • 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 well-being
  • Human-centred living environments

The grant is jointly funded by the Aalto University and the Fulbright Finland Foundation (the Finnish Fulbright Commission).

The Chair Position

The Fulbright-Aalto University Distinguished Chair will lecture and conduct research. 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 master's 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 work together to design the Chair’s activities.

Applicants are requested to include a letter of invitation from the relevant unit at Aalto University in their application (the letter must be signed by the Dean of the relevant school). Before applying, the applicant must contact Mervi Rantanen ([email protected]) to facilitate the internal process at Aalto University. In addition, a research and teaching plan should be included in the project statement of the Distinguished Chair application. 

The Schools that host Fulbright-Aalto University Distinguished Chairs in 2025-26 are:


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

  • Monthly allowance of 5,600 EUR (approx. 6,200 USD*). A total stipend for 9 months is 50,400 EUR (approx. 56,000 USD*).
  • Travel allowance of 2,000 USD.
  • Residence permit allowance (based on the actual permit fees, including grantee and accompanying family members).
  • Housing is arranged and payed for by the host institution 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 four-day arrival orientation in Helsinki for all American Fulbright grantees at the end of August each year.
  • Fulbright Finland mid-year activities and networking opportunities (such as the American Voices Seminar at the University of Turku) each year.
  • Possible guest lecturing opportunities in other Finnish higher education institutions and in other European countries.

* amounts are subject to change due to currency fluctuations.
** should be confirmed in the letter of invitation. 

Read about Professor Peter Hans Matthews' visit to Finland as a Fulbright-Aalto University Distinguished Chair! 

Support for Grantees with Disabilities

Extra funding support is available for grantees with disabilities. If you have a disability that would cause additional costs for the grant term, contact the Foundation to discuss reasonable accommodations. Send your self-assessment with a description of the disability and the specific accommodations requested to the Foundation ([email protected]) by the grant application deadline.

Please note that disclosing the need for disability accommodation does not affect the review and selection process.


Distinguished Chair eligibility guidelines and review criteria are published on the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program website.

In Finland the applications are evaluated according to the evaluation criteria set by the Fulbright Finland Foundation Board.

Applicants residing in Finland are not eligible for a Fulbright grant.

Aalto University

Aalto University was founded in 2010 by merging three leading Finnish institutions - Helsinki University of Technology, the Helsinki School of Economics, and the University of Art and Design Helsinki - as a societally embedded, innovative research university for a better world.

Today the university has six schools, 12,000 full-time equivalent degree students from over 100 countries, and a staff of about 4,000, of which 400 are professors. The share of international academic faculty is close to 50%. Aalto University is one of Europe’s most international universities.

The campus in Espoo's Otaniemi supports Aalto University's vision for building an innovative society. The campus has turned into a world-class collaboration hub combining high tech, art and design and business in a unique way and driving one of Europe's leading start-up ecosystems. 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 Schools that host Fulbright-Aalto University Distinguished Chairs in 2025-26:

  • The School of Business is Finland's leading business school and one of the top business schools in Europe. The School was the first business school in the Nordic countries to receive the most important international quality accreditations in the field: AACSB, AMBA, and EQUIS. This makes it one of the best business schools in the world.
  • The School of Chemical Engineering advances sustainable solutions and breakthroughs for bio- and circular economy by scientific and engineering excellence through multidisciplinary and industrial relevance.
  • The School of Electrical Engineering intertwines electrical engineering, the natural sciences, and information technology to form smart systems and innovations that save energy and increase well-being. The research is applied in mobile telephones, electricity networks, and in satellites.
  • The School of Engineering teaches and researches fields that encompass all aspects of our built-up environment. Global warming, energy conservation, and sustainable use of natural resources are the focus areas of both research and teaching.
  • The School of Science internationally acclaimed high-level research focuses on advanced energy solutions, condensed matter and materials physics; creation and transformation of technology based business; data science and artificial intelligence; health technology; neuroscience; and software engineering. Note! During this application round the School welcomes applications to the Department of Applied Physics only.

How to Apply?

The 2025-26 Fulbright U.S. Scholar competition is currently open.
Apply by September 16, 2024!

The U.S. program partner in the Fulbright Distinguished Chairs Program is the Institute of International Education IIE. Applications are submitted through IIE and forwarded to discipline-based peer review committees in the U.S. Applications that pass this initial peer review in the U.S. are forwarded to the Fulbright Finland Foundation in Helsinki to be reviewed by the Fulbright Finland Foundation’s review committees. The Fulbright Finland Foundation makes the funding decisions and final selections of grantees.

Additional information and detailed application instructions are available from the Fulbright Finland Foundation and the Fulbright Scholar Program websites.

NOTE: Late June, July and early August are traditionally summer vacation months in Finland and responses to inquiries may be delayed. Applicants are advised to contact the Finnish host institution well ahead of time to solicit an invitation letter for their application. Please note that the Fulbright Finland Foundation office observes the summer Finnish holiday season and is closed in July. If you have urgent inquiries, kindly contact us prior to July. 

Contact Information

 Fulbright Finland Foundation 
(overall program related questions)
Aalto University 
(host institution related questions)
 Karoliina Kokko
Senior Program Manager
+358 44 5535 268
[email protected]
Mervi Rantanen
Senior Advisor, Global Engagement
Leadership Support Services
+358 50 4722 775 
[email protected]

Resources for Hosts


Application period start:February 1, 2024
Application period end:September 16, 2024
Earliest possible starting date:August 2025 or January 2026
Mandatory orientation:TBC (expected to take place in mid-August 2025 and mid-January 2026)

Alumni Experiences

"Solving Problems the Finnish Way" Joshua Pearce: A Life Changing Experience

Useful links:

What is the Fulbright Finland Foundation?

The Fulbright Finland Foundation is a private, independent, not-for-profit organization based in Helsinki, Finland. The Foundation’s aim is

  • to promote a wider exchange of knowledge and professional talents through educational contacts between Finland and the United States, and
  • to support the internationalization of education and research in Finland, and help U.S. and Finnish institutions create linkages.

What Makes the Fulbright Finland Foundation Programs Unique?

  • In addition to the grant, the Fulbright Finland Foundation offers the grantees several additional benefits and free support services, as well as an access to a global, multi-professional network.
  • We are looking for applicants who want to impact the future and to make a difference – applicants who want to facilitate positive change, develop and advance their own profession or discipline, and find solutions to national and international challenges in their field.
  • The grantees also act as ambassadors for the Fulbright Finland Foundation, their home country, and their home organization and, in this way, do their part in sharing their home country and culture and contributing to the relations between Finland and the U.S.
Global Fulbright Program logo

Fulbright-Aalto Distinguished Chair program is part of the global Fulbright program operating in over 160 countries worldwide.