Frequently asked questions


What is a CNES doctoral research  ?

A research allowance is formalized by the signature of a fixed-term work contract.

Co-funded doctoral research allowance (CNES/partner):

  • Open to French and foreign students to carry out a PhD in a laboratory in France
  • Co-funding is mandatory to guarantee the interest of a doctoral subject and coherence with a partner (CNRS, CEA, Météo France, Onera, Ifremer, IGN,..., a region or a university (foreign co-supervision possible)).
  • CNES contributes 50% of the total cost of the salary and related charges during the 3 years of the PhD
  • Duration: 1 year, renewable twice (in accordance with MESRI rules)

Postdoctoral research allowance fully funded by CNES:

  • Open to French and foreign PhD holders, for research work in a laboratory in France
  • Duration: 1 year renewable once


CNES co-funded doctoral research grant contracts : 

  • All French and foreign students, including those from outside the European Community.
  • Applicants from universities or engineering schools must hold a Master 2 degree from a university or a diploma allowing them to be registered for a thesis by the doctoral school

CNES postdoctoral research grant contracts: 

  • Applicants must hold a PhD or equivalent before the start of the contract.
  • Applications from researchers who have already benefited from a thesis contract co-financed by CNES are not eligible.

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. 

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 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.