Faculty of Education and Psychology, Teachers, Teaching and Educational Communities

The University of Oulu is one of the biggest and most multidisciplinary universities in Finland. We create new knowledge and innovations that help to solve global challenges. We offer you an international and inspiring working environment where you are given responsibility and can use your skills, develop yourself and do work that matters. Our flexible and family-friendly workplace makes it easy for you to balance work and leisure. The University of Oulu is ranked in the top 3% of the world´s universities.

We are now looking for

A Doctoral Researcher

to join us in the Research unit Teachers, Teaching and Educational Communities (TTEC) at the Faculty of Education and Psychology

TTEC is a large research unit that contributes to theoretical, methodological, and pedagogical advances impacting on the educational policies and practices, advances in teacher education, development of educational practices and educators’ and children’s well-being in collaboration with practitioners.

About the job  

The appointment is for an Academy Project funded by the Academy of Finland (2023-2027) entitled:

Small Matters: an Educational Community project about Death and Dying

The project’s abstract:

The project’s scientific relevance is that smallness as a concept will reconfigure who and what the human is. It brings together in intra-generational educational encounters, small matters that are usually invisible and excluded from conversations about death and dying in public spaces (young children, SARS-CoV-2, small animals, the digital, microbes etc.). Listening to their stories in philosophical enquiries matters, because it will change how humans relate to themselves, others and the environment. The Small Matters project explores experiences of death and dying at different scales (e.g., micro) together with children from a local university primary school and their extended families. Research methods include the community of philosophical enquiry of Philosophy for Children, the arts-based Reggio Emilia approach and material interviews. Participants take field trips to roadkill sites and other pop-up educational events, aided by educational technologies (AR and VR). Human and nonhuman community members will produce, display, engage with, and research collaboratively co-created stories and large artefacts in public community spaces such as museums, exhibitions, libraries, schools, and parks.  

Climate change, COVID-19 and the Ukraine war have left people feeling isolated, frustrated, overwhelmed, afraid and insecure. Death and dying have become more real for children in Finland who previously haven’t faced these kinds of threats. Death, dying and dangerous illness have become more visual in profoundly disturbing and surreal ways and significantly impacted communities. Many in Europe felt protected by their established political systems and developed economies, now struggle with a profound existential crisis. The environmental threats, the war and the small SARS-CoV-2 virus have left tangible material traces presenting formal and informal educators with the urgent challenge to investigate what appropriate educational responses might be: when and how to engage children with matters such as death and dying?  Discourses about death and dying are dominated by scientific facts (biology, medicine) or people’s feelings, stress and insecurity (psychology, psychiatry). Educational responses tend to be either avoidance or are prescriptive and moralising. But these practices position children as vulnerable, fragile and incapable of engaging as equal partners in philosophical dialogue. They leave the more-than-human out of the picture altogether. This project provides rare opportunities for existential intra-generational conversations in public spaces as a form of listening to children and other small matters as political agents that matter. 

In the Small Matters project your responsibilities as a Doctoral Researcher will be to do:

  • Field work with the other researchers (e.g., co-facilitate philosophical enquiries with seven year olds, take them on walking trips, co-create video clips, do family visits, organise school and public screening events, evaluate a specially designed teacher education resource in UOULU courses)
  • Assisting in general administration, incl. managing transcribers and translators, organizing events and making travel arrangements for international researchers
  • Assisting in data storage management
  • Assisting in marketing and communication, esp. the setting up of and management of Social Media (e.g. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter)
  • Independent doctoral research as part of the project

 You will also be part of the multidisciplinary research group Living Relations.

What we offer?

  • The support of an experienced and enthusiastic team of people involved in teacher education, childhood studies, philosophy of education, film studies and multispecies studies. You will also have training opportunities in philosophy with children, choreographing video and audio clips and develop your insights and skills in conducting postqualitative data analysis and research writing. Furthermore, the project will help you deepen your understanding of posthumanist pedagogies and philosophies.
  • Wellness benefit ePassi covering sport, culture and well-being. Read more about other staff benefits.
  • Development and career opportunities at the UOULU.
  • Work that matters and a workplace that promotes flexibility and work-life balance. Read more about working with us.

Who are you?

In order to succeed and enjoy the position, we expect from you: 

  • At least a Masters degree or equivalent in a relevant discipline, e.g., philosophy, education, creative arts, film studies
  • A study right approved for doctoral studies, which must, generally, be valid at the beginning of the employment relationship or at the latest during the probationary period. Read about the education requirements for Doctoral degree studies given by the University of Oulu graduate school, UniOGS.
  • Experience in working with children and families
  • Fluency in written and spoken Finnish
  • Competency in written and spoken English
  • Strong digital literacy
  • Sound communication and marketing skills

We also appreciate if you have experience in or a willingness to commit yourself to training in

  • Conducting philosophical enquiries with children and/or adults
  • Creative methodologies
  • Teaching experience


The position is fixed-term and part time (65-75%) for 4 years as of 01.09.2023 or as soon as possible thereafter until 31.08.2027. 

The salary will be based on the levels 2-4 of the demand level chart for teaching and research staff of Finnish universities. The appointment will be between 65-75% FTE. In addition, a salary component based on personal work performance will be paid (maximum of 50% of the job-specific component).  A trial period of 6 months is applied to the position.

How to apply?

Interested? If yes, please apply by 07.08.2023 (23:59 Finnish local time) through our recruitment system.

The application should be written in English and include the following:

  1. Cover letter
  2. CV

The eligible applicants fitting best in the profile expected for the position will be invited to an on-site or remote interview on 16 August 2023. All applicants will be notified during the selection process.

We welcome applicants from different backgrounds, such as people of different ages, different genders and members of different language, cultural or minority groups. 

Contact Information

If you have any further questions, please contact Karin.murris@oulu.fi (before 15 July and after 2 August).


Type of employment Temporary position
Contract type Part-time
First day of employment 2023-09-01
Salary Level 2-4 of the demand level chart for teaching and research staff of Finnish universities
Number of positions 1
Full-time equivalent 65-75%
City Oulu
County Pohjois-Pohjanmaa
Country Finland
Reference number 2023/303
  • Karin Saskia Murris, +358503428963
Published 29.Jun.2023
Last application date 07.Aug.2023

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