The MathSTIC Doctoral School requires that all theses be funded. The minimum threshold is the French monthly pre-tax minimum wage (SMIC), taking into account any additional advantages. The recommended level of remuneration and protection is that offered by the doctoral contract as defined by the Decree of 23 April 2009 relative to doctoral contracts. For jointly-supervised theses, the indicated funding threshold applies to those months spent in France. Certain activities – notably those of an engineer, an executive, a salaried secondary-school instructor, or a doctor – can be compatible with part-time research work.
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.
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.