Doctoral Researcher to a project related to zoonooses at sheep pastures

The Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Helsinki is the only institution of higher education in Finland to train veterinarians. It has about 750 undergraduate and postgraduate students and employs approximately 150 academic staff, which is nearly half of the entire staff. The degree programmes have been accredited in accordance with the European System of Evaluation of Veterinary Training (ESEVT). The Faculty has four departments (Food Hygiene and Environmental Health, Equine and Small Animal Medicine, Production Animal Medicine, Veterinary Biosciences) and Veterinary Teaching Hospital.


The Department of Food Hygiene and Environmental Health at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine is located at the University of Helsinki’s Viikki Campus. The Department’s research relates broadly to microbes, toxins and chemical contaminants borne by food, animals, water and the environment, as well as spoilage bacteria associated with food, and environmental health control. One of the key research themes is the prevention of the food- and water-borne spread of microbes that cause infectious diseases in our living environments.


The Faculty of Veterinary Medicine invites applications for the position of a




The appointment is for 2 years, starting in 1 October 2022 or upon agreement (further funding will be applied for during the project). Also applications for part-time job will be considered.


The position is located in the Department of Food Hygiene and Environmental Health in the Makera research project funded by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. The project, in collaboration with the Department of Production Animal Medicine and the Finnish Food Authority, investigates the occasional zoonotic and parasitic infections in sheep, for which more information is needed to prevent and reduce them. The project identifies the threats that zoonotic bacteria and parasites from sheep feces may pose to human and animal health when present in pastures and possibly also in watersheds nearby the pastures. The project will produce researched and comprehensive information on the prevalence of food- and water-borne zoonoses in heaths and their grazing environments.


The appointee must obtain the right to pursue a doctoral degree at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Helsinki and approval by a suitable doctoral programme by the end of the 6 month probationary period of the employment, unless having already existing study right. The research plan and other application material will be prepared together with the PhD supervisor(s) in the beginning of the employment period.


The duties of the doctoral researcher include conducting research in the project framework with the aim of achieving doctoral degree in accordance with the degree requirements of the University of Helsinki. The doctoral researcher's job description includes a variety of tasks, such as sampling in pastures, bacteriological and molecular biological analyzes of manure and environmental samples, processing of zoonotic microbial strains and their gene sequences, analysis of collected data and presentation of results. The doctoral researcher is required to have the readiness and interest to become acquainted with diverse research methods and to participate in the implementation of laboratory research and statistical and bioinformatics analyzes. These are supported by the research teams and experts involved in the project. The teaching duties will cover a maximum of 5 % of the total working hours.




We are looking for an applicant with
• an applicable second-cycle university degree in the field of veterinary science or other applicable field such as microbiology or environmental science. We will also consider applications, when the applicant has almost graduated (veterinary medicine) vs. eligibility to apply to FoodHealth*
• motivation to carry out research and farm visits related to grazing in different parts of Finland
• driving licence
• good English skills (written and oral)
• ability and motivation for independent problem solving and multidisciplinary, applied research


The salary is based on the job requirement scheme for teaching and research staff according to the salary system of the Finnish universities. In addition, the appointee will be paid a personal salary component. Doctoral researchers start from requirement level 2. In total, the starting gross salary of a doctoral researcher is typically about 2300-2400 EUR per month. The requirement level of a doctoral researcher is determined on the basis of progressing in the studies. Doctoral researchers advance to level 3, when they are in the midpoint of completing the work required for the doctoral degree, and eventually to level 4, when the supervisor estimates that the doctoral researcher can publicly defend the dissertation in approximately one year. The position is filled with 6 months probationary period.


Interested in the position?


Please submit your application and the required attachments through the University of Helsinki Recruitment System. Required attachments to the application:

• Free form application, expressing interest to research work and the position in question, competence related to research field and 1-2 referees (names and contact details)
• CV including possible scientific articles
• Degree certificates and transcripts of records


The closing date for applications is 21 August 2022 (23:59 EEST).


Right to pursue a doctoral degree


Please note that the appointee must obtain the right to pursue a doctoral degree at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Helsinki and approval by a suitable doctoral programme by the end of the 6 month probationary period of the employment, unless having already existing study right. The research plan and other application material will be prepared together with the PhD supervisor(s) in the beginning of the employment period. The most suitable doctoral programme is Food Chain and Health (FoodHealth). Alternatively, the Doctoral Researcher may be hired as a Research Assistant until admission to a doctoral programme (if it does not seem possible to obtain the study right to doctoral degree within 6 months because of application periods); the salary will be similar to a Doctoral Researcher position.


Further information


• Position and research project: PI, associate professor Tarja Pitkänen: tarja.m.pitkanen(at), p. +358504285746 (on vacation 2 - 24 July and 15 - 21 August)
• Recruitment system and applying: HR Specialist Heidi Kauppinen, heidi.m.kauppinen(at), p. +358504155341 (mostly on vacation 1 July - 7 August)
Working at the University of Helsinki
Faculty of Veterinary Medicine
HOH Helsinki One Health
Support for international staff
• Zoonooses at sheep pastures project (in Finnish): Lammaslaitumien zoonoosit - Maa- ja metsätalousministeriö (
Tarja Pitkänen Research Group, Waterborne pathogens
Rauni Kivistö’s Veterinary Environmental Hygiene Research Group
Project pages at Finnish Food Authority (In Finnish)


Related to admissions to doctoral studies


Application process to doctoral education
About doctoral schools and programmes
Doctoral programme in Food Chain and Health (FoodHealth)

*Related to eligibility to apply to FoodHealth: ”In addition, applicants who have been admitted to pursue a licentiate degree in medicine and dentistry or a licentiate degree in veterinary medicine at a Finnish university or at a university from EU/EEA country, or at the University of Helsinki can also be admitted to pursue a postgraduate research degree. Furthermore, applicants licensed as a healthcare professional by the National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health or veterinarians licensed by the Finnish Food Authority who have completed applicable education abroad in their home country equivalent to a second-cycle university degree or a second-cycle degree from a university of applied sciences can be admitted.”

Do you have a username and a valid employment contract, a grant researcher's contract, a visiting researcher's or visiting professor's contract at the University of Helsinki? Log in here to apply to our open positions.

Open position

Due Date:  21.8.2022
Unit:  Faculty of Veterinary Medicine
Sub-unit:  Faculty of Veterinary Medicine
ID:  384

Why choose the University of Helsinki?

The University of Helsinki is a community of research, learning and bold thinking. We work to solve the big challenges of the world through basic research, curiosity and cooperation. Together, for the world!

We employ ca 8,000 experts of teaching and research, as well as various specialists and support staff.

We value responsibility and want to be the best possible employer for our staff.