The University of Lapland is the third university in Finland to introduce a model of part-time employment for grant researchers. Photo: Elli Alasaari.
The University of Lapland has introduced a model in which grant-funded researchers are offered an opportunity to conclude a ten percent employment contract with the University. The opportunity is available for researchers who have received at least a 12-month grant from an external party. The reform aims to improve the status of grant researchers.
As of the beginning of May, the University of Lapland has started to
conclude part-time, ten percent employment contracts with its
grant-funded researchers whose grants are lasting at least 12 months.
The reform aims to improve the status of grant researchers and give them
the opportunity to become a more integral part of the University
"The status of grant researchers has been under
discussion at the Finnish universities for a longer time. Earlier, grant
researchers have often remained outside the University's operations,
even though the research they have conducted has been closely related
to, for example, the University's strategic emphasis and has been
valuable to the University in many ways, for example by producing
doctoral degrees and scientific publications. Despite this, they haven't
had the same benefits and security as researchers employed by the
University," says Pia Satta, Director of Human Resources at the
University of Lapland.
In practice, a part-time, ten percent
employment contract means 161 hours of work time per year for a grant
researcher. The tasks can be, for example, teaching and supervision
related to researcher's own field, and they are agreed together with the
supervisor. With the employment contract, the grant researcher is
given, if needed, a workspace, a computer and a telephone, access to
information systems and databases, and a right to use occupational
health services and well-being benefits.
relationship is possible when the researcher has received at least a
12-month grant from an external party, and the grant has been awarded
and the research is related to the dissertation or postdoctoral study at
the University of Lapland. In 2023, the employment contract can
exceptionally concern a shorter period if the researcher has been
awarded at least a 12-month grant that covers the whole year 2023.
Employment contracts benefit both grant researchers and the University
research is carried out in all phases of researchers' career,
especially while doing dissertation and post-doc research. Only a few
Finnish universities offer their grant researchers an opportunity for
employment contracts. In addition to the University of Lapland, a
similar practice exists at the University of Eastern Finland and the
University of Oulu.
"At the Lapin Tieteentekijät, we are
delighted about the grant researchers finally getting employment
contracts – as an association, we submitted an initiative for this to
the Rector in March 2021," says Hanna Lempinen, Chairperson of Lapin
Tieteentekijät ry, an association of University Researchers and Teachers
"From the grant recipient's point of view, a
part-time employment contract guarantees the researchers occupational
health care, the access to systems and equipment, equal rights to
work-related travel with other personnel of the unit, and other benefits
belonging to the employment contracts. In addition, one benefit of
employment contracts is the possibility to harmonise the situation of
grant researchers in different units of the University," says Lempinen.
to Lempinen, ten percent working time is an excellent opportunity,
especially for researchers at an early career stage, to gain experience
in teaching, supervision and administrative tasks.
is also an advantage for the University to have more workforce in-house
to carry out teaching and subject development," Lempinen mentions.
Pia Satta, Director of Human Resources, tel. +358 40 726 3471, pia.satta (at) ulapland.fi
Hanna Lempinen, Chairperson of Lapin Tieteentekijät ry, hanna.lempinen (at) ulapland.fi
Information on the 10 % employment contract