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Finding the necessary funding means that the PhD student will be remunerated during his research.

Funding is often associated with the thesis subject, but it may be necessary for the PhD student to find his own source of funding. In this case, the student will receive every assistance from his thesis director.

Applicants to the doctoral programme must justify a minimum funding equivalent of the amount of the academic doctoral contract. Funding must cover the entire duration of the thesis and without the necessary funding, no candidacy or re-inscription in the program can be considered.

Students have various sources of funding available to them. However, most are linked to an employment contract between the PhD student and the organisation funding the research. This means that the student will receive a salary, and that he and his employer will make all necessary payments to the state to ensure social security coverage of the employee.

The doctoral contract

The doctoral contract is a 3-year work contract signed by both the PhD student and a public institution of higher education and research or a public research institute. It is characterised by a remuneration fixed by French ministerial decree (2044€ gross on January 1st, 2023 or 1642€ net/month before tax deduction).
To obtain this type of contract, the school’s selection committee will examine the candidate’s application just as if in the non-academic world. For an application to be considered, it must be presented for consideration by the research facility concerned.
Within the framework of this contract, the PhD student commits to participating in the activities of the employer, whether this be an institution or a laboratory. Complementary activities may consist of teaching assignments (64 hours/year), an expert mission, an activity for disseminating "scientific and technical culture", or an activity for promoting research (32 days/year for the latter three activities).

Postulating for a doctoral contract

The CIFRE program

The CIFRE ("Industrial Agreement for Training through Research") program brings together three partners – a business, a PhD student and a research laboratory – around a shared research project. The PhD student is hired and paid by the company for a minimum duration of 3 years under a private-law contract. During this period, the student carries out full-time research work on a subject of interest to the business, the laboratory and the student. The company is subsidised by the French Ministry of Higher Education. The minimum hiring salary is set at €23,484 gross per year.

More information on the CIFRE program

Funding by research organisations

The Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region supports research projects which may include doctoral grants. Other organisations may also offer funding for certain research themes (e.g. INRA, DGA, CEA...). Calls for projects are generally sent directly to the laboratories and your thesis director can inform you about the possibility of such funding.

ATER positions

Temporary Teaching and Research Assistant (ATER) positions are sometimes offered by institutions. They are mainly open to doctoral students in the final year of their thesis (in which case the candidate must undertake to defend his or her thesis before the end of the calendar year), as well as to trainee or category A civil servants. The ATER holds a teaching position within the institution, full-time (193 hr EQ TD) or part-time (96 hr EQ TD).

More information on ATER positions

Financial aid for foreign applicants

Certain governments offer financial assistance to their citizens through the French embassy or various foundations. Applicants must contact these entities directly for information on how to apply for such aid.

If you have been awarded such a grant and would like to pursue a PhD degree at a laboratory partnered with ED SIS, you should first inform the doctoral school office.

To learn more about the financing options available to you as a foreign PhD student, consult the website of Campus France. Simply select your country of origin to access all information concerning the principal sources of funding, as well as current agreements between your native country and France.

Access the directory for the Campus France grant program