Fulbright-Saastamoinen Foundation Distinguished Chair in Health Sciences
Number of recipients
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.
The Fulbright-Saastamoinen Foundation Distinguished Chair position provides U.S. scholars with the opportunity to conduct research at the University of Eastern Finland (UEF) at the Faculty of Health Sciences. The Chair position is available for scholars and specialists in any field of Health Sciences, but priority will be given to research work in Cardiovascular Diseases and/or Metabolic Diseases or Neuroscience research.
This specified research area focuses on the pathophysiology, genetics, molecular mechanisms, prevention and novel treatments of these diseases. The research area brings together researchers from from UEF and Kuopio University Hospital from the fields of internal medicine, clinical nutrition, molecular medicine, neuroscience, vascular biology and cardiology. Research is carried out in an extensive international network of partners in Europe and the U.S.
The Chair and the UEF faculty will work together in designing the Chair’s activities. In addition to research, the Scholar has an opportunity to mentor doctoral students and post doctoral researchers.
Applicants are advised to include an invitation letter from the relevant unit at UEF in their application as well as a research plan in the project statement of the Distinguished Chair application. Proposals for medical research involving clinical training, patient care, or patient contact are not eligible.
The University of Eastern Finland is one of the largest universities in Finland; we are home to approximately 16,000 students and 2,750 members of staff. The university has two campuses in the cities of Joensuu and Kuopio, located 400 kilometers northeast of Helsinki. The Faculty of Health Sciences is located on the Kuopio campus.
UEF’s campuses are significant research and innovation centers and in close vicinity there are several national-level research institutes as well as the Kuopio University Hospital.
Water and forests dominate the landscape of Kuopio, which is known for its nature and quality of life, know-how, science and technology and, the character of its lively people. The beautiful nature and pleasant living environment, with excellent services, makes Kuopio an attractive place to live.
In Joensuu, River Pielisjoki flows through the lively city center. As the capital of North Karelia, Joensuu is fashioned by the Karelian lifestyle, hosting numerous cultural events. Close by iconic national landscapes and rich Karelian culinary tradition, Joensuu attracts visitors especially in the summer time.
The Chair is awarded as a Flex Grant for two visits of one month over two consecutive years. Grants should begin no earlier than August 2024. The grant periods will be agreed together with the Chair, host Professor, and UEF unit.
The grant is awarded as a Flex grant for two visits of one month each over two consecutive years.
The Flex Award is designed for scholars who require multiple visits to the host country. This option allows grants to be conducted over short segments, preferably during the fall and/or spring semesters.
Applicants should clearly indicate plans for Flex in their project statement, including a project timeline. Flex grantees may be asked to give public talks, mentor students, and otherwise engage with the host-country academic community.
The Flex Award is designed for scholars who require multiple visits to the host country. This option allows grants to be conducted over two or three short segments. Applicants must select Flex in the application form, and clearly describe their plans for Flex in their project statement, including a project timeline. Flex grantees may be asked to give public talks, mentor students, and otherwise engage with the host-country academic community.
The Chair position is available for scholars and specialists in any field of the Health Sciences or interdisciplinary areas with a specific focus on Health Sciences; priority will be given to research work in Cardiovascular Diseases and/or Metabolic Diseases or Neuroscience research.
The Distinguished Chair application must include a letter of invitation or copy of correspondence with a relevant unit at University of Eastern Finland. The letter should include information on the agreed teaching and research plan, contact details of host, confirmation that the host institution will pay for and arrange housing, and length and dates of the proposed visit (potential hosts can 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 ahead of time to solicit an invitation letter for their application.
An international scholar does not need Finnish or Swedish in order to be able to live in Finland. English is widely spoken in academic circles.
During the selection process, some applicants may be invited to a Zoom call in mid-January 2024.
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.
The monthly grant is €8,000 EUR (approx. $8,700 USD), paid in euros in monthly installments. Note: Amounts in USD are subject to change due to currency fluctuations.
There are no separate allowances for accompanying dependents in any category.
The University of Eastern Finland pays for and arranges housing for the Chair and their family (this information should be confirmed in the letter of invitation) and offers working facilities at the University. Applicants should communicate their housing needs to the host institution as early as possible, so that appropriate housing can be arranged.
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).
For Flex grants: round trip travel will be included for each segment of the grant.
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.
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.
UEF 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 highly encouraged 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.
To learn more about Fulbright U.S. Scholar awards in Finland for 2024-25, please view our archived webinar and slides to hear directly from the Fulbright Commission, IIE staff and U.S. Scholar alums regarding award details, the scholar experience, and application guidance.
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 (5.6 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.
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. On a national level research and development is highly emphasized. The Finnish government is committed to the target of raising research and development expenditure to four per cent of GDP by 2030. 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.
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 offers awards to U.S. 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.
The Fulbright Finland Foundation also provides information for Finnish institutions, which applicants are encouraged to utilize when contacting prospective hosts.
Visit our Scholar Directory to view and search all Fulbright alumni. You can also learn more about Fulbright Alumni Ambassadors.