Fulbright Distinguished Scholar Award

Fulbright-Aalto University Distinguished Chair

Application Deadline
Award Code
Activity Type
A combination of teaching and research as described above. Refer to the award description for any specifications on percentages of time that should be devoted to teaching vs research.
Degree Requirements
Ph.D. (or other terminal degree) required
Career Profile
Mid-Career Academics
Awards are open to those who have been working in the capacity of a teacher or scholar for more than seven, and less than 13, years.
Senior Academics
Awards are open to those who have been working in the capacity of a teacher or scholar for more than 13 years.

Number of recipients

Award Start Period
August 2023 or January 2024
Award Length
3 months - 9 months
Flex Option
Multi-Country/Area Award
Computer Science
Environmental Sciences
Film/Cinema Studies
Information Sciences/Systems
Materials Sciences
Media Studies
Urban Planning/Studies
Scholars selected for this award can choose to
Advise and/or mentor students
Assist in faculty, curriculum, and/or program development
Conduct a research project designated by the host institution
Conduct a research project of the applicant’s choosing
Teach graduate and/or undergraduate courses designated by the host institution
Teach graduate and/or undergraduate courses of the applicant’s choosing
Conduct a professional and/or artistic project
The applicant can propose any of the listed activities

In addition to being a prestigious academic exchange program, the Fulbright Program is designed to expand and strengthen relationships between the people of the United States and citizens of other nations and to promote international understanding and cooperation. To support this mission, Fulbright Scholars may be asked to give public talks, mentor students, and otherwise engage with the host community, in addition to their primary activities‎.

Award Activity

Aalto University is known as a place, where science and art meet technology and business. The university works for shaping a sustainable future by making research breakthroughs in and across its disciplines, sparking the game changers of tomorrow and creating novel solutions to major global challenges. It renews society with research-based knowledge, creativity and an entrepreneurial mindset. At Aalto all work is guided by the values of the university: responsibility, courage and collaboration. The university’s living strategy is tailored for a world in motion.  

Aalto University’s research focuses on seven key areas combining four core competences in the fields of ICT, materials, arts, design and business together with three grand challenges related to energy, living environment, and health. The university has become a forerunner in its key research areas.  

Aalto University strives to provide a very friendly and collegial atmosphere to pursue a variety of professional activities in research, teaching and lecturing. Collaboration is encouraged such as research and writing joint publications with Finnish colleagues and mentoring student research at the master's and doctoral levels. In addition to teaching at Aalto University, the Fulbright-Aalto University Distinguished Chair has the opportunity to network and create linkages throughout Finland and give occasional guest lectures at other Finnish universities.

Applicants should contact Aalto University faculty in the department directly to work together in designing activities for the application. A research and teaching plan should be included in the project statement of the Distinguished Chair application. Applicants are requested to include a letter of invitation from the relevant unit at Aalto University in their application; the letter must be signed by the Dean of the relevant school. 

The Fulbright-Aalto University Distinguished Chair is jointly funded by the Aalto University and the Fulbright Finland Foundation (the Finnish Fulbright Commission).

Location Selection: Award is hosted by the institution listed below
Locations Detail

Aalto University has six schools, 12,000 full-time equivalent degree students from over 100 countries, and a staff of about 4,000, of which 400 are professors. Share of international academic faculty is over 45%. Aalto University is one of Europe’s most international universities.The university was founded in 2010 by merging three leading Finnish institutions - Helsinki University of Technology, the Helsinki School of Economics and the University of Art and Design Helsinki - as a societally-embedded, innovative research university for a better world. 

The main campus in Espoo's Otaniemi supports Aalto University's vision for building an innovative society. The campus has turned into a world-class collaboration hub combining high tech, art and design and business in a unique way and driving one of Europe's leading start-up ecosystems. Otaniemi is about 15 minutes from the city center of Helsinki. The campus and its immediate vicinity is the site for many of Finland’s largest companies’ headquarters, not to mention home to a great number of smaller companies.

The Schools that host Fulbright-Aalto University Distinguished Chairs in 2023-24:

  • School of Arts, Design and Architecture is the largest of its kind in the Nordic countries, and one of the most prestigious ones in the whole world. It produces world-class research in art education, design and design thinking, digital media and visual culture, urban planning, architecture and landscape architecture.
  • The School of Business is Finland's leading business school and one of the top business schools in Europe. The School was the first business school in the Nordic countries to receive the most important international quality accreditations of the field: AACSB, AMBA and EQUIS. This makes it one of the best business schools in the world.
  • School of Chemical Engineering focuses its research on environmentally friendly and energy-efficient processes, diverse utilisation of wood and other biomaterials, new materials and their application, new motor fuels, shaping of micro-organisms and enzymes, and new drugs and biomaterials. NOTE! In 2023-2024 the School welcomes applications in the field of bioeconomy only.
  • The School of Electrical Engineering intertwines electrical engineering, the natural sciences and information technology to form smart systems and innovations that save energy and increase well-being. The research is applied in mobile telephones, electricity networks and in satellites.
  • School of Engineering teaches and researches fields that encompass all aspects of our built-up environment. Global warming, energy conservation and sustainable use of natural resources are the focus areas of both research and teaching.
  • School of Science performs world-class fundamental research and develops scientific and technical applications based on its results. Especially the fields of computation and modelling, materials research as well as ICT and media account for a large part of the research conducted at the school. NOTE! In 2023-2024 the School welcomes applications in the field of computer science only.
Award Length and Period

Grants should begin in August 2023 or January 2024 unless otherwise agreed between the scholar, host and the Fulbright Finland Foundation. The academic year runs from September to mid-May/June.

Areas of Interest

For applicants interested in working with the School of Arts, Design and Architecture, special areas of interest include: Architecture; Film, Television and Scenography; Media; Design; and Art.

For applicants interested in working with the School of Business, special areas of interest include: Management studies; Accounting and Business Law; Marketing; Finance; Economics; and Information and Service Management. 

For applicants interested in working with the School of Chemical Engineering, applications are welcomed within the thematic area of Bioeconomy for 2023-2024.

For applicants interested in working with the School of Electrical Engineering, special areas of interest include: Electronics and Nanoengineering; Signal Processing and Acoustics; Electrical Engineering and Automation; and Communications and Networking. 

For applicants interested in working with the School of Engineering, special areas of interest include: Mechanical Engineering; Built Environment; and Civil Engineering.

For applicants interested in working with the School of Science, applications are welcomed within the area of computer science for 2023-2024.



Citizenship/Residency Requirement
Applicants residing in the award country at the time of application or thereafter are not eligible to apply for this award.
Permanent residents of the award country are not eligible to apply for this award.
Invitation Requirement
A letter of invitation is required.
Invitation Requirement Additional Information

Applicants are required to include a letter of invitation from the relevant unit at Aalto University. Before applying, the applicant must contact Mervi Rantanen (Mervi.Rantanen@aalto.fi) to facilitate the internal process at Aalto University. The letter must be signed by the Dean of the respective school, and include information on the agreed teaching and research plan, length and dates of the proposed visit, and confirmation that the host institution will fund the monthly grant payment and pay for and arrange housing (for the scholar and accompanying family) during the visit (Finnish host institution should refer to these instructions).

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 in advance to solicit an invitation letter for their application.

Language Proficiency Requirements
None, English is sufficient. However, feasibility of conducting the project must be demonstrated in the project statement.
Additional Language Requirement

All teaching can be conducted in English and research work usually does not require knowledge of Finnish or Swedish.

Additional Qualification Information

During the selection process, some applicants may be invited to a Zoom call in mid-January 2023.

Candidates should have a prominent record of scholarly accomplishment.

Additionally, candidates in all Fulbright programs are reviewed on the project’s contribution to the objectives of the Fulbright Program as well as on the adaptability and suitability of the candidate to act as a Fulbright Ambassador for the U.S. in Finland.

Award Allowances

The monthly grant is €5,600 EUR (approx. $6,200 USD), paid in euros in monthly installments. The maximum amount for a nine-month grant is €50,400 EUR (approx. $56,000 USD). Please note: amounts in USD are subject to change due to currency fluctuations. 

There are no separate allowances for accompanying dependents.

Aalto University will provide and cover the cost of housing for the scholar and their accompanying family members; this information should be confirmed in the letter of invitation. Applicants should communicate their housing needs to the host institution as early as possible so that appropriate housing can be arranged for them.

Estimated Travel and Relocation Allowance for Grantee

A one-time travel allowance of $2,000 USD is provided. Also, a residence permit allowance is provided - based on the actual permit fees (including permit fees for accompanying dependents). 

Additional Dependent Benefits

No dependent tuition allowance is offered, but K-12 education in Finland is generally free or heavily subsidized (some special schools, such as private international schools, may charge tuition). Instruction in English is available in Helsinki and other bigger cities at kindergartens, elementary and secondary schools, as well as at the university level, however many of them require an aptitude test and sometimes entry is competitive.

The Finnish school system is considered one of the best in the world. Finland has been one of the top performers in the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), an ongoing study administered every three years that tests the math, reading and science literacy of 15-year-olds in OECD nations. Average group sizes in basic education in Finland have for a long time been below the OECD average.

For details about the Finnish education system please visit the Ministry of Education and Culture, which provides greater insight to education at all levels across Finland.

Dependents must accompany the grantee for at least 80% of the period abroad and a minimum of one semester in order to qualify for additional dependent benefits. Dependent benefits are not provided to Flex grantees.

Special Award Benefits

Aalto University arranges housing for the Chair and their family and provides working facilities at the institution. The Chair is provided with a monthly allowance, travel allowance, residence permit allowance, and an accident and sickness insurance for the grant period.

In addition to being a distinguished academic exchange program, the Fulbright Program is designed to expand and strengthen relationships between the people of the U.S. and citizens of other nations and to promote international understanding and cooperation. To support this mission, the Fulbright Finland Foundation organizes orientation, lectures, and visits for the Fulbright scholars to deepen their understanding of the Finnish culture. The Fulbright Finland Foundation in Helsinki arranges an orientation for scholars at the end of August and again in January; scholars are expected to attend one depending on their arrival.

Final grant amounts will be determined prior to the start of the academic year and are subject to the availability of funds. The United States Department of State and the Fulbright Commission in the host country reserve the right to alter, without notice, participating countries, number of awards and allowances.


What is life like for Fulbrighters in your country?

The general country landscape

Finland is a Nordic country the size of California located in northern Europe, and is part of the European Union. It is rather sparsely populated (5.5 million people) and has extensive nature: forests, coastline and lakes.The six largest cities host approximately 60% of the population; urban environments are closely linked to nature. It is a country that has a well-organized and efficient society. The general infrastructure, both public and private services, is considered very effective. Well run public services such as transportation, police, education and healthcare are fundamental and highly regarded parts of the society. The arts and design, cultural life, nature and sports are highly valued. Finland ranks as one of the world’s most stable nations and has been named one of the safest and least corrupt countries in the world, which makes it an easy place to live and travel in.

You can read more about Finland online here and here.

Finns believe strongly in equality and education, and the country is especially known for its effective and free education system. Finland has two types of higher education institutions: universities and universities of applied sciences (UAS). Finnish higher education institutions engage in world-leading research and offer high-quality academic programs. In relation to its gross domestic product, Finland invests more in research and development than almost any other OECD country. Finnish institutions and researchers are also among the most active scientific publishers in the world. Together with a welcoming and intriguing environment, Finland offers interesting opportunities for American researchers, teachers and professionals. English is widely used at the university level.

The academic year in Finland is based on a two-semester system. The official academic year starts on August 1 and ends on July 31. However, in the fall semester lectures are usually scheduled between September and mid-December, and in the spring semester between early January and May. Typically, there is no teaching during the summer and on public holidays.

For more information on living and studying in Finland, please click here and here.

Fulbright in Finland

Finland has a strong Fulbright program with a unique history. The program has an important role in supporting the internationalization of education and research in Finland, helping U.S. and Finnish institutions create linkages, and promoting a wider exchange of knowledge and professional talents through educational contacts between Finland and the United States. The program has grown in recent years due to the close cooperation of the Fulbright Finland Foundation with Finnish universities, research institutions, governmental agencies and private foundations, as well as to U.S. and Finnish alumni contributions. Most of the program’s funding currently comes from Finland.

The Fulbright Finland Foundation (the Finnish Fulbright Commission) offers awards to U.S. teachers and scholars to teach or pursue research in Finland. The majority of awards are available to scholars in all disciplines, but some awards are limited to certain fields. In nearly all categories, housing is provided for the grantee.

Awards are also available for professionals for career development.

Candidates interested in applying for an award to Finland are welcome to consult the Fulbright Finland Foundation's website for more information.

The Fulbright Finland Foundation also provides information for Finnish institutions, which applicants are encouraged to utilize when contacting prospective hosts.

Read more about Finland:

Statistics Finland
Fulbright Finland News Magazine

Previous Fulbright Recipients

Visit the Fulbright Finland Foundation to see grantees from previous years.

Visit our Scholar Directory to view and search all Fulbright alumni. You can also learn more about Fulbright Alumni Ambassadors.