Developing the psychological well-being and expertise of doctoral researchers in Northern Finland

Maturing into an expert is supported by helping to develop diverse skills and strengths. In addition, the networking of doctoral researchers with companies and organizations in the region will be promoted.


Project information

Project duration


Funded by

European Structural and Investment Funds - ESF

Project coordinator

University of Oulu

Contact information

Project leader

  • Liisa Kuonanoja

Project description

This project builds an ExpertZones model that provides a structured way to support doctoral researchers' psychological well-being, career path development, and networking. The model helps doctoral researchers and other academics alike understand the various dimensions of expertise and become aware of their strengths and development needs related to their growth into a specialist in their research field.

The project establishes support groups and a well-being team at the University of Oulu to maintain doctoral researchers’ well-being. In addition, the project integrates support for career development and networking, together with related skills training, into the doctoral research process. As a result of this project, we expect an increase in the doctoral researchers' well-being and the broadening of their expertise beyond the subject of their research.

Project actions

Throughout the project, we organise various activities, such as peer group meetings, seminars, networking events and education, and courses. The topics are related to the three main themes: psychological well-being, career development and networking.

Every Oulu university doctoral researcher is welcome to join all our activities!

Ongoing and upcoming activities

Coping with difficult emotions using Buddhist practices -seminar

Do you find research work lonely? Are you under a lot of stress? Do you feel you are under pressure to keep going? Pressure to succeed? Is the competitive environment in your field or at the university stressing you out? Do you worry that you are not good enough? Or that you will never finish your research?

Please join a seminar where you will learn about Buddhist practices and teachings (such as mindfulness and meditation practices, maitri, impermanence, and letting go) which may help you cope with the stresses and difficult emotions you may face while conducting your doctoral studies. The seminar is held by Monika Luukkonen who has written a book (Buddhan hipaisu, 2020) on Buddhist practices for Finnish readers. The seminar will be held in English.

Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.”

 – Thich Nhat Hanh

Date: Thursday 16th Feb 2023 at 13.00-15.00

Mode: Hybrid: you can attend either on-campus or online

Location: AT117 (Linnanmaa Campus) and online (link provided to the registered)

Registrations: by Tue 14th Feb


Having challenges in balancing your IT use?

We are all familiar with the feeling of going on Youtube saying: "I will watch this one 5-minute video, and then get back to work", and ending up realizing 2 hours has slipped by. But when it comes to using IT, it's not just the fun things that waste our time and cause stress and anxiety, it's also not being able to use work-related software or the University changing their IT systems every 3 months (or at least it feels like that!).

Take part in our experiment where the aim is to get IT use in control and cause less stress!

Send an email to Sarthak Giri (email: first name.lastname to get more information! The experiment will be active during autumn 2022 and spring 2023

Recruitment events

Meet possible employers or collaboration partners at Career Centre's recruitment events. Introduce yourself and present your skills to let the companies know about you. 

Check regularly the Career Centre's calendar to not miss the interesting companies!

Winner's Pitch -events

Learn how to make an effective pitch!

Learn how to make an effective elevator pitch!

to share your expertise and strengths quickly and effectively
to introduce yourself for hiring companies or in networking events

You will get instructions, feedback, and get to rehearse your pitch with professionals to make it perfect

Choose the date best suited to your schedule:

  • Tue 21.2.2023 @ 14-16
  • Thu 16.3.2023 @ 14-16
  • Tue 4.4.2023 @ 14-16

Register here: 

Peer group meetings

Regular meetings on campus to chat and meet other doctoral researchers over a cup of coffee

Spring meetings schedule updated soon

No registration is required

We don't usually have a specific topic for the meetings, but the topics come naturally through the discussions. The topics can be anything from funding, challenges with supervisors, publication strategies, and current world situation to how to cope during winter or just about how each is doing.

You don't need to prepare anything or share anything you don't want to

Workshops for preparing for the work market

Improve your crucial job-hunting skills step by step by taking part in a variety of workshops. 

The workshops are held at the Linnanmaa campus and are organized several times per academic year simultaneously in English and Finnish.

You can attend the workshops best suited to your needs and schedule.

Workshop themes, times, and places as well as the registration link can be found on from Career Centre's website. By changing the language to Suomeksi you'll find the Finnish version of the workshops.

Mock Interview & Elevator Pitch

Career Centre organizes online mock interviews for students to practice their elevator pitch or job interview situation with a career coach every Wednesday and Friday from 9 to 10 online and on campus. 

What is a mock interview? A practice interview with a career counsellor will help you prepare for an actual employment interview. The focus of the interview is to practice and articulate your skills/strengths and past experiences. 

What is an elevator pitch? An elevator pitch is a brief way of introducing yourself, getting across a key point or two, and making a connection with someone. 

Read more and register at Career Centre's web page

Psychological resilience -group

Autumn 2022. Registration closed

The group will have 5 meetings at the campus facilitated and coached by work supervisor Anu Autio (Voima Valmennus Oy).  The content will be adjusted according to the group's needs. Each participant gets to create their own goals related to psychological resilience.

The coach will support and follow each participant in their progress towards their goal. Various practical methods will be used during the coaching. The group offers also peer support and functions as a safe place to discuss topics relevant to many doctoral researchers.

Project activities