Financing a PhD thesis

Here are a few ways for financing a PhD thesis and the related general conditions of access:

CNRS doctoral contract

The National Center for Scientific Research offers a limited number of doctoral contracts for candidates who wish to gain, at the end of a postgraduate study, additional training through research. This training must lead to obtaining a PhD degree.
These contracts are for a period of three years. The amount of the monthly gross fee is 1757 euro.
The list of offerings is available on the website of the CNRS in principle from March 1st.

General conditions of access:

  • Holding a "master" degree or equivalent allowing a registration in doctoral school
  • No condition of nationality is required
  • Being enrolled in a doctoral school for less than 6 months
  • Have a research project
  • Possibly, have a partner committed to co-finance the recruitment (company, region, other agencies,...). Research subjects are then selected in consultation with the CNRS, a company and a particular region. A contract is established between the partner and the CNRS specifying both parties, the conduct of research, publications, industrial property

For more information, you can consult the website

Industrial conventions of training through research (CIFRE)

CIFRE conventions associate three partners around a research project, which will lead to a defence of a PhD thesis: a company, a young graduate, a laboratory.

They apply to companies that commit to entrust to a young graduate (Bac+5) a research work in direct connection with an outside laboratory.

The company signs an employment contract for a definite or indefinite period of 3 years (Article D 121.1d of the French Labour Code) and pays to the "young CIFRE" a salary greater than or equal to 23,484 euros (annual gross salary, excluding payroll taxes). In the case of graduates who are not citizens of the European Union, the company will have to obtain them an authorisation to work full time. During the three year duration of the Convention, the company is allocated a fixed annual subsidy of 17,000 euros *, paid by the National Association for Technical Research (ANRT), in charge of the management and facilitation of CIFRE agreements on behalf of the French Ministry of Research. The company also enjoys a "CIR", Tax Credit for Research.

ANRT only taxes once the three partners combined.

* Minimum gross monthly € 1,957

General conditions of access :

  • Any nationality
  • Being a recent graduate of BAC+5 recently (engineer or Master)
  • The candidate must not have been engaged in doctoral studies for over a year and should be preferably motivated to pursue a career in a company

Proposals can be submitted at any time of the year
For more information, visit the web site

Doctoral contract from the Ministry of National Education, Higher Education and Research

The doctoral contract is a contract of fixed-term employment, signed between an "EPST" and a PhD student to allow him/her to focus fully and exclusively to his/her research for his/her thesis. The contract is for a period of 3 years.
The contract replaces the doctoral research grant and higher education monitor contracts.

Monthly gross on 1 July 2010
- 1684.93 euros if the student performs only research
- 2024.70 euros if the student carries additional activities such as teaching

The contractual student is recruited by the advisor at the proposal of the director of the graduate school

For doctoral schools where LAAS is host laboratory


Leader : Professeur Caroline BERARD
Address : Maison de la Recherche et de la Valorisation- 118 route de Narbonne- 31062 Toulouse Cedex 9


Leader : Professeur Alain CAZARRE et Professeur Maria PIETRZAK-DAVID
Address : LAAS du CNRS - 7, Avenue du Colonel Roche - BP 54200- 31031 Toulouse Cedex 4


Leader : Professeur Jean-Michel ROQUEJOFFRE
Address : Université Paul Sabatier - Bâtiment 1R1 - RDC - 118, Route de Narbonne - 31062 Toulouse Cedex 9

General conditions of access:

  • Hold a master's degree or equivalent. No conditions for the establishment and the date of graduation
  • No age condition
  • Be registered in the first year of a PhD for less than six months

For more information, visit the website

ADEME scholarship

The research training ADEME program is based on a strategic decision of the Agency to couple support for education through research, support for the creation and dissemination of new knowledge, transfer of knowledge and technology from University to companies. This device (allocations for PhD thesis, postdocs, long internships for graduates...) helps to maintain critical mass in research teams. The aim is also to renew and strengthen the scientific and technological capabilities in high-level agency partners, including SMEs, in the scope of its missions.
ADEME participates in the training of young researchers by funding 60 new thesis allocations each year.

ADEME supports the salary of a PhD student for a maximum duration of 3 years (holidays included). Co-financing by a company promotes getting the allowance and decisively as part of technical research projects. This way is strongly encouraged for the development of thesis topics directly related to an industrial concern or to accompany the research regional planning on priority topics for ADEME.

Doctoral students are provided by ADEME to  the hosting French research laboratory (or European but in this case for French candidates) affiliated with an organization such as University, CNRS, INRA, CEA ... who takes over and provides doctoral student all means necessary for the proper conduct of research (hardware, operating tasks, missions ..).

The PhD student is full-time employee. He/she depends on the ADEME labor agreement.

Monthly gross 1781.99€ (price in 2008).

General conditions of access :

  • Hold a Master degree or equivalent to 1 October of the year of application (applications students master course are accepted).  The curriculum of the candidate must be adapted to the subject, preferably with an engineering degree for technology projects.
  • The call for applications is open from 1 January to 30 March.

For more information, visit the website
(category "Recherche Développement et innovation")

CNES research scholarship

The Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales grants annually CNES fellowships in the fields of engineering sciences (orbital systems, space transportation systems) and sciences using space means (science of the universe, science of earth sciences in microgravity). They are intended for young persons qualified by universities or french or foreigner schools of engineers, holders of a Master degre, with a view to preparing a doctoral dissertation in a public research laboratory in France ouside CNES.

These requests of doctoral grants must be introduced, via a scientific or university laboratory, with a cofinancing (industry, research organism, Region).

The duration of these awards is one year, renewable twice.

Monthly gross fee : € 1,987 (at January 1, 2014)

General conditions of access :

  • These scholarships are intended for young university graduates or engineering school, holding a Master 2 degree or an equivalent qualification, enabling them to obtain permission to enroll in a thesis within a doctoral school.
  • Any nationality.
  • The call for entries is open annually from January to March for French and foreign students

For more information, visit the website

DGA scholarship

DGA (Direction générale de l'armement) funds annually a hundred PhDs in hard sciences on predefined themes, a list is available on the website. The aim of this action is to promote the opening of the Defense to civil scientific world, ie:

  • educate future leaders of the nation to issues of defense,
  • prepare the technology foundation of its security,
  • involve the industrial world through the first topics
  • involving experts from the DGA monitoring the work

Some of these scholarships can be financed jointly with other organizations such as CNRS

Monthly gross € 1,757

General conditions of access :

  • For a full scholarship funded by the DGA:
    • be of European nationality,
    • be under the age of 27 years on October 1 of that year,
    • holding a Master 2 degree or its equivalent to enroll in thesis (or in preparation of this degree in the year of submission of the application).
  • For a scholarship financed with CNRS:
    • same as for a doctoral scholarship CNRS.

Call for applications open between February 15 and March 30

For more information, visit the website