Funding your Ph.D. thesis

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Doctoral School of Exact Sciences and their Applications
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Funding your Ph.D. thesis

How to find your Ph.D. thesis topic

  • By getting directly in contact with the relevant Professor (list of research centres and their directors) or going directly onto the websites of the university or doctoral schools, or by approaching public research bodies or even business companies.
  • Check current job offers on specialised sites :
    L'Intelli'agence® (formerly ABG) at   / Emploi / Propositions de thèse  (jobs/Ph.D. thesis topic offers)
    - a site for the network of Doctoral Schools of Chemistry
    – the site of the European Commission
    Ph.D. in France

Funding for your doctorate degree may come from a number of different sources. Funding is generally granted to the thesis supervisor attached to a research centre whose research proposal submission has been accepted, which means that it may be worthwhile making contact with the research centre when you are seeking finance.   Selection of the Ph.D. students will then be made according to specific procedures tied to each type of funding. The quality of the candidate’s academic record and a hearing of that candidate will generally be deciding factors in the selection process.

National funding programmes

UPPA Research funding and allowances

This research funding allowance is in the form of a monthly salary paid by the University under a doctoral contract, according to the standard terms of a fixed-term contract of employment for 3 years, agreed and signed by the Ph.D. student and the President of the University. Such research allowances are allocated to the doctoral schools who, in turn, divide them out between the different research centres.   
The amount of the research allowance salary is 1,685 euros gross per month (present year figures), from which you will contribute to the national pension fund and national health insurance coverage.

Other research funding allowances

Allowances can also be funded from local authority grants, whether from Regional Councils, Departmental Councils or Urban Communities, in the form of a research project submitted by the research centre or host team, as well as annual grant funding from the National Agency for Research (ANR) and other research organisations. Such allowances are aligned to the amount of the UPPA’s research funding salary.

Funding by industrial research contract

A Ph.D. thesis can also be funded in the form of a research project agreed between the research centre and a business company or private body.
Remuneration will vary depending on the contract agreed with the partner business.

Industrial Agreements for Training by Research (CIFRE)

CIFRE agreements involve 3 partners who commit to a research project : the business company, the young postgraduate and a research centre. Such funds are tied directly to businesses or other bodies (associations, local authorities, NGOs etc.) and are managed by the National Association for Technical Research (Association nationale de la recherche technique). (

This type of funding may not allow you to have a teaching activity (e.g. supervisor, substitute teacher or tutor) in parallel with research work. You should find out from the company whether they will agree to offer you the written authorisation required by the pedagogical commissions for any teaching work. A CIFRE agreement also excludes your benefitting from the doctoral student career advice scheme on our training programme.

Ph.D. grants for Doctorates in Engineering  (BDI) from the CNRS

(for Mixed Research Units only) As part of its brief to train for and through research, the CNRS (French National Centre for Scientific Research) may accept to host Ph.D. students who wish to start a doctoral thesis after their Masters degree.
In such a case, funding comes from the CNRS (with, possibly, a regional authority, business or other body). This scheme may rule out your being able to benefit from the doctoral career advice scheme or from any teaching supervision activities.
For further information, please see:

International funding programmes

International co-supervisors

The purpose of co-supervised Ph.D. theses is to encourage mobility for French and international students coming from different scientific and cultural backgrounds, and to develop scientific cooperation between French and foreign research teams. Specific student grants are allocated by different bodies depending on the country.
Co-supervised Ph.D. students spend one half of the year in their own university and the other half in the UPPA. For this, they must register in both universities but pay registration fees only once a year in either of the two universities concerned, on condition that they pay at least one year’s registration fees to the UPPA during their three-year Ph.D. training programme.  For their Ph.D. degree to be validated, co-supervised students must respect the same regulations as UPPA doctoral students (thesis duration limit, training courses etc).

Grants from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs (MAE) and other international programmes.

There are several different programmes which are announced throughout the year in the form of calls for applications on the website of the National Bureau for Research and Validation or DRV (Direction de Recherche et de Valorisation)

Some of these programmes receive supplementary funding from the MAE by means of a CampusFrance agreement:
Before signing, it is important to find out full details of the recruiting requirements, salary and social protection coverage which can vary from one country to another.