Fulbright-Saastamoinen Foundation Distinguished Chair in Health Sciences

Fulbright-Saastamoinen Foundation Distinguished Chair in Health Sciences

Fulbright Finland, the University of Eastern Finland, and the Saastamoinen Foundation offer a unique new opportunity for international academic collaboration in health sciences, especially in cardiovascular diseases and metabolic diseases research.

Purpose of the Grant Program

The Fulbright-Saastamoinen Foundation Distinguished Chair position provides U.S. scholars with the opportunity to conduct research at the University of Eastern Finland (UEF) at the Faculty of Health Sciences. The Chair position is available for scholars and specialists in any field of Health Sciences, but priority will be given to research work in Cardiovascular Diseases and/or Metabolic Diseases or Neuroscience research.

The research area at UEF boasts an extensive international network of partners in Europe and the U.S. The specified research area focuses on the pathophysiology, genetics, molecular mechanisms, prevention and novel treatments of these diseases by using modern methods in molecular biology, genetics, nutrition, translational medicine and gene transfer. The research area comprises researchers from the fields of internal medicine, clinical nutrition, molecular medicine, vascular biology and cardiology. It brings together researchers from UEF and Kuopio University Hospital, and is closely linked to the activities of the Genome Center of Eastern Finland, and the National Virus Vector Laboratory.

The Scholar has an opportunity to serve as a resource for doctoral students as well.

The Chair and the UEF faculty will work together in designing the Chair’s activities.

Applicants are requested to include an invitation letter from the relevant unit at UEF in their application as well as a research plan in the project statement of the Distinguished Chair application. Proposals for medical research involving clinical training, patient care, or patient contact are not eligible. Please contact the Fulbright Finland Foundation if you have any questions about the eligibility of your project.

The Fulbright-Saastamoinen Foundation Distinguished Chair is jointly funded by the Saastamoinen Foundation and the Fulbright Finland Foundation.


The Fulbright-Saastamoinen Foundation Distinguished Chair in Health Sciences grant is awarded as a Flex Grant for two visits of one month over two consecutive years. It includes:

  • Monthly allowance of 8,000 EUR (approx. 8,700 USD*).
  • One-time travel allowance of 2,000 USD.
  • Residence permit allowance (based on the actual permit fees, including grantee and accompanying family members).
  • Housing for the scholar and his/her accompanying family is arranged and paid for by the host university.**
  • Work facilities and administrative support.
  • Support services provided by Fulbright Finland in Helsinki.

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

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.

University of Eastern Finland

The University of Eastern Finland (UEF) is one of the largest universities in Finland with 16,000 students and 2,750 members of staff. The university has two campuses in Joensuu and Kuopio, located 400 kilometers northeast of Helsinki. The Faculty of Health Sciences is located at the Kuopio campus.

UEF is the most multidisciplinary university in Finland, and it offers education in nearly 100 major subjects. Their interdisciplinary research and education respond to global challenges to build a sustainable future. 

City of Kuopio

UEF Kuopio campus is located in the city of Kuopio, about 400 kilometers northeast of Helsinki. Kuopio Science Park, which is located on the university campus, offers excellent opportunities also for extensive collaboration with local national research institutes like the National Institute of Health and Welfare, and the National Institute of Occupational Health. The city of Kuopio (founded in 1775) is a modern, developing center of economic life, scientific knowledge, and technological expertise in Eastern Finland. A unique natural setting and a high quality of life make it an appealing place to live, especially with children. It is the eighth-largest city in Finland with about 120,000 inhabitants.

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)
University of Eastern Finland
(host institution related questions)

Karoliina Kokko
Senior Program Manager
+358 44 5535 268
[email protected]


Dr. Riikka Pellinen
Director of International Affairs
+358 40 3552 453
[email protected]

Ms. Hanna Ollikainen-Richards
Executive Head of Administration
Faculty of Health Sciences
+358 40 3552 163
[email protected]

Prof. Jussi Pihlajamäki
Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences
+358 50 3440 187
[email protected]

Resources for Hosts


Application period start:February 1, 2024
Application period end:September 16, 2024
Earliest possible starting date:August 2025 - May 2026

Alumni Experiences

"For a visiting professor, it’s an ideal situation to really be of use and to be able to make an impact..." David Dorman: Fulbright-Saastamoinen Grant Gave Toxiology Teaching a Boost
"I was pretty confident in my abilities to navigate the globe, adjust to new settings, meet people and make friends. Culture shock was a concept that had grown foreign to me. I never thought a tiny sink faucet diverter valve would do me in..." Adam Whaley-Connell: Culture shock -A Laundry 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-Saastamoinen Foundation Distinguished Chair in Health Sciences program is part of the global Fulbright program operating in over 160 countries worldwide.