January 15, 2004

Frequently asked questions


What is a CNES doctoral research grant ?

A doctoral research grant is formally defined in a 3 year fixed-term contract (one year renewable twice) of practical and theoretical research training to enable young graduates to prepare their doctoral thesis in a laboratory in France.

These grants are imperatively co-financed up to 50 % by a partner who can be either an industrial, an organisation (CNRS, CEA, Météo France, Onera, IFREMER, IGN, etc.), a region or a university (foreign co-supervision possible).

Who can benefit from a CNES doctoral research grant ?

Every French and foreign students, including non-European Community citizens, are allowed to benefit from a CNES doctoral research grant. University applicants and college or engineer school graduates have to hold a master delivered by a university or a diploma which allow them to start a PhD according to the Doctoral School.

Who can suggest a topic for a CNES doctoral research grant ?

The objective of a CNES doctoral research grant is to make the ongoing and future techniques required to support the science space programmes progress.

So the thesis topic must correspond to the CNES scientific and technical priorities and that is the decisive factor in agreeing the doctoral research grants. Hence, the topic must be proposed by a laboratory involved in the space research.

For more information, we invite you to contact privileged interlocutors.

What is the screening process of a CNES doctoral research grant ?

The topics submitted by the laboratories involved in the space research shall be shortlisted by the CNES grant committee each December. They are shortlisted according to their innovative and prospective characteristics as well as CNES technical and scientific priorities. These topics are then displayed on our website until March 31st of each year.

The topic shortlisting does not guarantee that a CNES doctoral grant will be awarded. It is an absolute prerequisite for the effective research of an applicant and a co-financing.

The applicant quality and the co-financing organisation commitment will be taken into account by the CNES grant committee when awarding a doctoral research grant to a laboratory in May of each year.

Is it possible to apply for more than one thesis topic ?

The applicants can submit their candidacy to several thesis topics. The concerned laboratories make their own selection before submitting it to CNES. Of course, in case an applicant is selected for more than one thesis topic, he must decide.

When does the work start ?

The implementation of co-financed contracts is contingent upon the previous signature of a co-financing convention with the partner and the host laboratory. The amount charged to the co-financing organisation is about €53,000 (value on Jan 2014). Contracts starts in December at the latest.

Who draft the co-financing agreement ?

CNES proposes to the co-financing partner a model co-financing convention adopted by all the members of the French Association of Aerospace Industries.

Who is the employer ?

CNES is the employer of the PhD student in most cases. However, insofar as the co-financing partner is a public scientific and technical organisation (EPST) such as the CNRS, CEA, ADEME, etc., the latter manages the contract administration.

Is it possible to benefit from a single doctoral contract ?

The single doctoral contract was implemented in September 2009. It is proposed to the PhD students by public higher education establishments and research organisations.

As a public industrial and commercial organisation (EPIC), CNES is not allowed neither to propose nor sign this type of contract. However, it could be consider if the PhD student hosting university is also its employer.

Is it possible to teach during the thesis ?

CNES permits and encourages its doctoral students to provide teaching hours as high as 64 per year. In order to benefit from this opportunity, the PhD student must make a specific written request addressed to its usual human resources interlocutor.