PoDoCo, i.e. Post Docs in Companies, is a collaboration platform that brings post docs and companies together. PoDoCo therefore finances joint projects between post docs and companies, the duration of which varies from one to two years. The goal is that the projects help companies find new business opportunities with the help of a post doc. Companies must be registered in Finland, but the size of the company does not matter.
The main goal of the platform is to create new business and create jobs for post docs in companies. In this way, the program, for its part, reduces the gap between the business world and academia. Funding for the PoDoCo program comes from participating companies as well as the Antti Wihuri Foundation, Maa- ja vesitekniikan tuki ry, Svenska kulturfonden, Svenska litteratursällskapet i Finland, Technology Promotion Foundation, KAUTE Foundation, Liikesivistysrahasto, Maj and Tor Nessling Foundation and Paulo Foundation. They invest a total of around 800,000 euros in the program each year. This makes it possible to award approximately 25 full-year scholarships each year.
For all post docs who are about to graduate in 6-9 months or have graduated four years ago. Attention! If you are a soon-to-be-graduated postdoc, you must also have a confirmation letter from your supervising professor that you will graduate on schedule. The field of science doesn’t matter, you can be from any field.
With the help of PoDoCo, new career options open up for fresh researchers and the possibility of employment improves. The doctor gets new networks and contacts, especially from the business world, and after joining, also experience from the business world. Working in companies also gives you new knowledge and different opportunities to apply your own knowledge.
The PoDoCo program started in 2015 and to date 223 PhDs have been employed by companies and 90% of them have received a job from a partner company. Through the program, therefore, there are really good opportunities to get a job after your academic career. Regardless of the industry, any company and any person who has recently completed a dissertation or is about to submit a dissertation can participate in the PoDoCo program.
How do I get started?
PoDoCo’s website has a match-making system where you can fill in your own profile and hope that the company finds you. However, you have a better chance of finding a partner company if you are active yourself. Make use of your existing networks and contact an interesting company yourself. Please note, however, that if you are already working for a company, you cannot take advantage of this financing opportunity with that company, but you should look for another company.
After finding a partner company, both sign a letter of intent and prepare a project proposal together. The letter of intent is not legally binding, but it expresses that the company and the researcher have a common will for the researcher to be employed by the company. Note! PoDoCo has its own letter of intent template, so use it and attach it to the application. After that, we apply together for a grant from PoDoCo’s application system: https://podoco.apurahat.fi/haku/UserLogin.aspx. Applications are open twice a year: in the spring from 1 March to 15 April. and in autumn 15.9.-31.10.
The post doc fills out the application in PoDoCo’s system and attaches the following attachments: Project plan (includes background, goals, impact and implementation, max. 5 pages, ready base per page), abstract, letter of intent, CV and list of publications, certificate of doctoral degree or a letter from the professor stating that the person will soon be a doctor and other possible references. Attachments must be sent when the application period is open.
How does it work in practice?
The PoDoCo program consists of two different parts, which are of the same length in time. That is, you start with a 6-12 month research period at the university and then continue with the same length extension at the company. The duration of the whole package can be 1-2 years. During the first section, academic research is carried out, which is financed by PoDoCo’s foundations, in which case the researcher is not yet employed by the company. At this stage, the research focuses on weak signals and emerging phenomena and gathers strategic information that helps companies develop a product or idea.
In the second phase, the company employs a researcher and the focus of the research shifts from foresight to insight and aims to improve the company’s long-term competitiveness. The end result is hopefully the researcher’s employment in the company.
Things to note in the application
Be on the move in time, i.e. contact the companies in time, because especially in large companies, making decisions can take time. Also tell me about the letter of intent at an early stage, because they probably need to be checked by the company’s legal department and that can take time too. Remember that the letter of intent covers both the research phase and the latter phase, when the doctor works in the company.
Tell the research plan exactly what is going to be done and how it is related to the company’s strategy. Describe how your expertise fits the case. Present the tasks and goals in both the research section and the company section. In particular, what are the results of the research phase and how will they be utilized in the second phase.
You can get help from the experts of the university’s research services:
Katja Marttunen firstname.lastname@example.org
Mathias Björklund email@example.com
Heidi-Maaria Haapala firstname.lastname@example.org