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Admissions and funding

Admissions

To secure a CEA PhD contract, applicants from universities or graduates from France’s Grandes Ecoles or engineering schools, must have a “Master 2” degree awarded by a university or a diploma authorising them to register for a PhD from a doctoral school ("école doctorale").

The Master 2 degree, together with authorisation to register for a PhD thesis awarded by the university, must be secured before the start of the PhD contract.

Applicants must be under 25 years old. Exemptions can be made to account for specific university curricula.

The award of a CEA thesis contract is made upon approval by the Selection Committee which is chaired by the High-Commissioner for Atomic Energy.

Depending on funding, some applications can be processed all year round by the High-Commissioner for Atomic Energy. The CEA laboratories can provide you all information.

Types of funding

The CEA mobilises various types of funding for PhD contracts. Depending on the situation, the CEA may, or may not, be the PhD student’s employer.

  • CFR (Research training contract): 100% funded by the CEA
    CTBU (Unit-funded thesis contract): 100% funded by the unit receiving the PhD student
    CFR and CTBU contracts are awarded upon approval of the High-Commissioner for Atomic Energy and the partner doctoral school.
  • CTCI contracts (CEA Industry thesis contracts) and CTCR contracts (CEA Region thesis contracts) are jointly funded by the CEA (50%) and by the industrial partner or the regional council.

    CTCI and CTCR contracts are awarded upon approval by the High-Commissioner for Atomic Energy and the partner (industrial partner or regional council) based on the candidate’s application, and by the partner doctoral school.
    A partnership agreement must be signed by the industrial partner or the regional council and the CEA for both types of PhD contract. This agreement sets out, in particular, the terms and conditions of cooperation and the parties’ commitments (specifications, monitoring the PhD, funding the programme, intellectual property, responsibilities, etc.). Host research units have standard agreements available on demand from the INSTN/SFRES.

    For CFR, CTBU CTCI and CTCR funding:

    • The PhD contract is a 3-year fixed term employment contract with the CEA acting as the employer;

    • The PhD student’s gross monthly salary is €2,043.54 in years 1 and 2, rising to €2,104.62 in year 3 (values from 1 January 2010 - Point = €5.52);

    • The INSTN/SFRES notifies successful applicants individually on the award of their PhD contract.

  • CCNE contracts (CEA non-employer contract): CCNE contracts apply to theses where the funding is managed by an external organisation (CNRS, ADEME, INRA, INRIA, CERN, etc.) and where the CEA funds up to 50% of the PhD student’s salary.

    The PhD selection process for CCNE contracts uses the same excellence criteria as for all other CEA PhD contracts (assessment by the Selection Committee, chaired by the High-Commissioner for Atomic Energy).