Mid-Career Professional Development Award
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 aim of the award is to allow professionals in various fields to take a sabbatical leave of four to five months from normal work duties to pursue further education or training that would enhance their professional development and the field at large. Applicants should be at a point in their careers when maximum benefit will ensue from this period of professional enrichment. The focus of the award cannot be aimed at academic research or lecturing projects.
Applicants should create projects that may include studies, practical experience in actual operations, visits to organizations in their professional field, public lectures or other appropriate professional experiences. Their project plans should include a concrete description of the planned activities during the grant period as well as the expected benefits for completing the project for their professional field.
Please note that the MCPD awards, which are unique to Finland, use the Fulbright U.S. Scholar application form. However, the MCPD award is not meant for academic research.
Applicants must arrange affiliation and include a letter of invitation from the host institution in Finland. Possible affiliations include government organizations, universities, museums, art institutions, non-profits and private businesses, among others. See examples of the projects of previous Mid-Career Professional Development program grantees on the Fulbright Finland Foundation website.
Awards must begin in August/September 2023 or January 2024 , or must be separately agreed upon with the host institution and the Fulbright Finland Foundation.
July is traditionally a summer vacation month 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.
During the selection process, some applicants may be invited to a Zoom call in mid-January 2023.
The award is meant for mid-career professionals with a minimum of seven years of experience. Emphasis is on professional qualifications and expertise. A university degree is not required.
Applicants must arrange affiliation and include a letter of invitation. The invitation should conform to the project and dates of visit and state facilities offered.
Proposals for medical research involving clinical training, patient care or patient contact are not eligible.
The monthly grant is €2,700 EUR (approx. $3,100), paid out in euro in monthly installments.
Please note: amounts in USD are subject to change due to currency fluctuations.
There are no separate allowances for accompanying dependents in any category.
Housing benefits are not available for scholars in the Mid-Career Professional Development Program, who arrange and pay for their own housing.
A one-time travel allowance of $1,800 is provided. Also, a residence permit allowance is provided - based on the actual permit fees (incl. grantee and accompanying family members).
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 (link), 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.
The MCPD grantee will receive the full support services provided by the Fulbright Finland Foundation for all Fulbright grantees in Finland.
The Fulbright Finland Foundation in Helsinki arranges a four-day orientation seminar for scholars at the end of August, which scholars arriving for the fall semester are expected to attend. An orientation meeting is also arranged for scholars arriving in January. In addition, the Fulbright Finland Foundation organizes seminars and other events throughout the academic year for the Fulbright scholars to deepen their understanding of the Finnish culture.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.