Here you can find the most frequently asked questions and answers concerning the VisitANTS programme.

Fellowship Basics

Who can I contact for administrative issues?

If you have any administrative inquiries related to your fellowship, please feel free to reach out to the ANTS coordinator responsible for the VisitANTS program. However, before contacting them, kindly ensure that your question has not already been addressed in the call for applications or the provided FAQs.

How much funding will a Visitants Fellow receive?

VisitANTS fellows will receive a stipend in the form of a grant, which is specifically designed to cover essential living expenses such as accommodation and food. Please note that travel costs are not covered separately. The monthly stipend for all scholars is set at €2,000.

How do I access my stipend? Do I need a Finnish bank account?

Stipends will be paid in Euros and can be deposited into your bank account. It is not necessary to have a Finnish bank account. Alternatively, if you prefer, stipends can be paid directly to your home university, for instance, if you intend to utilize it for teaching buyout purposes. Please note that the grant is tax-free in Finland. We recommend verifying whether the stipend is also tax-free in your home country.

What library resources, including electronic resources, will be available at the University of Oulu?

As a visiting researcher, you will be provided with a visiting researcher contract, ensuring that you are granted a UFO account and access to the university's extensive collection of library resources, including electronic materials. To learn more about our libraries, please visit the following link: University of Oulu Libraries.

Whom should I contact for academic matters?

If you have any academic inquiries concerning Biodiverse Anthropocenes or your stay, please feel free to reach out to the Biodiverse Anthropocenes coordinator. In case you are closely collaborating with multiple researchers at the University of Oulu, it may be more appropriate to directly contact them for research-related questions.

Who can assist me with English language editing?

Unfortunately, we are unable to provide English language editing services. However, there are several individuals in Oulu who offer such services for a fee. We would be delighted to connect you with some of them upon request.

Will I have access to IT facilities such as a computer, printer, scanner, etc.?

Certainly! You will be provided with a university visitor account, granting you access to intranet, email, and printing services. In case you do not have your own laptop computer, you have the option to rent one affordably from the University Services offices.

What does Biodiverse Anthropocenes expect from its fellows?

We anticipate visiting fellows to actively participate in the vibrant academic and social activities regularly organized by Biodiverse Anthropocenes and its Research Hubs. Additionally, we encourage fellows to engage in various activities organized by the University of Oulu as a whole.

How are VisitANTS fellows integrated into academic life at the University of Oulu?

VisitANTS fellows will be warmly welcomed into the ANTS community and will receive invitations to participate in all the activities organized by ANTS, including seminars, workshops, and other events planned by the ANTS Hubs for that particular year.

Is the programme called “Biodiverse Anthropocenes” or is it called “ANTS”?

Both! The program is officially recognized as Biodiverse Anthropocenes. However, colloquially, in casual conversations and often in emails, we affectionately refer to ourselves as ANTS. It is a fitting abbreviation for the unwieldy plural term Anthropocenes, and it rolls off the tongue more easily while adding a touch of fun to our interactions.

Visa and Travel

Will I need a visa?

A visa is required for entering Finland for a short-term or temporary period of residence, typically lasting up to 90 days. However, if you are a citizen of a Nordic country, an EU Member State, or a visa-free country (such as Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, USA), you will not need a visa. To determine whether citizens of your home country require a visa, please visit this page: Visa Requirement and Travel Documents Accepted by Finland. For more detailed information about visas, please visit Visa to Visit Finland.

For which type of visa should I apply?

If you are uncertain about the specific visa type you should apply for, please consult with MIGRI.

Will Biodiverse Anthropocenes help me with my visa application?

Unfortunately, we are unable to provide direct assistance with your visa application. However, we can support your application by providing a letter that confirms the duration and terms of your fellowship, as well as the grant amount you will receive. This letter can serve as supporting documentation for your visa application.

Do I need to apply for a residence permit?

For visitors who are not in an employment relationship with the University of Oulu, applying for a residence permit is not mandatory. However, if the unit prepares a hosting agreement for you, it is advisable for them to verify the validity of your visa/residence permit upon your arrival, especially if it allows you to work during your research visit.

  • Nordic Countries

Citizens of the Nordic countries (Denmark, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden) are required to register at the Digital and Population Data Services Agency to obtain a Finnish personal identity code if their stay lasts for a minimum of three months (this is a requirement of the University of Oulu). Please note that this exception to the general rule of registration only applies if the stay does not exceed six months. To register, please schedule an appointment with the Digital and Population Data Services Agency using their online reservation system.

If you are not a citizen of the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, or Switzerland, and you plan to stay in Finland for more than 90 days, you must apply for a residence permit. However, if you are a citizen of an EU/EEA country and your stay in Finland is 90 days or less, you do not need a residence permit or a visa.

  • EU/EEA Countries

EU/EEA citizens do not require a residence permit or visa, but if your stay in Finland lasts for more than three months without interruption, you need to apply for a right to reside in Finland at the Finnish Immigration Service (MIGRI) after your arrival. The calculation of the three-month residence period resets every time you return to Finland after traveling outside its borders. To start the application process, fill out an application online through MIGRI's Online Service, selecting the option "Right of residence." Please note that the option "Residence permit application for studies" is intended for non-EU citizens only.

  • Non-EU/EEA Countries

If you are a citizen of a non-EU/EEA country and your intended stay in Finland is longer than three months, you must apply for a residence permit before arriving in Finland. However, if you already hold a residence permit for another EU country, you may not need a residence permit for Finland. Instead, you may be required to submit a notification of mobility to the relevant EU country. Please verify whether your residence permit card includes a Finnish-style personal identity code, which is an 11-character number sequence based on your date of birth. If you have this code, you do not need to undergo any additional registration process with the authorities upon your arrival in Finland. You only need to submit a notification of temporary move to Finland, which can be done at most post office service points in Finland.

If your residence permit card does not contain a personal identity code, you will need to request one during the registration process at the Digital and Population Data Services Agency (DVV) after your arrival in Finland. To schedule an appointment with DVV, please use their online reservation system.

Will I need to register upon arrival?

After arriving in Finland, you will have to register with a few relevant authorities within a certain period of time, either the Digital and Population Data Services Agency or the Finnish Immigration Service, or both (depending on your citizenship).

Is there any de-registration procedure?

No, there is no de-registration procedure required when leaving Finland at the end of your stay, unlike in some other countries.

Are there any visa requirements if I need to travel in Europe? What is the “Schengen Area”?

Finland is a member of the European Union and the Schengen Area, which is a border-free zone consisting of 26 European countries allowing free and unrestricted movement of people. If you are a citizen of a non-Schengen country without a visa-free travel agreement with the Area, or if you have been denied visa-free travel, you will need a visa to enter Finland. This visa should also be valid for travel to other countries within the Schengen Area. For more information on the Schengen Area and the countries included, please refer to the Schengen Visa Info website.

How do VisitANTS Fellows get to Oulu?

Oulu is situated approximately 600km (372 miles) north of the Finnish capital, Helsinki. There are several trains operating daily between the two cities, with travel times ranging from about 5 to 9 hours. Trains are also available for travel between Oulu and other Finnish cities, including overnight options. Additionally, there are daily flights from Oulu to Helsinki, but opting for a train journey allows you to experience the beautiful Finnish countryside and contribute to the preservation of our planet.

To reach the Linnanmaa campus from the airport, you have the option of taking a taxi or using bus line 8. If you arrive by train, the bus stop is approximately 700 meters from the station. From there, you can take buses 1, 2, 3, 5, or 8 to reach the Linnanmaa campus.

Does my grant include the cost of travel?

The grant amounts which fellows receive have been calculated to include travel costs, and as a rule, we do not cover travel from/to your home country as a separate expense. However, pending funding availability, it may be possible to cover some of your travel costs if you are in need. Although we cannot cover all fellows’ travel, nor the full amount of individual tickets, we will try to assist as best we can. If you feel you still need assistance covering your travel costs to Oulu, please fill in the box labeled "extra information" in the online application form.

Insurance and tax

What kind of insurance do I need to organize? Is anything included in my fellowship?

The grant you receive is meant to cover all expenses related to your stay, including insurance. However, as VisitANTS Fellows are not University employees, they are not eligible for workplace insurance or occupational healthcare. Therefore, it is important for you to have your own insurance that covers healthcare and personal liability.

It may be possible to utilize travel insurance for this purpose, but it is crucial to verify with your insurance provider regarding its validity for the duration of your stay and the specific purpose of your travel. Please inquire about the details, such as the length of stay and the purpose of travel, to ensure that the insurance meets the necessary requirements.

Do I have to pay tax on my grant/stipend?

In Finland, grant recipients are typically exempt from paying taxes on their grants/stipends if the amount received is below a certain threshold (in 2022, the threshold is €24,475.56). For detailed information regarding taxation of grants, we recommend visiting the official page of the Finnish Tax Authority.

Life at Biodiverse Anthropocenes

Are there any reading/discussion groups in Biodiverse Anthropocenes?

Every month, we organize a series of engaging events for our academic community. These events encompass a wide range of activities, including guest lectures, workshops, collaborative writing events, and reading groups. These events are coordinated by our four thematic Research Hubs, which you can find more information about on our website.

As a VisitANTS participant, we highly encourage you to actively participate in any of these organized activities that align with your interests. It's an excellent opportunity to engage with fellow researchers, broaden your knowledge, and contribute to the intellectual discourse within our community.

Furthermore, we facilitate regular meetings exclusively for VisitANTS Fellows at the University premises. These meetings serve as a dedicated space for you to connect with other fellows, foster a sense of camaraderie, and exchange valuable insights. It's a platform where you can present and discuss your ongoing research, share recent publications or initiatives, and learn from the experiences of your peers.

Will Biodiverse Anthropocenes support or sponsor a conference that I would like to organize?

Biodiverse Anthropocenes occasionally provides support for academic events. However, due to administrative constraints, only University of Oulu staff members are eligible to apply for funding opportunities. If you have an idea for a conference, the best approach would be to collaborate with one or more University of Oulu scholars, develop a compelling proposal, and inquire about the possibility of securing funding from our program.

May I have books and luggage sent to Biodiverse Anthropocenes? What address should I use?

Please ask our coordinator so we can check if there is availability in the offices and let you know.

Will Biodiverse Anthropocenes pay for shipping my books/luggage back home?

Unfortunately, we are unable to provide financial assistance for shipping items. However, the Finnish postal system offers competitive prices for shipping goods based on either their volume or weight, depending on your desired destination. For detailed information, please refer to the Finnish Postal Authority, where you can find more guidance on shipping options and costs.

Where exactly is the University of Oulu?

The University of Oulu is located in the coastal city of Oulu, situated along the coast. It is positioned approximately halfway between Helsinki and Utsjoki, the northernmost town in Finland. VisitANTS Fellows will be based at the Linnanmaa campus, the main campus of the University, which is approximately 5 km (3 miles) north of the city center. Buses to the University run frequently, departing from the city center every 5-10 minutes.

What amenities are nearby the University?

Within walking distance of the University, you'll find a convenient selection of amenities. Prisma, a large supermarket and department store, is located nearby. There is also a pharmacy and Hesburger, a popular Finnish fast-food restaurant. If you venture a bit further, you'll discover a variety of small restaurants and a convenient small convenience store.

Can I bring my family?

You are very welcome to bring your family members during your stay. Unfortunately, we are unable to cover the costs of bringing family members.

Accommodation and Living in Oulu

Will somebody from Biodiverse Anthropocenes assist me in finding housing?

If you are accepted as a VisitANTS Fellow, you will receive an information page listing possible accommodation possibilities comprised of university rooms, guesthouses, Airbnb options and hotels. It is then up to the fellows to find accommodation that best suits them. Biodiverse Anthropocenes staff cannot assist fellows with searching for, locating, or providing information on accommodation options.

What should I consider when looking for accommodation?

When searching for accommodation, there are three main factors to consider: public transport, cycling routes, and distance to the university and city center. Fortunately, most places you will find are conveniently located within a 30-minute cycling distance or a short bus ride to both destinations. It's worth noting that home internet connections in Finland predominantly utilize mobile signals, so finding a place with a "fixed" internet connection (cable/ADSL) is not a major concern in most parts of town. If you decide to rent an unfurnished place directly (rather than subletting), organizing utilities such as electricity and water is relatively straightforward and can be done through a small number of providers.

How much does accommodation cost in Oulu?

Accommodation prices in Oulu vary. For rooms in shared flats owned by PSOAS (affordable accommodation for university students), prices usually start at around €300 per month, while standalone apartments start at around €500 per month, depending on the area. It's important to note that there are more expensive options available as well, such as apartments with scenic views of the sea or river, larger spaces, or newer buildings, which can come at a higher cost.

Which are the closest/best neighborhoods for Visitants Fellows to live in Oulu?

There are several neighborhoods in Oulu that are suitable for VisitANTS Fellows to live in, and most areas are easily accessible by bicycle or bus, ensuring that you are never too far away from amenities. The closest neighborhoods to the University, where you can have a short walk to reach the campus, are Linnanmaa and Kaijonharju. However, Biodiverse Anthropocenes scholars also reside in other nearby districts such as Alppila, Karjasilta, Kuivasranta, Pateniemi, Peltola, Rajakylä, Raksila, Syynimaa, Toivoniemi, Toppila, Välivainio, and Välkkylä. Additionally, there are various areas in the city center that offer convenient living options.

How can I go about looking for accommodation?

When searching for accommodation in Oulu, there are a few approaches you can take. While many apartments in Oulu are unfurnished, there are options available for visiting scholars who prefer furnished accommodations. One option is to explore listings on Airbnb, which offers a variety of furnished rentals. Another potential avenue is to look for sublets offered by students or faculty members of the University who may be away on visits or exchanges. These sublet arrangements can provide convenient furnished housing options.

The University of Oulu provides helpful information on their website regarding funding and accommodation options. You can visit their accommodation information page at: University of Oulu Accommodation Information. This resource can provide valuable guidance in finding suitable accommodation during your stay in Oulu.

Does the university offer any housing for visiting scholars?

The University of Oulu provides housing options for visiting scholars through its accommodation office, PSOAS. While most of the apartments and rooms offered by PSOAS are unfurnished, there are certain buildings that cater more specifically to exchange students and visitors, and these include some furnished apartments. The following buildings are recommended for those seeking furnished accommodations: Routa, Tellervontie 2A, Tirolintie 2A, Yliopistokatu 16 and 18, and Ylioppilaantie 4 UAS.

If you are interested in applying for one of these accommodation options, it is advised to directly contact PSOAS. Keep in mind that applications for PSOAS apartments typically need to be submitted four months in advance. However, there are certain exceptions where you can expedite the process by joining the Fast Lane or by checking the page with vacant apartments on the PSOAS website: PSOAS Vacant Apartments.

For further details and assistance, you can visit the PSOAS website's section dedicated to dorms for exchange students: PSOAS Dorms for Exchange Students.

Where can I buy things like furniture or everyday items?

Despite being located in the northern part of Finland, Oulu offers a range of options for purchasing furniture and everyday items. The city is equipped with shopping malls, large department stores, and second-hand shops, providing a variety of choices comparable to those found in cities like Rome, New York, or Beijing, but with a quieter and less polluted environment.

To find inexpensive home items, you can explore the Oulu Sale Point Facebook Group. Additionally, the Red Cross second-hand shop called Kontti. Another national online marketplace available, but only in Finnish, is Tori.

These resources should help you in your search for furniture and everyday items in Oulu.

Do I need special license or permission to drive my car in Finland?

To drive a car in Finland, you need a valid driving license issued by any state recognized by the Finnish government. You do not require a special license or permission as long as your driving license is valid and recognized. For detailed information regarding the validity of foreign driving licenses in Finland, you can refer to the Finnish Traffic Authority - Driving License Validity.

Can Biodiverse Anthropocenes assist me in finding daycare/schooling for my child(ren)?

We regret to inform you that Biodiverse Anthropocenes is unable to provide assistance in finding daycare or schooling for the children of fellows. However, the City of Oulu offers valuable resources and information regarding daycare and school programs. You can refer to the following links for more details:

These resources should provide you with the necessary information and guidance for arranging daycare and schooling for your child(ren) in Oulu.

Does the University of Oulu offer sports facilities, and if so, what are the costs?

The University of Oulu provides sports facilities through University Sports of Oulu (OKKL). OKKL offers access to training facilities, courses, and various other activities. As of 2023, the prices for accessing these facilities are EUR 60 for the academic year and EUR 40-43 per semester. You can find more detailed information about UniMove, the sports services offered by OKKL, on their website: UniMove - University Sports of Oulu.

Additionally, the City of Oulu also offers a range of sports facilities. For more information on these facilities, you can visit the following website: City of Oulu - Sports and Exercise.

Does the University of Oulu offer Finnish language courses and if so, how much do they cost?

The University of Oulu offers free Finnish language courses that are available throughout the year. These courses provide an opportunity for individuals to learn the basics of Finnish. One popular course offered by the University is the "Survival Finnish" course, which is designed to introduce participants to the fundamentals of the Finnish language. You can find more information about this course and other language courses on the University's course catalog website: University of Oulu - Course Catalog.

In addition to the University's offerings, the multicultural center Villa Viktor, located in downtown Oulu, also provides a variety of Finnish language classes free of charge. To learn more about the language courses available at Villa Viktor, you can visit their website: Villa Viktor - Finnish Language Courses.

Both the University of Oulu and Villa Viktor offer opportunities for individuals to learn Finnish and enhance their language skills without any associated costs.

Does Oulu have a bike share programme?

Oulu, being one of the best cycling cities in Finland, offers convenient options for biking around town. Although there is no official bike share program in Oulu, you can still rent bicycles for longer stays from various bike shops located downtown. Additionally, it is relatively easy to find individuals selling used bikes online in Oulu, with prices ranging from around €50 to €100.

For those interested in electric bicycles or electric scooters, there are several providers in Oulu. One example is Tier, which offers electric scooters for rent. You can find more information about their services on their website: Tier - Oulu.

Please note that the average price for renting an e-bike is typically structured as follows: there is an initial starting price of around €1, followed by an additional fee of €0.25 per minute.

How can learn about cultural events in Oulu?

Oulu has a vibrant cultural life. You can find more details about upcoming cultural events, including concerts, exhibitions, festivals, performances, and more, by visiting their website: MunOulu - Cultural Events in Oulu.

Last updated: 31.10.2023