Baltic Marine Environment
Protection Commission

Vacancy in the HELCOM Secretariat: Project Researcher on strengthening the HELCOM framework for hazardous substances

The Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission – Helsinki Commission (HELCOM) is an intergovernmental organization (Denmark, Estonia, the European Union, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russia and Sweden) with its headquarters (Secretariat) in Helsinki, Finland, working to protect the marine environment of the Baltic Sea. At present, we are around 30 staff members at the HELCOM Secretariat, and our working language is English. We offer an open, friendly, dynamic and energetic, often fast-paced, international working environment offering all staff members the opportunity to make a meaningful contribution to achieving our common goals. For more information about HELCOM, please visit our home page:

We are currently seeking to recruit an enthusiastic expert to strengthen our team as a Project Researcher in the field of hazardous substances (marine/aquatic/environmental contaminants).

Strengthening the HELCOM framework for hazardous substances project

The recent update of the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan (BSAP 2021) and preparatory work leading up to this have identified the need for the development of a well-defined and functional strategic framework for addressing hazardous substances in HELCOM (i.e. for the Baltic Sea region). The main focus (or final outcome) of the project is to develop a document that represents a strategic holistic approach to manage hazardous substances (with an action plan). To achieve this final aim a number of preparatory steps are needed to build on previously carried out work and identified gaps.

The work builds on previous processes within HELCOM, including the following:


The Project Researcher’s task is to carry out the preparatory work needed and subsequently develop a strategic framework for addressing hazardous substances in the Baltic Sea (HELCOM) region. The activities include:

  • Developing an initial proposal/work plan for the tasks to be carried out;
  • Taking guidance from the relevant regional Experts within the EGs and WGs;
  • Carrying out relevant review and preparatory steps, e.g. taking stock of current status quo in HELCOM, identifying links and overlap and addressing gaps between relevant policy initiatives, and reviewing priority substances;
  • Drafting the document that represents a strategic holistic approach to manage hazardous substances (with an action plan);
  • Supporting other associated processes as considered needed by relevant Secretariat staff.

The tasks are expected to be carried out independently. However, the Project Researcher will cooperate with the HELCOM staff involved, who will provide comments and general guidance on the overall HELCOM framework. The HELCOM Expert Group on Hazardous Substances (EG HAZ), in particular the recently formed sub-team focussing on the strategic approach, will support and guide the work. EG HAZ is an international network of regional experts that works to enhance regional collaboration and serves as a platform for information exchange. The work carried out in the project will also be reviewed and guided by relevant HELCOM Working Groups (WGs) and presented for adoption to the Heads of Delegation (HODs) at a final stage.

The Project Researcher is responsible for reporting and communicating of project work and outcomes to relevant HELCOM groups. In addition, the person may be requested to work in other processes and projects related to the same topics/field.

Qualifications and experience

The tasks require a background in environmental chemistry, managing hazardous substances /environmental contaminants, or a corresponding field. Previous expertise and knowledge related to environmental policy (e.g. the Baltic Sea Action Plan, related HELCOM Recommendations, Marine Strategy Framework Directive, Water Framework Directive, REACH, Industrial Emissions Directive, or the Stockholm Convention), national action plans and measures to address contaminants in the marine environment, marine biology and interdisciplinary work are also a significant benefit.

The successful candidate shall have:

  • University degree (minimum Master’s degree or equivalent) in environmental chemistry or other related field (e.g. environmental policy);
  • Minimum of two years of relevant professional experience at the national or international level;
  • Familiarity and experience in several of the following:
    • Environmental chemistry
    • Marine/aquatic pollution/contamination
    • Environmental/marine policy at the national or international level
    • Interdisciplinary work
  • Excellent organizational and administrative skills and proven ability to deliver to tight timelines;
  • Ability to work independently, take responsibility and initiative;
  • Excellent social and team skills;
  • Thorough knowledge of the English language as well as high competence in IT skills;
  • Experience from working in multinational projects.

Experience in the following work will be considered an asset:

  • Projects related to the marine environment/Baltic Sea;
  • Management of contaminants/hazardous substances;
  • National or international management of hazardous substances;
  • Experience of international cooperation;
  • Policy implementation experience.

Terms of appointment

The appointment is planned to be full time, starting in September 2022 or early October and for a duration of 18 months. The monthly salary is 2.800 € per month. Please note, that the HELCOM salaries are exempt from Finnish income tax.

How to apply?

Candidates with the required expertise and qualifications are invited to submit their application (consisting of a CV and a motivation letter) via e-mail to no later than 21 August 2022. Please write “Project Researcher HAZ strategic” in the subject field of the message. Interviews are tentatively planned to take place at the Secretariat on 1 September 2022.