Updated: 1 October 2018

23 October 2018


Vacancy in the HELCOM Secretariat:

FanpLESStic-SEA Project Researcher


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 there are 30 staff members at the HELCOM Secretariat and the working language is English. We offer an open, friendly and energetic, at times even hectic, working environment that challenges everyone to contribute their best to our common goals. For more information about HELCOM, please visit our home page:

HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan and the Regional Action Plan on Marine Litter

HELCOM Brussels Ministerial Declaration contains a dedicated section to marine litter and circular economy (paras 29-34), where among other issues, the HELCOM members expressed their determination to combat marine litter through coordinated implementation of the Regional Marine Litter Action Plan and re-commit to preventing and reducing marine litter from land and sea-based sources and to achieving a significant quantitative reduction by 2025. Moreover, they decided to develop appropriate measures to address micro-plastics in riverine inputs, urban waste water effluents as well as storm water based on an increased knowledge on the scale of the problem.

HELCOM has started a process to update the Baltic Sea Action Plan, its major program to achieve a good environmental status of the Baltic Sea. The aim of the update is to adjust actions based on the newest scientific knowledge so that HELCOM's strategic goals and ecological objectives can be reached and relevant marine and water targets of 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development can be met in the Baltic Sea. The updated BSAP will include the existing commitments that may not be fulfilled by 2021 and also address new issues on the basis of the commitments made in the 2018 Ministerial Declaration and further deliberations during the BSAP update process. One of these new issues is marine litter.

FanpLESStic-SEA Project

HELCOM is engaged as a partner in an EU INTERREG Baltic Sea Region project (1 January 2019 – 30 June 2021) "Initiatives to remove microplastics before they enter the sea" (FanpLESStic-SEA)[1].

HELCOM is the coordinator of the activity aiming at producing a comprehensive report, based on the inputs from each partner, on existing and ongoing microplastic related research reports, initiatives and policies in each partner country, on EU level and globally. Additionally, HELCOM will be involved in the following activities:

  • -         to generate a validated data set that reflects the actual sources, pathways and recipients of microplastic pollution in the Balti Sea Region;
  • -        to organise and interpret the data gathered in the first bullet point and combine it with already existing data and knowledge (partly from the action that HELCOM is coordinating) to understand, visualise and communicate the sources, pathways and recipients of microplastics in a flow model for a hypothetical model city or region;
  • -        to identify and validate state-of-the-art microplastic removal technologies as well as developing, testing and refining new solutions (four pilots on microplastic removal and prevention methods will be conducted by other partners in the project);
  • -        to increase voluntary environmental stewardship in the Baltic Sea region with special focus on mitigating the generation and emission of microplastic pollutants to wastewater streams as well as directly to the environment.

FanpLESStic-SEA Project Researcher/Coordinator

We are currently in search of an experienced professional and enthusiastic person to strengthen our team at the international HELCOM Secretariat in Helsinki, Finland, as a project researcher/coordinator.

The appointment is planned to be full time, starting preferably on 9 January 2019 and until 30 June 2021. However, part-time employment can also be considered. The monthly salary is at minimum 2800€ per month, depending on the experience of the selected candidate. Please note, that the salaries paid by the Commission are exempt from Finnish income tax.

The tasks are expected to be carried out independently. However, the project researcher/coordinator will cooperate with the HELCOM Staff involved, who will provide comments and general guidance on the overall HELCOM framework.

The tasks require technical knowledge and understanding of policy processes. The selected candidate is expected to familiarize herself/himself with the ongoing HELCOM processes and follow those related to marine litter.


  • Be responsible for sharing information on microplastic related research reports, initiatives and policies available within the HELCOM framework with the project partners throughout the lifetime of the project. Coordinate the compilation of information on existing microplastic research and policies provided by the project partners from each partner country and subsequently draft a report on such issue;
  • Coordinate and compile expert contribution from the HELCOM Expert Network on Marine Litter, possibly through the use of questionnaires, on available information on:
  • validated data set that reflects the sources, pathways and recipients of microplastic pollution in the Baltic Sea Region;
  • mapping and illustrating of microplastic flows in the Baltic Sea Region;
  • microplastic removal technologies;
  • Synthesise the output of the task to generate a validated data set that reflects the sources, pathways and recipients of microplastic pollution in the Baltic Sea Region into policy relevant messages;
  • Contribute to the drafting of a state-of-the-art report on microplastic removal technologies and synthesise the final report into policy relevant messages;
  • Contribute to the identification of key barriers to implementation of microplastic removal technologies, policies and solutions by sharing experiences and lessons learnt e.g. through the implementation of the HELCOM Regional Action Plan on Marine Litter;
  • Support the implementation of the HELCOM Regional Action Plan on Marine Litter and project activities as appropriate;
  • Utilize the work and deliverables of the project to prepare background documents and formulate proposals on marine litter to the update of the Baltic Sea Action Plan;
  • Support Baltic Sea Action Plan update process as needed, for example by organizing reporting and synthesizing scientific and other information, analysing the status of implementation of the existing measures to improve the status of the marine environment;
  • Active participation in meeting projects, round tables and conferences as well as HELCOM meetings where the project is presented;
  • Service as liaison between the project and relevant HELCOM activities/working groups.

We expect that you:

  • Possess solid knowledge of sources and pathways of pollution to marine environment, in particular regarding microplastics, as well as knowledge of policies and technologies and practices to reduce and minimize pollution in industrial processes and wastewater treatment plants;
  • Possess knowledge of the substance areas covered by the HELCOM Regional Action Plan on Marine Litter;
  • Have a minimum of three years' professional experience from working with international organizations or processes on the topic of marine litter or related topics and have knowledge of marine policy making at global, Baltic Sea or EU levels;
  • Have a university degree in an appropriate field of study (e.g. environmental science, environmental law, environmental policy, environmental management);
  • Have strong analytical skills and the ability to structure information from multiple sources and synthesize in a suitable format;
  • Have excellent writing skills in English including the ability of editing technical/scientific texts in English;
  • Are meticulous and result orientated;
  • Are a team player and have good social skills;
  • Experience in EU co-financed projects is considered as an asset.


How to apply?

The applicants with required expertise and personal qualities are invited to submit their application (consisting of a CV and a motivation letter) via e-mail to Administrative Officer Riina Kero ( no later than 20 November 2018. Please write "FanpLESStic-SEA Project Researcher" in the subject field of the message.

[1] For additional information please see document 3-7 from the Eighth Meeting of the Working Group on Reduction of Pressures from the Baltic Sea Catchment Area.