Early Stage Researcher, Non-coding RNAs in the brain



We are now inviting applications for an Early Stage Researcher (Doctoral Student) position in the EU-funded Marie Skłodowska-Curie Cofund DP project Neuro-Innovation: Research and innovation for brain health throughout life. The position in the A. I. Virtanen Institute for Molecular Sciences will start in early 2022. Read more below and submit your application no later than 15 August 2021. 

This position is one of the 7 PhD positions available for highly motivated Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) in the Neuro-Innovation project in the Kuopio campus of the university. In the Faculty of Health Sciences, a total of four Early Stage Researcher positions will be filled in this first call. One of these positions will be filled by a person selected for the Doctoral Programme of Molecular Medicine (DPMM). The number of ESRs selected in the Faculty of Health Sciences, will be determined during the selection process and may change from what has initially been announced based on the eligibility of the applicants and the scoring of the applications.

The A.I. Virtanen Institute for Molecular Sciences is a research institute that responds to the global health challenges created by the aging of the population and changes in lifestyle by focusing on the research of cardiovascular and brain diseases. The Doctoral Programme in Molecular Medicine (DPMM) is an interdisciplinary doctoral training program with the purpose of training researchers as international experts in modern biomedicine.

Role and salary

The selected ESR will work in a young enthusiastic research team focusing on RNA biology. Our research goal is to understand the molecular mechnisms of non-coding RNAs and unveil their role in normal brain and diseases. We are especially interested on epileptogenesis and drug-refractory epilepsy. Most of the research is done in experimental laboratory models. However, we also examine tissue from patients as we work in collaboration with the Kuopio University Hospital and Veterinary Teaching Hospital (Helsinki). In our studies we apply together with our collaborators various methods that range from classical immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridization, molecular profile analysis (next generation sequencing, proteomics), RNA techniques (PCR, RNA manipulation) to bioinformatics, behavioural analysis and magnetic resonance imaging. 

The position in the Doctoral Programme of Molecular Medicine (DPMM) is offered for the research topic of Non-coding RNAs: Mechanisms and therapeutic strategies for epilepsy. You may modify this research topic or suggest your own topic in the motivation letter (for details, see the Neuro-Innovation website). The main duty of the ESR is to complete a doctoral dissertation in accordance with the research proposal written in the beginning of the employment period. In the University of Eastern Finland, the objective is to complete the doctoral degree in a maximum of four years of full-time study. The position will be filled for a fixed term of four years starting from early 2022 or as agreed upon with the PhD candidate. Early Stage Researcher positions are always filled for a fixed term. A probationary period is applied at the University of Eastern Finland to all new members of the staff.  

The salary of the position is based on the salary system for the teaching and research staff at universities. The salary consists of the job-related salary element and the personal performance salary element. For this position, the job requirement level used to determine the job-related salary element is 2–4, and the personal performance salary element is 6–50% of the job-related salary element. The estimated monthly salary in the beginning of the employment will be 2,288.17 – 3,163.95 €/per month. The salary of an ESR depends on the phase of the doctoral dissertation and postgraduate studies as well as personal performance.

What we expect and wish from you 

We are looking for an ESR with passion for excellence in research, innovation, and societal impact. We are looking for a motivated candidate to work on a unique project that identifies and characterizes novel molecular mechanisms of non-coding RNAs and investigates their role during epileptogenesis. The candidate will have possibility to unveil fundamental aspects non-coding RNA and discover new treatment strategies to prevent or halt epileptogenesis and drug-refractoriness. There is also a possibility to assess biomarkers at different stages of the disease. The academic profile of the candidate should be in the molecular biology area, with the idea of complementing this background throughout PhD studies. The candidate must be motivated to combine complementary areas of knowledge in neurosciences, data sciences and business to success in the thesis project. 

The person appointed as an ESR must hold an appropriate higher university degree or an equivalent degree that would qualify the person for doctoral studies. 

Requirements for doctoral candidates:

  • hold a Master’s Degree (or equivalent) and a research thesis (or equivalent) in molecular biology, or another related relevant field
  • should not hold a doctorate or PhD
  • should have less than 4 years of research experience after the graduation (Master’s Degree or equivalent based on which you are applying for this position) by August 15th, 2021. In this context, the 4 years refer to a net period of time, which does not include maternity leaves, parental leaves or military service.
  • excellent command of the English language is required

Mobility requirements for doctoral candidates: 

  • fulfil the mobility requirement of the MSCA actions, i.e. ESRs must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies) in Finland for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately before August 15th, 2021. Compulsory national service and/or short stays such as holidays are not considered.

What we can offer you   

  • An interesting position in an international, creative, participatory and engaging university community 
  • The possibility of flexible multi-location work 
  • Staff benefits of the University of Eastern Finland, including comprehensive occupational health care, versatile staff training opportunities, affordable campus restaurant lunches and Sykettä sports services 

How to apply  

The application shall be submitted no later than 15 August 2021 by 24:00 hours Finnish time (11:00 pm CEST) by using the electronic application form. 

The objective is to offer the position to the most merited applicant by January-February 2022. 

Please note that the application is required to include the following appendices: 

  • certified copies of BSc and MSc degree diplomas/certificates and copies of these relating to applicant’s language proficiency (if not indicated in the academic degree), transcripts of these records in English. if the proof of English language skills has not been demonstrated in an academic degree and the applicant has not taken the English language test, the English language skills will be assessed in the interview for the position.
  • curriculum vitae (CV) (https://tenk.fi/en/advice-and-materials/template-researchers-curriculum-vitae)
  • Master’s thesis (in any language), electronic copy (in zip file)
  • two-page summary of the Master’s thesis in English (in pdf file)
  • motivation letter (max three pages) describes the applicant’s motivation to pursue PhD studies in the chosen research area and topic. When suggesting your own research topic or modifications to the given topic, the research idea needs to be described as part of the motivation letter and research ethics and infrastructure forms provided on the programme website must be attached to the application (for more specific instructions on the motivation letter, see www.uef.fi/neuro-innovation


For further information on the position and the research topic for which it is offered, please visit www.uef.fi/neuro-innovation

For further information on the application procedure, see the FAQ section on the Neuro-Innovation website or send email to neuroinno@uef.fi.