Postdoc­toral Re­searcher in Urban Hu­man-An­imal Stud­ies

Helsinki, Finland
24 Jan 2022
End of advertisement period
06 Feb 2022
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

The University of Helsinki is an international scientific community of 40, 000 students, faculty and other staff. It is one of the leading multidisciplinary research universities and ranks among the top 100 universities in the world.

Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science, HELSUS, is a cross-faculty research unit in sustainability science at the University of Helsinki. The mission of the institute is to contribute to sustainability transformations of the societies by means of interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research and education. The research focuses in particular on urban studies, consumption and production, and Global South and Arctic contexts.

The Organismal and Evolutionary Biology Programme is one of the three research programmes at the Faculty of Bio- and Environmental Biosciences. Most of its activities are centered at the Viikki campus where it comprises roughly 20 research groups which employ 40 principal investigators and 120 researchers.

Helsinki Urban Rat Project, an multidisciplinary research project, invites applications for a


in the project “Cohabitation with undesired others in urban spaces – from theory to practice” which focuses on birdfeeding in Helsinki region for a fixed term of two years, with six month trial period.

Helsinki Urban Rat Project (HURP; is an multidisciplinary research project striving to understand how rats live in urban areas and how they interact with humans. We use a multitude of approaches from disease ecology to environmental policy research. For this project, we have received funding from HELSUS to delve deeper into the apparent conflict between urban residents’ bird feeding practices and rat occurrences. Bird-feeding is a common urban activity, but it also attracts rats. Thus, bird-feeding is prohibited in many private and public spaces. The issue is topical as the anecdotal evidence points out to increasing rat population, our data shows that bird-feeding decreases and the city of Helsinki is in the process of removing bird-feeding prohibitions from certain public areas. Currently, HURP studies the reasons why people feed and do not feed birds and what kind of between-human conflicts are facilitated by presence of rats in spaces meant for birds. These more-than-human entanglements are interesting as they play out through human conflicts: suspicions and blame about rat presence linked to bird feeding lead to covert feeding of birds in forests and during the night time.

We are looking for a candidate who is able to conceive a fruitful theoretical and empirical approach to multispecies phenomena related to the bird feeding in Helsinki and execute research that has societal impact on sustainable cohabitation in urban spaces. The candidate should have completed a PhD in a relevant field, such as environmental, social, educational or sustainability science. Previous experience on field work, shown track record on publishing in international peer-reviewed journals and excellent communication skills are required. We encourage applications from recently graduated PhD holders.

The applicant is expected to integrate into HELSUS community. Furthermore, as we strive to be a truly interdisciplinary project, interaction with biologists and artists working with HURP may form a substantial part of the project and interest to interdisciplinary work is an asset. The project will also include interaction with stakeholders, such as city of Helsinki officials. Postdoctoral researcher will be located in University of Helsinki, Center campus in HELSUS premises or in Viikki campus.

The position is for 24 months starting as soon as possible. The salary of the postdoctoral researcher will be based on level 5 or 6 of the demands level chart for teaching and research personnel in the salary system of Finnish universities. In addition, the appointee will be paid a salary component based on personal performance. The starting salary of the postdoctoral researcher will be ca. 3 300–3 600 euros/month, depending on the appointees’ qualifications and experience. The University of Helsinki offers comprehensive services to its employees, including occupational health care and health insurance, sports facilities, and opportunities for professional development. The International Staff Services office ( assists employees from abroad with their transition to work and life in Finland.

Please attach the following documents to your application as a single PDF file:

  • cover letter, describing why you are the right person for this task and expectations from the future work (max. 2 pages)
  • CV (including publication list)
  • contact details of at least two references.

Application deadline is 6 February 2022.

Please submit your application using the University of Helsinki Recruitment System via the link Apply for the position. Applicants who are employees of the University of Helsinki are requested to leave their application by signing into

For further information regarding the position, please contact Dr. Tuomas Aivelo,

If you need support with the recruitment system, please contact HR Coordinator Sari Aaltonen,

The University of Helsinki welcomes applicants from a variety of genders, linguistic and cultural backgrounds, and minorities.

Due date

06.02.2022 23:59 EET