ASLA-Fulbright Pre-Doctoral Fellow Anna Ovaska giving a lecture to a room full of people.

ASLA-Fulbright Pre-Doctoral Research Fellows Program

The ASLA-Fulbright Pre-Doctoral Research Fellows Program supports those doctoral students who are heading for the U.S. for at least six months. The maximum length of the grant period is 12 months. The grantee can choose the specific period for their research. However, it has to take place in the academic year 2019-2020.

Purpose of the Grant Program

The ASLA-Fulbright Pre-Doctoral Research Fellows program is aimed at doctoral students registered in a Finnish university to conduct their pre-doctoral research in the U.S. The grant is between 6 and 12 months. The grantee can choose the dates they want to be in the U.S., as long as it is within the academic year 2019-2020. The grant is meant solely for the purposes of pre-doctoral research, not for taking courses. When applying, the grant applicant has to provide an invitation letter from an American host university. Other types of organizations can also invite the grantee but this has to be confirmed with the Fulbright Finland Foundation. The grant can be applied by doctoral students of all fields, except by those whose research in the U.S. would include patient care or other patient contact.

The ASLA-Fulbright Pre-Doctoral Research Fellows grants are cost-share grants, funded together by Finnish universities and the Fulbright Finland Foundation. The ASLA-Fulbright Pre-Doctoral Research Fellows grants for the academic year of 2019-2020 can only be applied by students of the universities that are participating in the Cost-share program.

2014-2015 ASLA-Fulbright Pre-Doctoral Research Fellow Heikki Saxén visited Harvard University to gain fresh ideas and make international professional connections to realize his long-lasting ambition to establish the first institute for bioethics in Finland.

“When I returned to Finland, I was, in terms of insight and connections, well-positioned to realize the dream of founding the institute together with my colleagues.” - Heikki Saxén, History of Bioethics, ASLA-Fulbright Pre-Doctoral Research Fellow 2014-2015, University of Tampere, Harvard University


A grant worth 12,000 USD is awarded for the selected grantees to cover expenses of the Fulbright period. In additional to the financial support, the Fulbright Program includes several significant additional benefits and program services, such as a free visa, personal advice services and orientation to the American culture, education system and upcoming Fulbright period.


  • The grant is aimed at doctoral students who are already far in their studies and who want to advance their pre-doctoral work in the U.S. Due to its short length, the grant is well suited for e.g. archival research or other type of data collection in the U.S. The grant is not meant for students who want to attend courses.
  • The grant applicant has to contact an accredited American university already before applying. In exceptional cases, the Fulbright Finland Foundation Board might award a grant for pre-doctoral work in another suitable organization. An invitation from the host organization must be attached in the application.
  • The grant applicant has to be registered in a Finnish University. The ASLA-Fulbright Pre-Doctoral Fellows grants are cost-share grants funded together by Finnish universities and the Fulbright Finland Foundation. In order to get the grant, there is a prerequisite that the applicant’s home university is willing to fund the grant together with the Fulbright Finland Foundation. Before applying for the grant, the applicant has to find out whether his or her university has decided to participate in funding the Fulbright grants (see the list on the Fulbright Finland website). The Fulbright Finland Foundation asks for a statement from the university after the application period. If you are interested in hearing the criteria of your home university, you can contact the international services or research services of your university.
  • The grant cannot we awarded to someone who already resides in the U.S. The applicant has to start their research in the U.S. with this grant. The grantees leave for the U.S. as representatives of the ASLA-Fulbright Pre-Doctoral Fellows program. The grant cannot be used as an additional funding for another grant program that the student is representing.
  • Because the ASLA-Fulbright Pre-Doctoral Research Fellows Program is a cultural exchange program between Finland and the U.S., you have to have a Finnish citizenship and you have to arrive in the U.S. with an exchange visitor visa (the J-1 visa) organized by the Fulbright program. For those having a dual citizenship cannot receive the grant. If you want to have or if you already have a permanent residence permit in the U.S., you are not eligible to apply for the grant program.

There are rules involved in the J-1 visa and the J-2 visa for family members who travel with you, which limit the return to the U.S. Please familiarize yourself with these rules before applying for the grant program.

  • The so-called 12-month bar and 24-month bar regulations limit granting a new J-1 or J-2 visa for those who have visited the U.S. with a J-1 or a J-2 visa before. If you have visited the U.S. with a J-visa within the past 24 months, contact the Fulbright Finland Foundation when writing your application.
  • According to the so-called 2-year rule (two-year home country residence requirement), a grantee cannot apply for a work permit or an immigration visa to the U.S. immediately after their study period has finished. In order for a person to get a work permit or an immigration visa, one has to reside in Finland for two years. However, normal tourist visits and for example studying in the U.S. is possible.

How to Apply?

Below you can find the detailed application instructions for the grant program. Please read the instructions carefully and follow them when filling in the application form.

Note that all parts of the application are delivered online. The applicant does not have to mail any documents to the Fulbright Finland Foundation. Instead, all attachments are saved along with the online application. If the application and the instructions have contradictory information, you should always follow the instructions for Finnish applicants. If you face any technical issues when filling in the application, please contact the Fulbright Finland Foundation.

Application and Attachements

The application is submitted online at The applicants should carefully read the instructions and other material related to the application process before starting to work on the application.

  • Application attachment: Initial funding plan (pdf)
  • Application attachment: Checklist to be signed (pdf)

Use the checklist to make sure you have attached all the required documents in the application. The applicant is responsible for saving all the required attachments in the application system by the deadline, and for sending them to the Fulbright Finland Foundation by email ([email protected]). Also note that the Fulbright Finland Foundation only takes into account the applications which have arrived by deadline and which include all the required attachments.

The selection criteria used in the Fulbright Finland Foundation’s grant programs:

  • the uniqueness and innovativeness of the application,
  • the clarity and implementation of the project,
  • academic and/or professional skills and proficiency,
  • reasoning for conducting research in the U.S.,
  • the significance of the project for the development of the knowledge of the field,
  • the significance of the project in terms of the aims of the ASLA-Fulbright program,
  • personal qualities assessed especially based on the interview: adaptability and suitability to function as a representative of the ASLA-Fulbright program in the U.S.

Applicants who have little or no experience in the U.S. might have an advantage in the selection process.


Deadline for applications December 9, 2018 (Finnish time)
Applicant interviews in Helsinki February 13-15, 2019
Selections announced March 2019
Compulsory Orientation Day for all selected grantees May 2019



Karoliina Kokko
Senior Program Manager
+358 44 5535 268

See also the following grants

The Fulbright Finland Foundation awards graduate-level grants also through the ASLA-Fulbright Graduate Grants and the Fulbright-Technology Industries of Finland Grant programs.