Updated on 10.4.2024 with new answers in the UH iCANDOC FAQs. Links to the university-specific calls below. UH call is open now!

iCANDOC – National doctoral education pilot in precision cancer medicine

iCANDOC is a national doctoral education pilot in the area of the Research Council of Finland’s flagship project, iCAN – Digital Precision Cancer Medicine. It is funded as part of the Ministry of Education and Culture’s doctoral education pilot for 2024-2027. The goal is to develop and test a new, flexible program for 3-4 year doctorates by enhancing supervision practices and initiating doctoral studies already during an MD/Master’s program. Furthermore, the pilot aims to increase the mobility of trainees among partners and smoothen transitions to multiple career tracks. 

iCANDOC is a collaborative effort of the University of Helsinki (coordinator), University of Eastern Finland, University of Oulu, Tampere University, and University of Turku, along with HUS Helsinki University Hospital and the Wellbeing services counties of North Savo, North Ostrobothnia, Pirkanmaa, and Southwest Finland. Industry and third sector partners include Pharma Industry Finland, Healthtech Finland, Finnish Bioindustries, and Finnish Cancer Institute. iCANDOC company members will have an opportunity to to participate in PhD projects in various ways including joint research projects and having doctoral students for secondments.

iCANDOC steering group oversees execution of the pilot together with doctoral education bodies and has representation of all consortium partners.

Suitable candidates have a background for example in

  • working in an iCAN flagship-associated research group and leveraging data already gathered
  • translational, clinical or data science research
  • use of digital tools, including AI, in health

What does iCANDOC offer?

Three-year fully funded positions for 152 doctoral researchers at universities within the five regional centres of Finnish Cancer Center FICAN, supervision by world-class scientists, and a degree that will support your professional development and future employment. The starting salary is typically 2,400–2,800 €/month, depending on the appointees’ qualifications and experience, along with other employee benefits.

The doctoral pilot is integrated with the universities’ doctoral schools, offering you professional skills training. All iCANDOC activities are aimed to be open for all doctoral researchers in the five iCANDOC universities and will be presented on this webpage. Additionally, you are welcomed to our vibrant iCAN community to expand your network.

iCANDOC welcomes applications from all over the world!

Information on the university-specific calls

You will find up-to-date information on the following sites:

University of Helsinki (Call is open between 2.-22.4.2024

University of Eastern Finland (Application period ended on 2.4.2024)

University of Oulu (Call opens in autumn 2024)

University of Tampere (Application period ended on 1.4.2024)

University of Turku (Call opens in early autumn 2024)


Q1: How can I combine clinical work (e.g. residency training) with an iCANDOC position?

A1: Candidates with a medical training may be considered for these positions with flexible working arrangement, in order to enable clinical work requiring employment at the hospital and beneficial for the thesis project. Such arrangements should be detailed in the research plan part Implementation: schedule and funding plan. Arrangements may include working part-time at a hospital department e.g. for a residency (erikoislääkäritutkinto) and/or working part-time within a hospital-supported research funding. A minimum of 50%  work-time in iCANDOC at UH is required.

Q2: I’m in the MD-PhD program (tutkijalääkärlinja) and already registered as a doctoral trainee at UH. Am I eligible to apply for iCANDOC?

A2:  We recommend you apply. The details of how to combine medical studies and a doctoral researcher position in iCANDOC are still being worked out at UH. We anticipate that a model similar to that described in A1 is most likely. Possible updates will be posted here.

Q3: Is there going to be a second iCANDOC call in the fall at the University of Helsinki? It reads in the UH application instructions’ FAQs that “there may be another call in the fall if all the positions are not filled in the first call.”

A3: We strongly recommend that all who are interested in applying in iCANDOC positions starting either in August 2024 or January 2025 apply now in the first call.

The goal is that at least half of the total of 122 positions in the iCANDOC will initiate on August 1, 2024. A (possible) second call in the fall will be used for selecting remaining positions, if needed. In this case, candidates not selected in first call may reapply.  Furthermore, if there would not be enough applicants in (the possible) second call, the reserve list from the first call may be used to fill remaining positions.

For non-UH applicants: iCANDOC calls at the Universities of Turku and Oulu will open in the fall.

Q4: Can iCANDOC proposals suggest using samples and data available in the iCAN Flagship Project (currently in excess of 2500 cases)?

A4: All material and data generated as part of the iCAN Flagship Project (with 28 subprojects currently) are for the use of the single-permit iCAN Flagship Project for its duration (at least until end of 2027).  There is a possibility to suggest new subprojects to be included. Suggestions may include leveraging existing samples and data or inclusion of new indications.  New subproject proposals are evaluated by iCAN Scientific and Impact Advislory Board and decided on by the iCAN Steering Board.

Q5: Could a company visit abroad be considered as an acceptable secondment?

A5: Company secondments are strongly encouraged in the pilot. How much of iCANDOC funding will be available for such a visit/secondment is not yet clear.

This section is updated based on the questions you send us to icandoc-info@helsinki.fi


For university-specific information, please contact the respective doctoral schools. 
We are also happy to assist you with any questions on the national programme at icandoc-info@helsinki.fi