It is the responsibility of those entities recruiting PhD students to seek or provide for the students’ remuneration.
Principal types of funding
The institutional doctoral contract
The doctoral contract is a work contract created by the French Ministry of Research and Higher Education. This 3-year, fixed-duration contract allows PhD students to fully dedicate themselves to their research work for the preparation of their doctoral thesis.
The regions of Brittany and Pays de la Loire allocate doctoral research grants meant to cover the costs of employing PhD students.
CIFRE Industrial Agreements for Training through Research
The CIFRE programme allows PhD students attached to a research laboratory to pursue their thesis while being paid by an entity other than the university: a private company, a public institution, an association, etc.
CIFRE agreements bring together, around a doctoral research project, three different partners: an entity (company, territorial authority or association), a PhD student and a laboratory.
These agreements are destined for private or public institutions (excluding universities) that agree to entrust to a PhD student research work in close conjunction with an outside research laboratory. The funding institution signs a work contract (either open-ended or for a fixed duration of 3 years) and pays the young CIFRE beneficiary an annual salary of at least €23,484.
For more information on CIFRE agreements, consult the ANRT (National Association of Technological Research) website. Doctoral students covered by a CIFRE agreement can register at any time during the academic year.
Funding by the European Commission
A researcher can propose to prepare a doctorate within the framework of funding obtained from the European Union.
Foreign governments can provide funding for their nationals studying in France within the framework of international cooperation, university exchange programmes, etc.
Other sources of funding
Research partnerships with companies, associations and foundations can also provide thesis funding.
INSERM, CNRS, DGA, INRA and CNES all offer research grants.
Doctoral School competition
"Contrat Doctoral d'Etablissement" (CDE)
The CDE is a 3-year fixed-term contract that allows the doctoral student to devote himself fully and exclusively to his research work for the preparation of his thesis. It is offered by the Universities of Angers, Brest, Nantes and Rennes I. Each year the Doctoral School organizes a competition common to the 4 geographical sites to allow students entitled with a research M2 (or equivalent) to benefit from these contracts.
The rules, practical arrangements and timetable for the competition are published on this site at the beginning of each calendar year. You can find them here.