Drug Research Doctoral Programme - Admission Criteria and Instructions for Applicants

DRDP serves as a postgraduate programme for graduates of the Master’s Degree Programme in Drug Discovery and Development at the University of Turku but it is open to applicants from anywhere in the world, who have a suitable M.Sc. level education and an interest in drug research.

The training provides a general view of the drug development process, starting from molecular and mechanistic levels and continuing to preclinical and clinical drug research, pharmaceutical development, and pharmacoepidemiology.

The doctoral researchers of Drug Research Doctoral Programme (DRDP) carry out their doctoral studies at the Faculty of Medicine, the Faculty of Science or the Faculty of Technology.

Industrial PhD (iPhD) training in DRDP

DRDP has an industrial doctorate track (iPhD) in collaboration with industrial partners. The aim of the industrial doctorate training is to educate doctors to strong scientific thinking in combination with applied research expertise, and capabilities to work in both academic and industrial research environments as well as in their interface. Doctoral researchers on the iPhD track will carry out their research primarily (>75 % of total 4 years) in an industrial environment, and are supervised by both industrial and academic supervisors. The academic training is composed of academic secondments (akateeminen työskentelyjakso, max 25 %), and post-graduate education courses at the UTU.

Doctoral researchers with immunology, immunology-based drug development and/or diagnostics as their field of study have the possibility of applying for the InFLAMES Doctoral Module and of including the studies offered within the module as part of their doctoral studies.

> Application periods for doctoral training

The next application period is 1.5.-15.5.2024 (ends at 3:00 p.m.). The right to study for a doctoral degree will start on 1 August 2024.

Call II for applications DRDP Spring 2024 (pdf)

 

DRDP call for UTUGS applications (pdf)

Previous call (28.2-28.3.2024) DRDP call for UTUGS applications (pdf)

Upcoming call (1.5.-15.5.2024): Call II for applications DRDP Spring 2024 (pdf) 

 

Who may apply
Before applying

Please read carefully the guidelines for applying

> Faculty of Medicine

> Faculty of Science 

>Faculty of Technology

Prepare also the documents mentioned in the call for applications of the Drug Research Doctoral Programme.

Check-list for the applicant
  •     Check the application period
  •     Read the instructions of the faculty in question and the doctoral programme carefully!
  •     If you are going to verify your language skills with a language test, make sure that you book your test time well in advance. It is the applicant’s responsibility to make his/her own language test arrangements
  •     Get the required signatures in time and prepare the appendices
  •     Fill in the electric application form
  •     Remember to apply in time
  •     Keep your original certificates at hand and prepare to acquire officially certified copies if needed!
How to apply? Application and instructions

A link to the electronic application form, the list of required attachments and a guide for filling in the form will be available during the application period.

Application period and what can be applied for

On the period of 1.5.-15.5.2024 applications are invited for the right to study at the University of Turku in the Faculty of Medicine or Faculty of Science or Faculty of Technology in Drug Research Doctoral Programme. The right to study for a doctoral degree will start on 1 August 2024.

Applying

Eligible applicants with a research topic fitting the scope of DRDP can apply. The motivation to apply to DRDP is presented in the motivation letter. Each applicant should have two supervisors* with at least one supervisor affiliated with University of Turku and holding an UTU -account to use the UGIS system. 

To plan the theoretical studies, applicants should take into account the Learning outcomes of DRDP, their research project and individual career plans.

DRDP doctoral researchers in the Faculty of Science or Technology of are required to include at least 5 credits of doctoral programme specific training by DRDP in their postgraduate studies. Same is recommended to the DRDP doctoral researchers in the Faculty of Medicine. It is strongly recommended that every doctoral researcher actively participates in the annual meetings of the DRDP and the annual meetings of FinPharmaNet and gives an oral presentation at least once during their doctoral studies at one of the events.

Follow-up committee is an important part of the PhD studies in DRDP. The role and tasks of the follow-up committee are listed in detail in the study guide. DRDP follow-up committee comprises of supervisors and 1-3 other researchers familiar with the research topic, one of whom must be from outside the doctoral researcher's own group. At least one of the external members should be affiliated with University of Turku and be familiar with the practicalities of doctoral training in the Faculty and in DRDP. The follow-up committee ensures progress of the doctoral researcher's thesis work and studies, provides an external perspective on the research, and supports both researcher and supervisor(s). The applicant negotiates with their supervisor(s) to assemble the follow-up committee and agrees with the members of the committee on annual monitoring practices.

*At Faculty of Medicine: When only one supervisor for doctoral training is proposed, the supervisor’s justified plea for approval of only one supervisor must be attached to the application. 

The applicants will be invited to interview after preliminary selection. The interview will contain a brief presentation by the Applicant and an interview by the Board of the DRDP. The invitation with detailed instructions will be sent by email.

Application and document preparation:

>> Apply here


1) Fill in the electronic application form found in Opintopolku / StudyInfo (link will be open from 1.5.2024 00:00 to 15.5.2024 (3:00 p.m.).
2) attach PDF file documents into the application according to Faculty of Medicine or Faculty of Science/Technology requirements.

Instructions for DRDP applicant_2024 to fill in the application form

See below the separate instructions for applying to the Faculty of Medicine or Faculty of Science/Technology. The application documents will not be returned to the sender.

The electronic application form should include the following attachments:

At the Faculty of Medicine

1. Motivation letter (why do you wish to perform doctoral studies in this doctoral programme)

2. CV of the applicant, including a list of publications when applicable (it is mandatory to use attached CV model)

3. Structured research plan approved by the supervisor (max 5 pages).

The plan should consist of: abstract, background, aims and hypotheses, significance, how will the plan be carried out in practice, research environment, timetable and funding plan.

By attaching the research plan to the application form the applicant gives permission for checking the research plan with Turnitin Originality Check (system for electrical plagiarism detection).

The research plan should follow the guidelines for the responsible conduct of research (see Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) | Finnish National Board on Research Integrity TENK). The research plans can be checked with the Turnitin OriginalityCheck plagiarism detection software. The use of artificial intelligence (AI) to assist in the preparation of the research plan should be clearly indicated in the research plan.

4. Supervision and study plan - the Faculty of Medicine form: Supervision and study plan - fill in electronically, print, sign together with the supervisor/-s and the head of subject and scan as an attachment (a mandatory attachment in the Faculty of Medicine)

See: Subjects in doctoral training and heads of doctoral subject

Note! Industrial PhD Track (iPhD) applicants of Medical Faculty attach filled iPhD supervision plan to the application as an attachment as instructed in the application form!

5. A university degree certificate, if applicant has attained the higher university degree somewhere else than in the University of Turku and in addition, a transcript of studies if the degree has been completed outside Finland.

Those applicants who have been granted the right to study and who have completed their studies at a University abroad have to submit officially certified copies of the degree certificates, other educational documents and the official translations of the documents to the University of Turku according to the instructions given in the admission notification. If the admitted applicant does not submit the degree documents in time as indicated in the admission notification, they shall forfeit the study place.

6. Verification of language proficiency

The University of Turku follows the Rector’s decision (15 Aug 2019) on the means of verifying one’s language proficiency. See the language requirements on the web page of the university’s graduate school.

If applicant has to pass a language test, the copy of the language test result must be attached to the application

7. Copy of a valid passport

Attach a copy of your valid passport or official identification card with photo and information on citizenship. If you have a Finnish personal identity code and you have entered it on the application form, you do not need to attach a copy of your passport.

8. The supervisor’s justified plea for approval of only one supervisor when only one supervisor for doctoral training is proposed. See Before applying / Doctoral training at the Faculty of Medicine under section Supervision.

If applying for the right to study for a doctoral degree at the Faculty of Science or the Faculty of Science, the required attachments may vary from the above-mentioned. Please check and follow the instructions of the faculty in question.

At the Faculty of Science and the Faculty of Technology

The application should include the following:

1. Motivation letter (why do you wish to perform doctoral studies in this doctoral programme)

2. CV of the applicant, including a list of publications when applicable (it is mandatory to use attached CV model)

3. Structured research plan approved by the supervisor (max 5 pages).

The plan should consist of: abstract, background, aims and hypotheses, significance, how will the plan be carried out in practice, research environment, timetable and funding plan.

By attaching the research plan to the application form the applicant gives permission for checking the research plan with Turnitin OriginalityCheck (system for electrical plagiarism detection) in accordance with the University of Turku quality assurance system.

The research plan should follow the guidelines for the responsible conduct of research (see Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) | Finnish National Board on Research Integrity TENK). 

The use of artificial intelligence (AI) to assist in the preparation of the research plan should be clearly indicated in the research plan.

4. Supervision plan

Use this Supervision plan at Faculty of Science and

this Supervision plan at Faculty of Technology

At the Faculty of Science or the Faculty of Technology the applicants to the iPhD track add to Supervision plan to the place for "Other things agreed" that they apply to iPhD track.

5. Degree certificates and transcripts of study records

A. If the applicant has completed the former degree(s), which make them eligible for doctoral studies at a university in Finland, the degree certificates, the transcripts of study records and other educational documents, which may be of relevance in the student selection must be attached to the electronic application form.

B. If the applicant has completed the former degree(s), which make him/her eligible for doctoral studies at a university abroad (i.e. outside Finland), they must attach the following items to the electronic application form:
• scanned original degree certificates (in the same language as the degree was completed in)
• scanned original transcripts of study records (in the same language as the degree was completed in)
• scanned other original educational documents which may be of relevance in the student selection
• If the original degree certificates and other educational documents are not written in English, Finnish or Swedish, official translations to one of these languages must also be submitted. An official translation here refers to a translation of the educational documents issued by the awarding institution or a translation made by an authorized translator. A transcript in English can be replaced by a Diploma Supplement awarded by a European educational institution if it contains the information about completed courses and other study attainments.

If needed - please see the instructions: Degree giving the eligibility

6. Verification of language proficiency

The University of Turku follows the Rector’s decision (15 Aug 2019) on the means of verifying one’s language proficiency. See the language requirements on the webpage of the university’s graduate school.

• If the applicant is required to prove their language proficiency with a language test, a scanned certificate of a completed language test must be attached to the application

7. Copy of a valid passport

Attach a copy of your valid passport or official identification card with photo and information on citizenship. If you have a Finnish personal identity code and you have entered it on the application form, you do not need to attach a copy of your passport.

Assessment of applications and decision and appeal for rectification

Assessment of applications

The Steering Committee of the doctoral programme will assess the applications with the help of outside experts, when needed. The applicant’s motivation, merits, previous studies, and the ability to complete a doctoral degree, as well as the quality and feasibility of the research plan (drug research) and supervisor and financial arrangements are taken into consideration when selecting doctoral researchers. Selection process is stepwise and applicants will be invited to interview after preliminary selection. The invitation will be sent by email. Interview will be evaluated together with the preliminary assessment of the application for final decision. Research proposals may be checked before the selection with the Turnitin OriginalityCheck plagiarism detection software in accordance with the University of Turku quality assurance system. 

Assessment criteria

•    Research plan: Innovativeness and implementation (1-5)
•    CV and motivation letter: Progress of research training, content of formal postgraduate training (in the area of the research and growth as a drug research professional), merits (awards and own funding), completion plan of the dissertation, future career plans (1-5)
•    Supervision arrangements: Competence of supervisors in the field of the research, merits and activity as doctoral supervisor (including active participation in DRDP activities and organizing postgraduate courses) (1-3)
•    Field of research: Relevant research topic to the DRDP (both preclinical and clinical drug research and development or supporting diagnostics), supporting research environment for the implementation of the research plan and for the development of the drug research professional (1-3)                
•    Interview: Logical and realistic presentation of research and completion plan, language and presentation skills, expertise and proficiency in discussion, motivation and commitment (1-5)


Decisions

The Dean of the Faculty of Medicine or Faculty of Science or Faculty of Technology decides on granting the right to study for a doctoral degree (1 August 2024 onwards) based on the proposals of the steering committee of the Doctoral Programme. All applicants will be personally informed about the decisions by 12 June 2024 at the latest. An admitted applicant has to notify the University of Turku of their acceptance of the study place by 3:00 pm (local time in Finland) on 19 June 2024 according to the instructions given in the admission notification. If the admitted applicant does not give the notification by the end of the allotted period of time mentioned above, they forfeit the study place. A person admitted to more than one university or polytechnic degree programme only notifies the one educational institution at which they accept the study place. Notification, i.e. accepting a study place, is binding and may not be cancelled or changed later.

According to Finnish university legislation, a student may accept only one study place leading to a higher education degree in Finland during one academic term (autumn term 1 Aug – 31 Dec or spring term 1 Jan – 31 Jul). This rule applies to all higher education, i.e. Bachelor and Master level degrees awarded by Finnish universities of applied sciences, Bachelor and Master degrees awarded by Finnish universities, and Licentiate and Doctoral degrees awarded by Finnish universities. This regulation is not applied to study rights received in transfer student selections, from the Åland University of Applied Sciences, from the Police University College, and from institutions of higher education outside Finland.
The applicants who have completed their prior degree in a country other than Finland and who are granted a study right in this call, need to deliver either the original degree certificates or certified copies of the original degree certificates and their translations to the University of Turku, as instructed in the admission notification, on 6 September 2024 at the latest. If the admitted applicant does not deliver the required certificates by the deadline, they forfeit the study right. Instructions on delivering certificates and country-specific requirements.

Appeal for rectification

If an applicant is dissatisfied with the result of the student selection (right to study for a doctoral degree), they have the right to submit an application for the rectification of the decision to the Faculty of Medicine or the Faculty of Science or Faculty of Technology within 14 days of the official publishing of the results.

Additional information

Faculty of Medicine:
Chief Academic Officer Outi Irjala    

Faculty of Science and Faculty of Technology:
Chief Academic Officer Sanna Ranto    

Additional DRDP information
DRDP director professor Ullamari Pesonen, ullamari.pesonen(at)utu.fi (iPhD)
Coordinator PhD Verna Louhivuori, drdp(at)utu.fi

DRDP UTUGS and InFLAMES funded positions 2024-2025

DRDP UTUGS 2024-2025 and InFLAMES 2024: Fixed term doctoral researcher positions 2024-2025