The Forest Genomics research group at the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry is looking for a doctoral researcher to join to study conifer embryo development and associated gene expression patterns in evolutionary context.

The position is funded by the Academy of Finland project ‘Genetic determinants of embryo destiny in a polyembryonic seed – mortality, inbreeding depression and sibling rivalry in a pine nutshell’ (2022 – 2026). The project’s goal is to study polyembryony of developing seeds of Pinus sylvestris, Scots pine. The study system allows testing various evolutionary hypothesis on the existence and function of polyembryony, such as competition, compensation and embryo lethal system acting similarly to self-incompatibility.

We use this system to study developmental selection, that takes place at pre-emergent state in contrast to post-emergent (after birth or germination) natural selection. The work will be conducted in Forest Genomics research group at the Department of Forest Sciences, Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry, at the University of Helsinki, in collaboration with Natural Resources Institute Finland and University of Minnesota.

Forest Genomics research group is a part of the Centre of Excellence in Tree Biology providing ample opportunities and resources to interact and network with a large community of developmental and functional biology, genomics, ecophysiology and computational biology experts and other Doctoral and Postdoctoral researchers. The exact project goals will be adjusted based on the candidate’s skills and interests. The project includes field and laboratory work, microscopy, X-ray imaging, gene expression analysis, scientific writing and other communication and networking activities.

We are looking for an applicant with 
•    MSc or similar degree
•    Motivation to carry out postgraduate studies
•    Background and interest in plant molecular biology, physiology, developmental biology, evolutionary biology and/or genetics
•    Fluent written and verbal communication skills (in English)
•    Strong problem-solving skills
•    Ability to work both independently and as a part of a multidisciplinary research team

The University of Helsinki welcomes applicants from a variety of genders, linguistic and cultural backgrounds. The position is full time and funded for three years. There is a possibility for continuation as further funding is secured. 

The successful candidate must have a right to pursue studies leading to a doctoral degree from the Helsinki University, or this right must be successfully applied for during the trial period. Doctoral studies will be conducted in The Doctoral School of in Environmental, Food and Biological Sciences (YEB) and suitable doctoral programmes include e.g., Doctoral Programme in Sustainable Use of Renewable Natural Resources (AGFOREE) and The Doctoral Programme in Plant Sciences (DPPS). The research plan and other application material will be prepared together with the PhD supervisor(s) in the beginning of the employment period.

The doctoral student’s salary will be based on levels 2–3 of the demands level chart for teaching and research personnel in the salary system of Finnish universities. The salary will be between 2200–2500 €/month, depending on the qualifications and experience of the candidate.

A six month trial period will be applied.

Applications must have the following enclosures as a single pdf file in English:
1) Letter of motivation (max 1 page)
2) Academic CV
3) Names and e-mail addresses of two referees. 

External applicants, please submit your application using the University of Helsinki Recruitment System via the Apply Now button.

Applicants who have a username and a valid employment contract, a grant researcher’s contract or a visiting researcher’s contract at the University of Helsinki are requested to leave their application by using the employee login.

The deadline for applications is 11.9.2022 at 23:59 EEST. 

Further information on the position can be obtained from Associate Professor Tanja Pyhäjärvi (tanja.pyhajarvi (at)

If you need assistance with the recruitment portal, please contact HR Coordinator (sari.aaltonen(at) or HR Specialist Mirkka Juntunen (mirkka.juntunen(at)

The Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry offers an opportunity to work in an interdisciplinary and international research environment in the context of sustainability. The Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry is located in the Viikki campus. The mission of the faculty is to promote the sustainable use of renewable natural resources through scientific research and research-based teaching. We focus on agricultural and forest sciences, food and nutrition, microbiology, as well as on economics and management.

The Department of Forest Sciences is one of the units of the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry with a staff of about 100 persons. The Department conducts internationally recognized forest research and provides the highest-level education based on the research. The focus areas of research are forest ecology, forest resource management and forest economics, business and policy.

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