Updated on 20.6.2024.

The iCANDOC Precision Cancer Medicine (PCM) pilot is the largest Ministry of Education and Culture’s doctoral education pilots, awarded a total of 152 positions nationally. The aim of iCANDOC is to train doctorates within 3-4 years to address the acutely growing need in both the public and private health care sector. iCANDOC is based on the iCAN Digital Precision Cancer Medicine Flagship of the Research Council of Finland, with all Finnish Cancer Center FICAN regional cancer centers participating and with University of Helsinki and HUS Helsinki University Hospital as founding partners.  

The iCANDOC doctoral education pilot 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 secondment.

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

iCANDOC Curriculum

The iCANDOC curriculum will include dedicated activities by each of the universities doctoral education bodies and also a dedicated post-doctoral program to support supervision activities. There is also a possbility for secondments at possible future employers facilitated by iCANDOC partners Pharma Industry Finland, HealthTech Finland, Finnish Bioindustries, and Finnish Cancer Institute as well as all participating hospitals. Additionally, iCANDOC doctoral researchers are welcomed to our vibrant iCAN community and events.

Information on the university-specific calls

iCANDOC doctoral researchers are offered three-year fully funded positions at universities within the five regional centres of Finnish Cancer Center FICAN, supervision by world-class scientists, and a degree that will support professional development and future employment.

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

The second call for the remaining 43 positions will be open 27.8.-9.9.2024.
Please visit www.helsinki.fi/en/research/doctoral-school/doctoral-education-pilot/pilot-profiles/doctoral-education-pilot-precision-cancer-medicine for updates.
See also UH iCANDOC FAQ.

Contact: Prof. Tomi Mäkelä

Calls for five positions: three at the Faculty of Medicine and two at the Faculty of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine, open in Autumn 2024. 
Please see www.oulu.fi/en/research/graduate-school/doctoral-education-pilot for updates.

Senior Research Fellow Jussi Koivunen (Faculty of Medicine)
Senior Researcher Fellow Ritva Heljasvaara (Faculty of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine)

University of Turku 

A call for ten doctoral researchers opens in early Autumn 2024.
Please see sites.utu.fi/tohtorikoulutuspilotti/en/ican-digital-precision-cancer-medicine-flagship/ for updates.

Contact: Prof. Panu Jaakkola

Closed calls:

University of Eastern Finland

All the doctoral researchers (5) in iCANDOC pilot at UEF were selected in the spring 2024 call.

Contact: Prof. Arto Mannermaa

All the doctoral researchers (10) in iCANDOC pilot at the University of Tampere were selected in the spring 2024 call.

Contact: Prof. Matti Nykter


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:  If you received the study right for a doctoral degree (jatko-opinto-oikeus) prior to Nov 1 2023 you are not eligible to apply based on the UH instructions. However, if you have not yet received this right yet or received it after Nov 1, 2023 you are eligible to apply.  This also holds for other medical/dental/psychology/logopedics students who at UH can apply for study right for a doctoral degree during their basic studies. (UPDATED April 18, 2024)

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 was created based on the questions you send us to icandoc-info@helsinki.fi during the first call at UH.


We are happy to assist you with any questions on the national programme at icandoc-info@helsinki.fi