Doctoral Researcher in Soil Biodiversity Changes in Response to Global Changes

The Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences and Assistant Professor Helen Phillips invites applications for the position of

Doctoral Researcher in soil biodiversity changes in response to global changes

Our research focuses on understanding large-scale patterns in soil biodiversity, and how human impacts may be disrupting these patterns. We are recruiting a Doctoral researcher to work within Dr. Helen Phillips’ Research Council of Finland funded project "GC-Worms: Partitioning the impacts of global changes on earthworm communities" at the University of Helsinki. GC-Worms will run from September 2024 to August 2028.

We are looking for a Doctoral researcher to join our team and undertake some of the work we are doing as part of GC-Worms. The successful candidate will use and expand upon previously synthesized ecological datasets on community-scale diversity ( of earthworms across the globe. The research will be focused on understanding alpha and beta diversity changes of earthworm communities over space and time. The successful candidate will be given plenty of opportunities to expand their skills, including data handling and management, statistics, R programming and scientific writing (including for grant applications).

The successful candidate will have:

  • A Master’s degree or equivalent second-cycle degree (or soon to be completed degree) in a relevant subject (e.g., ecology, biology, conservation, quantitative methods)
  • A passion for understanding how human impacts are altering biodiversity across the globe
  • Good command of spoken and written English
  • Good interpersonal, organisational and time management skills


The successful candidate may also have:

  • Statistical knowledge
  • Some previous experience handling large datasets
  • Experience using R (or other programming languages)
  • Experience conducting a research project
  • Confidence in communication of their research (either through presentations or publications)



Funding is available for the duration of the GC-Worms project (4 years). The position has a 6-month trial period during which time the successful candidate must be granted the right to complete a doctoral degree at the University of Helsinki. Ideally the candidate would start during September or October 2024. The position will be based at the Viikki campus.


Requirements for the position

According to the Regulations of the University of Helsinki, an appointee to the position of doctoral researcher shall hold a second-cycle degree (Master’s degree or equivalent) and the right to complete a doctoral degree at the University of Helsinki or shall be granted the right to complete a doctoral degree at the University of Helsinki during the trial period at the beginning of the employment relationship.

Other requirements shall include an approved research proposal, the ability and motivation, as demonstrated in previous degree studies and otherwise, to pursue postgraduate studies and a doctoral degree according to the study plan and research proposal.


How to apply

Applications can only be processed through the online system. The application should include the following documents (either as a single file or separately within the online system):

  • Letter of motivation (max 1 page). If you haven’t completed your Master’s, please indicate in the letter your expected date of submission.
    • If you have some prior experience in any aspect of the research topic, please outline it in the letter.
    • If you do not have prior experience, please indicate what aspect of this doctoral position excites you.
  • CV (max 2 pages) including any publications if you have them.
  • Contact information for two people who would be willing to provide a reference letter.

Closing date for applications is 2 August 2024

The University of Helsinki, and the research group of Dr. Helen Phillips, encourages applications from representatives of different genders, language and cultural backgrounds, and minorities.


Selection process

Following the closing date, all applications will be screened, and short-listed candidates will be invited to an online interview.


What we offer

The salary of the successful candidate will be based on levels 2-4 of the demands level chart for teaching and research personnel in the salary system of Finnish universities. The starting salary will be ca. 2500 euros/month.


Additional information

For more information on the position or the research group, please contact Assistant Professor Helen Phillips (helen.phillips[at]


The University of Helsinki

The University of Helsinki is an international scientific community of 40,000 students and researchers. It is one of the leading multidisciplinary research universities and ranks among the top 100 international universities in the world. We are committed to the principles and practices of open science. We are an equal opportunity employer and offer an attractive and diverse workplace in an inspiring environment with a variety of development opportunities and benefits.  For more information about working at the University of Helsinki and living in Finland, please see

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Open position

Due Date:  02.08.2024
Unit:  Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences
Sub-unit:  Organismal and Evolutionary Biology Research Progr
ID:  3312

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