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Funding for doctoral research projects

Essential to the quality of the doctorate research project

Finding funding for a doctoral research project is the responsibility of the project leader and research unit director. Funding for a doctoral research project must include:

• remuneration for the doctoral candidate

• the resources needed to complete the research work until the thesis defense.

At UPMC, all doctoral research projects must be funded. 

  1. Doctoral candidate remuneration
    1. The difference between a funder and an employer
    2. The doctoral contract: a legal framework
    3. Research Training in Industry Convention (CIFRE)
    4. Recipients of French or foreign government grants
  2. Funding of the doctoral project environment

Doctoral candidate remuneration

At UPMC, all doctoral candidates are remunerated specifically for their research work. The minimum mandatory monthly salary is 1,370 euros net, for the entire duration of the doctorate.

The difference between a funder and an employer

The funder is the entity that provides the funding needed to remunerate the doctoral candidate.

Examples: a national government, regional authority, French or European research funding agencies, associations or foundations, companies, etc.

The employer is the institution that receives the funding and signs an employment contract with the doctoral candidate.

Examples: universities, research agencies, companies, etc. 

The doctoral contract: a legal framework

The legal framework for the recruitment of doctoral candidates in public institutions is the doctoral contract. It guarantees a three-year fixed employment contract (under public law) and a nationally-determined minimum salary. It allows higher education institutions and public research agencies to recruit all doctoral candidates under a single status, regardless of the source of funding.

Contract doctoral candidates benefit from most of the provisions applicable to contract civil servants, including those concerning leave, workplace injuries, training, termination and resignation rules, and recognition within their institution. They also receive a two-month probationary period (at UPMC).

The doctoral contract provides the option of dedicating 1/6 of a candidate's working time to a doctoral mission (teaching, consulting for a company or local authority, commercialising research or disseminating scientific information). The doctoral contract is governed by the Decree of 23 April 2009.

→ Read more about the UPMC doctoral contract recruitment process here (only in french)

Research Training in Industry Convention (CIFRE)

Companies do not have access to the legal framework of the doctoral contract. However, they can still recruit doctoral candidates, particularly through a government-subsidised mechanism called the Research Training in Industry Convention (CIFRE).

A CIFRE has three partners: a company (may also be an association or regional authority), a doctoral candidate recruited for a three-year period, and an academic research laboratory affiliated with a doctoral school.

The doctoral research project is defined jointly by the company and the research unit. The company recruits the doctoral candidate with a fixed three-year employment contract or a permanent contract (under private law). It receives a government subsidy – approximately 70% of the candidate's gross salary, excluding employer contributions – paid by the Association Nationale de Recherche Technique (ANRT). 

The university and the company sign a collaboration agreement, which defines both partners' rights and responsibilities, particularly concerning any results that are obtained (confidentiality, publications, intellectual property and exploitation of research results). The doctoral project is jointly supervised by the company and the laboratory.

"CIFRE Doctorate at UPMC" practical guide for research units and doctoral project leaders (only in french)

→ ANRTwebsite

Recipients of French or foreign government grants

Some funders, particularly those outside France, do not remit funds to higher education and research institutions and therefore directly fund doctoral candidates in the form of grants.

If the total amount of such grants is less than the minimum required at UPMC, the research unit is asked to make up the difference through special assistance for doctoral candidates receiving grants (ASDB).

→ Read more about special assistance for doctoral candidates receiving grants (ASDB) here

Funding of the doctoral project environment

At UPMC, all doctoral candidates become full-fledged members of a research unit.

They are given a workspace and a computer and have access to the university's software programmes and library resources.

When designing a doctoral research project, project sponsors must also define the human, financial and technical resources needed to conduct the scientific project, including:

  • Experimental equipment, special software
  • Access to shared scientific platforms or large scientific equipment
  • Doctoral candidate travel expenses for conferences, field missions, etc.
  • Thesis defense organisation costs


Traductions :

Key doctorate statistics

  • 16 doctoral schools across 4 areas
  • 3,000 doctoral candidates (98% funded)
  • Over 750 theses defended every year
  • Duration of a doctoral project: 41 months