The National Graduate School of Clinical Investigation (CLIGS) is aimed at training professional clinical scientists. The students are affiliated with research groups located at all five universities with Medical Faculties in Finland.

Research topics are related to a wide spectrum of questions related to clinical sciences. The training results in a Doctor of Medical Sciences or Dental Sciences -degree and facilitates the integration of research training and clinical specialisation. Accordingly the final outcome will be a clinical specialist with a doctoral degree after training for 6-9 years.

At least 20 study weeks of theoretical training are required for a doctoral degree. The training is comprised of modules. The student selects together with her/his supervisor those courses that optimally fit into her/his research profile. Part of the training is common for all students (such as biometrics, legal and administrative aspects of clinical research, and function of and registries within the health care system), whereas part of the training targets more specific topics including the planning and implementation of randomized clinical trials, methods for the assessment of quality of life, health economics, etc. The modules make the training more flexible. Some of the modules may be common for CLIGS students and students from other graduate schools, e.g. courses in molecular genetics and laboratory methods may well attract also students from biomedical graduate schools. Similarly common courses may be organized in collaboration with the graduate schools in clinical pharmacology and epidemiology. Graduate School organizes practical training courses, seminar series, and scientific symposia for the students. In addition, together with the other Graduate Schools it offers various types of adjunct studies. These form the curriculum the students are required to take in addition to their own research in order to defend their thesis and complete their dictoral studies.

The students prepare annual progress report that are evaluated by the director and the coordinator. In addition, CLIGS requires that each student has a thesis committee that convenes at least once a year. The thesis committee includes the student, the supervisor(s), and at least two senior members outside the research group. CLIGS is funded by Ministry of Education and Culture, and Academy of Finland.



Part of the theoretical training is implemented within the framework of specified themes. The themes have been selected in such a way that they cover essential clinical research topics and represent areas of excellence within clinical science in Finland. The vertical thematic areas comprise cardiovascular diseases including diabetes, clinical neuroscience, growth, development and reproduction, cancer, and immune-mediated diseases. These topics have several lines of intersection that can be utilized in the horizontal training activities of CLIGS. Methodological and imaging aspects as well as biostatistics and epidemiolgy are also integrated into the horizontal training of the graduate school. We also give education on transferable skills.


Specific goals and good practice of doctoral studies in CLIGS

Specific goals:

  • skills to perform clinical studies independently
  • ability to critically assess existing scientific knowledge of human diseases, their causes and therapy, and to design relevant research proposals to obtain lacking data
  • good knowledge of statistical methods and of the principles of register-based research
  • familiarity with the legislation and ethical norms regulating clinical research
  • acquaintance with the principles of clinical drug trials (GCP etc)
  • sufficient knowledge of the biological basis of the studentīs own research field and methodology (genetics, molecular biology, immunology, epidemiology etc.)
  • participation in high quality courses on relevant methodology, and national and international visits to research groups and laboratories providing essential new skills within the research field in question
  • effective oral and written communication skills
  • emphasis on the principles of scientific reasoning and logic as well as the importance of ethics
  • familiarity with intellectual property and technology transfer
  • acquaintance with science policy and funding of research

Good practices in the implementation of the training

Good practice within CLIGS:

  • supportive mentoring including well functioning thesis committee
  • continued advanced course instruction throughout the graduate curriculum and high quality seminar programs
  • implementation of measures to support the student's independence and increased responsibility for the thesis project, including annual progress reports and well organized thesis committee



Biomedicum Helsinki
Haartmaninkatu 8,
P.O. Box 700
FIN-00029 HUS
Tel. +358-9-191 25119
e-mail: vktk(at)

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