VisitANTS frequently asked Q&As
Who can I contact for administrative issues?
For administrative issues having to do with your fellowship, you may be in touch with the ANTS coordinator in charge of the VisitANTS programme. However, please first be sure that your question is not already answered in the call for applications or in these FAQs.
How much funding will a Visitants Fellow receive?
VisitANTS fellows will receive a stipend in the form of a grant that is intended to cover basic living costs (e.g., accommodation and food). Note that travel costs are not covered separately. For all scholars the amount paid is €2,000/month.
How do I access my stipend? Do I need a Finnish bank account?
Stipends can be paid in Euros into your bank account; you do not need to have a Finnish bank account. Stipends can also, if you choose, be paid directly to your home university (e.g., should you choose to use it for teaching buyout). The grant is tax-free in Finland. We would recommend you check if the stipend is 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 have a visiting researcher contract, which ensures you will have a UFO account and access to the library’s electronic resources. You can read more about our libraries here: https://www.oulu.fi/en/university/library.
Whom can I address for academic issues?
For any academic questions related to Biodiverse Anthropocenes or to your stay, you may contact the Biodiverse Anthropocenes coordinator. If you plan to be working closely with several researchers based at the University of Oulu, it may be best to reach out to them directly if you have research-related questions.
Who can help me with English language editing?
We are unfortunately unable to offer service for English language editing. However, there are a number of people in Oulu who provide such services for a fee, and we would be happy to put you in touch with some of them.
Will I have access to IT facilities such as a computer, printer, scanner, etc.?
Yes. You will be granted a university visitor account which gives you intranet, email and printing services. If you do not come with a laptop computer of your own, these can be rented affordably from the University Services offices.
What does Biodiverse Anthropocenes expect from its fellows?
Visiting fellows are expected to take part in the lively academic and social activities regularly organized by Biodivere Anthropocenes and its Research Hubs. We also encourage our fellows to participate in any number of activities arranged 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 introduced to the ANTS community and will be invited to take part in all the activities ANTS organize, such as seminars, workshops, etc. that the ANTS Hubs plans for that year.
Is the programme called “Biodiverse Anthropocenes” or is it called “ANTS”?
Both! Officially, we are Biodiverse Anthropocenes. But colloquially, at the water cooler, and often in emails, we are ANTS: it’s an apt abbreviation of the unwieldy plural Anthropocenes, it just rolls more easily off the tongue, and we think also sounds a wee bit more fun.
Visa and Travel
Will I need a visa?
A visa is a permit to enter Finland for a short-term or temporary period of residence lasting no more than 90 days. However, if you are a citizen of a Nordic country, an EU Member State or a visa-free country (e.g., Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, USA), you will not need a visa. To see whether citizens of your home country need a visa, please visit this page: https://um.fi/visa-requirement-and-travel-documents-accepted-by-finland. For more information about visas, please visit https://um.fi/visa-to-visit-finland. For which type of visa should I apply? For this purpose, please check with MIGRI, https://migri.fi/en/home.
Will Biodiverse Anthropocenes help me with my visa application?
Unfortunately, we are unable to assist you with your visa application. However, in order to support your visa application, we can provide you with a letter stating the duration and terms of your fellowship, as well as the amount you will receive as a grant.
Do I need to apply for a residence permit?
Since you are only visiting and not in an employment relationship with the University, it is not mandatory. However, if the unit prepares a hosting agreement you, it is recommended that the unit also checks his visa/residence permit after arrival that it is valid and allows him/her to work during the research visit.
If you are from the Nordic countries:
Citizens of the Nordic countries (Denmark, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden) need to be registered at the Digital and Population Data Services Agency in order to receive a Finnish personal identity code, which is compulsory to have in the event that your stay lasts a minimum of three months (this is a requirement of the University of Oulu). Please note that this makes an exception to the authoritative rule of not needing to register unless the stay exceeds six months. Please book an appointment for Digital and Population Data Services Agency in their reservation You must apply for a residence permit if you are not a citizen of EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland and you plan to stay in Finland for longer than 90 days. If you are a citizen of an EU/EEA country and you plan to stay in Finland for 90 days or less, then you do not need a residence permit or a visa.
If you are from an EU/EEA country:
Citizens of EU/EEA countries do not need a residence permit or visa, but if your stay in Finland lasts longer 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 always restarts from the moment when you return to Finland after travelling outside its borders. Start by filling out an application online in MIGRI's Online Service. Select the option “Right of residence”. Do not select the option “Residence permit application for studies” as this is for non-EU citizens only.
In your registration application, you need to have your letter of acceptance from Visitants (this will be emailed to you after you have been accepted), on which will be stated the amount of your grant – this will show that you can support yourself and that you have no need to apply for social assistance in Finland. Be sure that you have all necessary attachments for your application and bring hard copies of them with you when you visit the service point in person. You should book an appointment several weeks ahead of your arrival in the appointment system as there is often a backlog.
The personal identity number may be necessary to have, depending on your immigration status. You can receive the number by asking to be registered in the Finnish Population Information System after you register your right to reside in Finland at MIGRI. Information on EU citizens’ registrations is available at Finnish Immigration Services (https://migri.fi/en/eu-citizen).
If you are from a non-EU/EEA country:
If you are a citizen of a non-EU/EEA country, you need to apply for residence permit before arriving in Finland if you reside in Finland for longer than three months. If you have a residence permit for a stay in another EU country, you may not need a residence permit to Finland but instead you may need to submit a notification of mobility to another EU country. Check whether your residence permit card has a Finnish-style personal identity code. It is a number sequence with 11 characters, formed on the basis of your date of birth. If you have this code, you do not need to do any other registration process with the authorities after your arrival in Finland. You just need to submit a notification of move about a temporary move to Finland. You can do this by visiting most post office service points in Finland.
If your residence permit card does not include a personal identity code, you will need to request one during registration at the Digital and Population Data Services Agency after you have arrived in Finland. Please book an appointment for DVV in 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. When you leave Finland at the end of your stay, you do not need to “de-register” as 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 of the Schengen Area, a border-free zone of 26 European countries that allow free and unrestricted movement of people (for more info on which, see https://www.schengenvisainfo.com/schengen-visa-countries-list/). If you are a citizen of a non-Schengen country without a visa-free travel agreement with the Area, or if you have been refused for visa-free travel, you will need a visa to enter Finland. This should be valid for travel to the other countries in the Schengen Area.
How do VisitANTS Fellows get to Oulu? Is the travel paid for?
Oulu is located about 600km north of the Finnish capital of Helsinki. Several trains a day run between the two cities (taking between about 5 and 8 hours), as well as between Oulu and other Finnish cities, and there are also regular overnight trains. There are additionally daily flights from Oulu to Helsinki, but a train is a much better way to see the Finnish countryside and do your part to save our planet from falling apart.
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 relevant box in the online application form with the requested information.
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 any and all expenses related to your stay, including any necessary insurance. Since fellows are not University employees, they are not eligible for workplace insurance or occupational healthcare. As a VisitANTS Fellow you are required to have your own insurance which covers healthcare and personal liability. It may be possible to use travel insurance for this purpose, but to ensure this is valid for your stay, please check with your provider regarding details on length of stay, purpose of travel, etc.
Do I have to pay tax on my grant/stipend?
As a rule, grant recipients in Finland do not have to pay tax on this money if it is under a certain amount (in 2022 this amount is €24,475.56). Please see the relevant page of the Finnish Tax Authority for more information: https://www.vero.fi/en/individuals/tax-cards-and-tax-returns/income/ear….
Life at Biodiverse Anthropocenes
Are there any reading/discussion groups in Biodiverse Anthropocenes?
Every month, we host a series of regular events for our academic community, including guest lectures, workshops, collaborative writing events, and reading groups. These are run by four thematic Research Hubs (you can learn more about these on our website). VisitANTS are encouraged to take part in any of these organized activities that appeal to them.
Will Biodiverse Anthropocenes support/sponsor a conference that I would like to organize?
Biodiverse Anthropocenes can occasionally help support academic events, though for administrative reasons unfortunately only University of Oulu staff are eligible to apply for such funding opportunities. If you have an idea, the best thing you could do is to team up with a University of Oulu scholar or two, come up with a great idea, and enquire whether it is something that we might be able to help fund.
May I have books and luggage sent to Biodiverse Anthropocenes? What address should I use?
Please ask the coordinators so they 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 pay for shipments of goods. However, the Finnish postal system has decent prices for shipping items either by volume or weight, depending on the region you wish to ship to. For more information, please see the Finnish Postal Authority: https://www.posti.fi/en/customer-support/sending/prices-and-calculators…
Where exactly is the University of Oulu?
The University of Oulu is located in the winsome, seaside city of Oulu, about halfway between Helsinki and Finland’s northernmost town of Utsjoki. Visitants Fellows will be based at the Linnanmaa campus, the University’s main campus located roughly 5km (3 miles) north of the city centre. Buses to the University leave the city centre round the clock, about every 5-10 minutes.
What amenities are nearby the University?
Within walking distance of the University is a large supermarket and department store, Prisma (https://www.prisma.fi/fi/prisma/myymalat/oulu-linnanmaa), a pharmacy (https://www.linnanmaanapteekki.fi) as well as Hesburger, a Finnish fast-food restaurant (https://www.hesburger.fi/ravintolat?tid=1310). A bit further on are a few small restaurants and a 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.
Accomodation 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?
Public transport, cycling routes and distance (to the university and the city center) are three primary considerations, though most places you would find will be well within a 30-minute cycle (or quicker bus ride) to either. Home internet connections in Finland now largely use mobile signals, so for most parts of town you don’t need to worry about finding a place with a “fixed” internet (cable/ADSL) connection. If you are renting an unfurnished place outright (e.g., not subletting), utilities such as electricity and water are fairly easy to organize through a small handful of providers.
How much does accommodation cost in Oulu?
Compared to other European cities of its size, Oulu offers quite affordable accommodation options. You can typically find rooms in flat shares starting at around €300/month and stand-alone apartments starting at around €450/month. Of course, there are more expensive options: places with a view of the sea or river, or which are larger or newer, can go up significantly from there. But on the whole, accommodation in Oulu is less costly than in many university cities.
Which are the closest/best neighborhoods for Visitants Fellows to live in Oulu?
There are numerous areas in Oulu which suit visitors to the University, and as nearly everywhere is easily accessible by bicycle (or bus), you will never be more than a few minutes away from most things. The Linnanmaa and Kaijonharju areas are where the University itself is located, so these are the closest if you want a several-minute walk to the university. But Biodiverse Anthropocenes scholars also reside in the nearby districts of Alppila, Karjasilta, Kuivasranta, Pateniemi, Peltola, Rajakylä, Raksila, Syynimaa, Toivoniemi, Toppila, Välivainio and Välkkylä, as well as in any number of areas in the city center.
How can I go about looking for accommodation?
Many apartments for rent in Oulu come unfurnished, but there are a number of options that suit visiting scholars who desire to move into somewhere furnished. Airbnb is of course one option, but another potentially fruitful path is to find a flat that is being sublet by a student or faculty member of the University who is themselves somewhere else on a visit or exchange. The University has a useful information page for funding such accommodation options: https://www.oulu.fi/en/for-students/student-wellbeing-and-everyday-life/housing-oulu.
Does the university offer any housing for visiting scholars?
The University of Oulu's accommodation office, PSOAS, has a number of apartments and rooms for rent. Most of these come unfurnished, but the following buildings are more set up for exchange students and visitors as they have some furnished apartments: Routa; Tellervontie 2A; Tirolintie 2A; Yliopistokatu 16 and 18; Ylioppilaantie 4 UAS. Please be in touch directly with PSOAS if you are interested in applying for one of these accommodation options. For more information, contact https://www.psoas.fi/en/neighbourhoods/dorms-for-exchange-students/.
Where can I buy things like furniture or everyday items?
Although Oulu is located in the Northern stretches of Finland, it’s hardly in the middle of nowhere. We have shopping malls, large department stores, second-hand shops – just about anything you’d find in Rome, New York or Beijing just without the noise or pollution. A few good places to look for inexpensive home items are the Facebook Group called Oulu Sale Point (https://www.facebook.com/groups/OuluSalePoint) and the Red Cross second-hand shop called Kontti (https://sprkontti.fi/oulun-kontti).
Do I need special license or permission to drive my car in Finland?
You are allowed to drive a car if you hold a valid driving license issued by any state recognised by the Finnish government. For more information, see the pages of the Finnish Traffic Authority: https://ajokortti-info.fi/en/basic-information-about-driving-licence/va….
Can Biodiverse Anthropocenes assist me in finding daycare/schooling for my child(ren)?
Unfortunately, we do not have the capacity to help fellows in arranging logistics for their family members. However, the City of Oulu has several information pages with details about daycare and school programmes: Daycare: https://www.ouka.fi/oulu/english/daycare2. Schools: https://ouluopisto.fi/oulu/english/enrolling-in-school.
Does the University of Oulu offer sports facilities, and if so, what are the costs?
University Sports of Oulu (OKKL) offers access to training facilities, courses and other activities. As of 2022, the current prices are EUR 48 for the academic year and EUR 28-31 per semester. For more info see: https://www.oulunkorkeakoululiikunta.fi/en/info. The City of Oulu also has a number of sports facilities, for more info on which please see: https://www.ouka.fi/oulu/english/sports-and-exercise.
Does the University of Oulu offer Finnish language courses and if so, how much do they cost?
The University offers free Finnish language courses throughout the year. One popular course offered by the University is the low intensity “Survival Finnish” course, which is a good intro to the basics of Finnish. See here for more information:
https://opas.peppi.oulu.fi/en/programme/17903. The multicultural center Villa Viktor, located downtown, also offers a range of Finnish language classes at no cost. Check out their pages for more info: https://www.ouka.fi/oulu/villavictor-english/finnish-language-courses.
Does Oulu have a bike share programme?
Oulu is one of the best cycling cities in Finland: around one-in-five of all trips made in Oulu are by bike and we have some 600km of cycling lanes for getting around town conveniently. While there is no official bike share programme, it is possible to rent a bicycle for a longer stay at several bike shops downtown. It is also quite easy to find someone online selling a decent used bike in Oulu for around €50-€100.