University of Oulu

Two Doctoral Researcher positions for anthropology, history or archaeology

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About the employer

University of Oulu is an international science university which creates innovation for the future and knowledge through multidisciplinary research ...

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We at the University of Oulu work as part of the international science community to produce new scientific information and science-based solutions. We are committed to educate future pioneers to build a more sustainable, intelligent and humane world. Creating new, taking responsibility and succeeding together are values that build a strong foundation for all our actions. We offer a working environment where individuals can cultivate their skills, do meaningful work, and develop professionally. Our university's several specialized research and service units enable extensive and diverse development and career opportunities for experts in various fields.


We are looking to hire two highly motivated

Doctoral Researchers 

to join the University of Oulu’s Faculty of Humanities, Unit of History, Culture and Communications). The Doctoral Researchers will be based in the project “Archiving the Planet: Material Infrastructures and Ecologies of Storage in the High North” (, funded by the Eudaimonia Focus Institute. The project studies past and present agricultural practices and infrastructures in the circumpolar North. The project takes cultural perspectives on the role of circumpolar regions in local and global agricultural practices in the context of the ongoing environmental crisis that involves the concerns of sustainability, climate change and biodiversity. The project is situated within environmental humanities and specifically the disciplines of anthropology, history, heritage studies and archaeology, and is led by Professor Vesa-Pekka Herva at the University of Oulu.

The doctoral researcher positions are situated within the research programme Biodiverse Anthropocenes and the Eudaimonia Focus Institute, both of which seek to stimulate interdisciplinary thinking and collaborative science. These programmes offer a progressive, stimulating, and international working environment, with strengths across various disciplines and fields (such as environmental humanities) that seek to train excellent scholars in humanities and the social sciences.

The faculty and the research group

Located on the coast of the Gulf of Bothnia in Northern Finland with 13,800 students and 3,700 employees, the University of Oulu is one of the Nordic countries’ largest universities and a global leader in studies of Arctic environments and peoples. The research unit of History, Culture and Communications combines cutting-edge expertise of archaeology, cultural anthropology, information studies, history, and the history of science and ideas.

Overview of the positions

You will become part of a transdisciplinary project that investigates questions around seeds, plants, agricultural practices and imaginaries, and infrastructures of agriculture in relation to circumpolar regions.  This project investigates the extent to which the circumpolar and high North are becoming a new frontier for world agriculture, facilitated via the melting of permafrost and recent initiatives for preserving collections of the planet’s seeds specimen for future generations. Made up of a group of leading archaeologists, historians, and anthropologists, the project investigates the “social lives” of seeds, through analysis of contemporary and historical data (across e.g. museums, archives, doomsday vaults, and biological seed laboratories). It also considers the long-term fluctuations of agricultural practices in the circumpolar North and how material-genetic stores shape infrastructures of conservation, the socio-cultural construction of nature, and the production of global knowledge across institutions and disciplines.

Biodiverse Anthropocenes Research Programme 

The research project is associated with Biodiverse Anthropocenes Research Programme of the University of Oulu supported by the Academy of Finland PROFI6 funding (2021-2026). This innovative and transdisciplinary research initiative brings together scholars from across the social and natural sciences to collaboratively investigate the biodiversity loss currently threatening multi-species well-being and planetary sustainability, and to generate future-oriented solutions both in the Arctic and around the planet. []

Job description

We are looking for two talented and highly motivated research-oriented persons interested in the relationships between past, present and future entanglements of agriculture and the circumpolar North. More specifically, we welcome research ambitions that engage with practices, knowledges and/or imaginaries of human-plant-landscape relationships in the North in any period The focus of the specific doctoral projects is open, but could be, for example, on any of the following themes:

(1)   material cultures of agricultural practices in the circumpolar North;

(2)   colonial relationships in the context of circumpolar agricultures;

(3)   cultural meanings of plant or landscape cultivation in circumpolar regions;  

(4)   techno-scientific imaginaries or governance of human-environment relations the circumpolar North;

(5)   agricultural practices of local/Indigenous circumpolar communities;

(6)   the cultural or social politics of food security in relation to the circumpolar regions;

(7)   relations in circumpolar scientific and commercial laboratories between humans and seeds/plants.

You are very welcome to propose any research topic of relevance to the intersection of plant cultivation and its landscapes in the context of the circumpolar/high North in connection to the broader themes of sustainability, climate change, and the Anthropocene.

Northern agricultural histories and futures have become increasingly topical in the context of changing climate, biodiversity loss, and resource exploitation in the Arctic. Prof. Herva and the team have engaged with human-environmental relations in the northern world extensively and from multiple perspectives and the doctoral researchers will benefit from the team’s experience and contact networks, as well as from the Biodiverse Anthropocenes programme, and you will have a unique opportunity to produce original work within a new and dynamically growing research area.

You will be enrolled as full-time doctoral researchers at the University of Oulu and will work towards writing a doctoral thesis (either a monograph or article-based thesis, per agreement with the supervisors) which will be awarded in the discipline of either anthropology, history or archaeology. You are encouraged, where feasible, to take a transdisciplinary approach across, between and beyond different disciplines. You will carry out research work, attend doctoral courses, disseminate research results in publications and at international conferences, and complete your doctoral thesis within four years. Other duties, if of interest, may include teaching on undergraduate courses (approximately 5% of the total 1612 working hours per year), supervising Master’s theses and participating in student-related administrative tasks of the university and/or unit.

Qualification requirements

You must possess an applicable Master of Arts degree (or other applicable Master's degree) completed with very good/excellent grades in anthropology, history, archaeology, geography, social studies of science, environmental humanities, or related field in human sciences. In addition, we appreciate

  1. strong knowledge in ethnographic/qualitative methodologies or archival/museum research;
  2. very good oral and written English skills;
  3. high motivation and efficiency;
  4. good communication skills and ability to work independently and in a group.

See also the requirements for Doctoral degree studies given by the University of Oulu Graduate School (UniOGS).

What we offer

  • We offer you a world-class research environment in a multinational, high ranking research group working to solve globally significant scientific and environmental challenges.
  • We provide you with multiple opportunities to advance your career via different routes (see for details).
  • We offer you significant personnel benefits and opportunities to develop your own skills and competences.
  • You will receive a competitive salary paid monthly, which includes paid leave and an additional holiday bonus in the summer.
  • You will receive university occupational health insurance. The Finnish government also provides benefits to residents and their families, for example access to the national healthcare system and high-quality, affordable childcare and school services.

How to apply

Applications should be submitted using the online system by 16 October, 2022 at 23:59 (Finnish local time). The application should be written in English and should include the following appendices:

1)   A motivation letter (max. 1 page) summarizing your professional experience and expertise and describing why you are interested in this position. Information on personal research interests and future career plans can also be provided here.

2)   A tentative research proposal (max. 3 pages) presenting your proposed research idea, estimated timescale, relevant methodologies and theories, and how this is related to the core themes of agriculture and the high North.

3)   A writing sample (max. 10 pages) in English of your academic work (e.g. published or draft article, excerpt from your M.A. thesis, etc.)

4)   Curriculum vitae (max. 2 pages)in accordance with the guidelines of the Finnish Advisory Board on Research Integrity

5)   Certificates/Diplomas: Scanned copy of your Master and Bachelor’s diploma and transcript, officially translated to either Finnish or English (if originally in another language).

6)   Contact information of two senior/experienced researchers who may be asked to give a personal statement about you (note that these will only be requested if you are shortlisted for this position).

Only applications containing all relevant appendices and submitted through the online recruitment system will be considered. The top candidates will be invited to an on-site or remote interview. All applicants will be notified at the various stages of the selection process, including once it has been completed.


The salary of the selected doctoral researchers will be in accordance with the standard Finnish university salary system for teaching and research personnel at the level 2-4. In addition, a salary component based on personal work performance will be paid (maximum of 50% of the job-specific component). The starting gross salary will be approximately 2200-2500€ per month (before taxes).

Further information

The positions are a fixed term for a maximum of 4 years beginning on 01.01.2023 at latest and ending latest on 31.12.2026. A trial period of 6 months is applied to the positions.

For further information, please contact Professor Vesa-Pekka Herva,

About Oulu, Finland

Finland is one of the most livable countries in the world, with a high quality of life, safety, excellent education system, and competitive economy. Oulu is a Northern Nordic city known for its stunning natural surroundings, vibrant cultural life and friendly, easy-going atmosphere. Residents enjoy Finland’s high standard of living, combined with affordable housing and lower living costs compared to larger cities in the south. The greater Oulu region is home to over 200 000 people making it the largest urban centre in the Nordics and one of the fastest growing regions in northern Finland. Find out more about Oulu:

Job details

Two Doctoral Researcher positions for anthropology, history or archaeology
Pentti Kaiteran katu 1 Oulu, Finland
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University of Oulu is an international science university which creates innovation for the future and knowledge through multidisciplinary research ...

Visit the employer page