Note: some information are specific to the ED62 of AMU.

As we presented here, to register to the Doctoral School ED 62 for the first time, the doctoral candidate has to be funded for at least 3 years, usually through a full-time work contract.

Please note some important information. First, a PhD cannot be completed in 3 years if the candidate is not full-time on his/her research project. An exception is the side-missions of 64 hours maximum each year allowed by the doctoral contract. Therefore, being not conceivable to have another job in parallel, the doctoral candidates have to be payed for their work.

Second, any work must be done under a work contract, either of public law or private law. “Public law” or “private law” means your are employed by a public institution (university, CNRS…) or a by a private organism (company, association…). The contract is the basis of working rights, such as social security (unemployment, retirement, sickness…) of course, but also, for example, to go to holiday, to be payed for your transportation or just not to be enslaved.

Finally, there are no excuses to not complete a PhD in 3 year, even if your field has “specific constraints”. This is the responsibility of the supervisor to ensure the doctoral candidate is allowed to defend at end of the contract. In no way doctoral candidate should be pronounced as responsible for this kind of issues. Indeed, this is the supervisors job to properly guide their candidates and anticipate “dead ends”. The doctoral school is also flexible enough to allow the defenses.

This first lesson on the PhD law being done, we give you a non-exhaustive list of funding sources you can get for a complete 3-year PhD. Remember, in all cases, the supervisor is fully in charge of getting the funding and planning the research project.

  • From the Research Minister: the Doctoral School organizes a competitive exam every year in June that allows local and external Master 2 students to get a doctoral contract (“concours de l’Ecole Doctorale”). This contract is awarded on merit after a defense in front of a jury. It is mainly based on the ranking over the year of Master 2 as well as the grade of the defense. Contact your future supervisor as soon as possible to prepare the exam. See the Doctoral School website.
  • From the ANR (Agence National de la Recherche) or the ERC (European Research Council): researchers prepare heavy applications to obtain a big grant for their research project. This project can plan to recruit a doctoral candidate. If the project gets the grant, the supervisor can proceed to the recruitment.
  • From PhD programs: the Doctoral School delegates some of its missions to institutions having a “PhD program”. Coming from the US and the UK, the principle is to have doctoral candidates following mandatory conferences, activities and trainings. This is no really adapted to the French system and we could discuss their relevancy, but they have money. For the list of PhD programs, see this summary on the ED 62 website.
  • From companies: most of the time, a company can co-fund a doctoral candidate with the French government after signing a convention “CIFRE” of the ANRT. Some times, a company can fully fund a PhD with a short-term contract, or even a long-term contract (rare). In both cases, the doctoral candidate is part of a research team in a public lab and must be allowed to follow trainings, as usual, but s/he is employed by the company.
  • From the Region Sud: the Region Sud can finance doctoral contracts. The application is based on a scientific project and the funds are paid to the research laboratory.
  • From the Region/Inserm: The Region and INSERM can co-fund a PhD fellowship on the basis of a scientific project.
  • From associations or fondations (AFM, FRM, Ligue contre le cancer…): associations can finance PhD on the basis of a research project on the disease(s) supported by the association. Depending on the association, the doctoral candidate is either employed by a public institution (= doctoral candidate = public law) or directly by the association (= private law).
  • Joint fellowship (“co-tutelle”): a French and a Foreign institutions can fund together a PhD fellowship, leading to a co-supervised doctoral candidate. S/he will generally rotate between the two countries. While this seems very enjoyable, some technical problems comes along such as how to deal with administrative tasks (visa, tuition fees, degrees) or personal issues (often moving out/in).
  • From foreign countries: some foreign countries provide grants to doctoral candidates. For many of them, there is no work contract (this is “legal”) and this option should be avoided.

More information on the ED 62 website.