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Aalto University encourages doctoral candidates to spend at least a six months period abroad during their studies. International scientific interaction is an integral part of doctoral studies and research. The mobility furthers the career development of researchers and teachers. A visit to a university or research institute abroad often allows you to share expertise and knowledge, to innovate, to broaden your international networks and enhance your expertise.

Being active and making use of existing personal contacts lays a solid foundation for a successful researcher or teacher visit. When planning, you should take into consideration all the necessary practical arrangements and schedules as well as the wishes and needs of the host university. Starting the preparations well in advance is particularly important if they lack personal contacts to possible host universities. In these cases, having initiative is essential when seeking a suitable host university and funding for the exchange

International research and study periods of doctoral candidates are usually best accomplished with the help of the university professors, who have got personal contacts with universities and research institutes abroad. Doctoral candidates are advised to contact their supervising professor and department to find out, which university would be of most use to their studies and research. Aalto University also has a few international agreements on student mobility that allow Aalto doctoral candidates to seek researcher positions in universities abroad.

Aalto University supports its researchers, doctoral students and teachers in the establishment and maintenance of international contacts, for instance, by awarding travel and subsistence grants. The research support services of Aalto University provides support in EU projects and in financial and contractual issues connected to other European research projects.

Doctoral students in the field of ICT may apply to EIT Digital in which it is possible to do a six months’ researcher exchange. EIT Digital Innovation and entrepreneurship (I&E) program for doctoral students in the field of ICT gives knowledge and competences to start new businesses and to launch new products and services. The program is composed of four intensive courses, six months’ researcher exchange and six months’ business development experience. All doctoral students accepted to Aalto University or University of Helsinki that are in the starting phase of their studies can apply. Please contact your supervising professor to enquire if the courses could be part of your doctoral studies. More information from the Doctoral Training Center Helsinki  -webpage and local program representatives.

A few tips for those planning an exchange abroad:

  • start the preparations well in advance, reserve about one year for the preparatory phase
  • discuss with your supervising professor  to agree on the suitable time to go abroad
  • find a suitable host university and a contact person there (a potential instructor for your research) – being active helps you to establish contacts
  • agree on the time of the visit/exchange
  • define your funding needs – start by applying for funding awarded by Aalto or other organisations
  • look into the necessary practical and travel arrangements

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