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 and/or Public/Global Health, but priority will be given to research work in Cardiovascular Diseases and/or Metabolic Diseases.

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 advised 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 flex grant is available for two one months visits 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 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. 


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 is a multidisciplinary research university that hosts several Centers of Excellence research groups nominated by the Academy of Finland or the Nordic Council of Ministers. The University operates in two main campuses, Kuopio and Joensuu, and it has four faculties. The Faculty of Health Sciences is located at Kuopio campus.

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 application period for the academic year 2024-25 has ended!

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 3552453
[email protected]
Ms. Hanna Ollikainen-Richards
Executive Head of Administration
Faculty of Health Sciences
+358 403552163
[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, 2023
Application period end: September 15, 2023
Earliest possible starting date: August 2024

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.