PhD in France

PhD in France

France offers a stimulating research environment to scholars and students, with a widely recognized scientific output.
The research system, globally connected, attracts both foreign students and foreign investors.
The PhD Tour 2020 took place online from 21-25 September: a unique opportunity to interact directly with the best French institutions.
Students and researchers can also interact one to one with doctoral schools at the virtual Choose France Tour from 6-7 November.

Virtual PhD Tour 2020

The French Embassy, through Campus France and the French Institute in India, organised a virtual PhD Tour from 21-25 September 2020.

The virtual tour encompassed sessions on doctoral and post-doctoral programmes, visas, scholarships and will also include Alumni meets.

Students and researchers who couldn’t attend the PhD Tour can still find useful resources:

PhD in France


PhD Tour 2020 – Webinar Calendar

21 September:
    • 18:00 – Economics & Social Sciences
    • 19:30 – Management
22 September:
    • 18:00 – Ecology, Biodiversity, Agronomy
    • 19:30 – Health Sciences
23 September:
    • 18:00 – Mathematics
    • 19:30 – Physics, Chemistry, Materials
24 September:
    • 18:00 – Information Science and Technology / Artificial Intelligence
    • 19:30 – Engineering Science and Sustainable Development
25 September:
    • 18:00 – Energies and Processes
    • 19:30 – Earth and Space Sciences


PhD in France

Webinars format and panels

Each webinar lasted 1 hour. Programme:

    • Introduction by the moderator.
    • Intervention by the Scientific Coordinator at French Institute in India (IFI)
    • Presentations by the representatives of French Doctoral schools or universities
    • Talk by the Alumni
    • Q&A session.
  • Watch the replays below and on our YouTube Channel: Virtual PhD Tour 2020 – PhD in France (10 videos)

PhD Tour 2020 Panelists

Economics & Social Sciences
    • French institutions panelists:
      • Dr Pierre François, Science Po
      • Dr Marion Fortin, Toulouse School of Management
      • Dr Sebastian Bervoets, Université d’Aix Marseille
    • Alumni: Ms. Anushka Chawla, PhD student in Marriage market and social networks, Université d’Aix Marseille
    • IFI panelists:
      • Moderator: Mr Vikash Golla
      • Scientific Coordinator: Ms. Amruta Datar



    • French institutions panelists:
      • Dr Marion Fortin & Dr Sandra Laporte, Toulouse School of Management
      • Dr Olivier Bruno & Dr Cécile Ayerbe, Université Côte d’Azur
      • Ms Britta Delhay, HEC.
    • Alumni: Mr. Debtanu Lahiri, PhD student in Strategy in Business Policy, HEC Paris
    • IFI panelists:
      • Moderator: Mr Sujit Nair
      • Scientific Coordinator: Ms. Amruta Datar
Ecology, Biodiversity, Agronomy
    • French institutions panelists:
      • Dr. Edmond Rock, Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRAE)
      • Dr Magali Dufour, Centre de coopération internationale en recherche agronomique pour le développement (CIRAD)
      • Prof Véronique Gayrard, Université de Toulouse 
    • Alumni: Mr Soumen Mallick, Université de Rennes, PhD Student, Ecology
    • IFI panelists:
      • Moderator: Mr Nidhi Chopra
      • Scientific Coordinator: Ms. Ambika Anilkumar
Health Sciences
    • French institutions panelists:
      • Dr Catherine Schuster, Université de Strasbourg
      • Dr Jonathan Ewbank, Université d’Aix Marseille
      • Prof Sandrine Ongeri, Université Paris Saclay
      • Dr Andreas Niebel, Laboratoire des Interactions Plantes Micro-organismes (LPIM)
    • Alumni: Dr Iyanar Vetrievel, PhD in Structural Bioinformatics, Université de Nantes
    • IFI panelists:
      • Moderator: Ms Aleena Jesin Louis
      • Scientific Coordinator: Ms. Ambika Anilkumar
    • French institutions panelists:
      • Prof Andreas Hartmann, Université de Bordeaux
      • Prof Stéphane Nonnenacher, Université Paris Saclay
      • Ms Mylaine Clément, Université de Montpellier
      • Prof Jean-François Naviner, Telecom Paris, Institut Polytechnique de Paris
    • Alumni: Dr Krishanu Roy, Raman-Charpak Fellowship awardee, Research project at University de Tours.
    • IFI panelists:
      • Moderator: Ms Somya Jatwani
      • Scientific Coordinator: Ms. Meenakshi Singh
Physics / Chemistry / Materials
    • French institutions panelists:
      • Prof Yannick Hoarau, Université de Strasbourg
      • Prof Aurélien Debelle, Université Paris Saclay
      • Prof Hanène Souli, ENISE
    • Alumni: Dr. Hema Bharadwaj, Raman-Charpak Fellowship awardee 
    • IFI panelists:
      • Moderator: Mr Sourav Bhowmik
      • Scientific Coordinator: Ms. Meenakshi Singh
Information Technology & Artificial Intelligence
    • French institutions panelists:
      • Prof Alain Sibille, Telecom Paris, Institut Polytechnique de Paris
      • Prof Yann Busnel, IMT Atlantique
      • Prof Andreas Hartmann, Université de Bordeaux
    • Alumni: Dr Ankuj Arora, PhD in Artificial Intelligence, Université Grenoble Alpes
    • IFI panelists:
      • Moderator: Ms Krusha Khakhar
      • Scientific Coordinator: Ms. Amruta Datar
Engineering Sciences & Sustainable Development
    • French institutions panelists:
      • Prof Sylvain Franger, Université Paris Saclay
      • Prof Christine Gérardin, Ecole Doctorale SIMPPÉ, Université de Lorraine
      • Prof Jean-Marc Laheurte, Université Gustave Eiffel
    • Alumni: Dr Pravin Badarayani, PhD in Mechanics of Solid Materials and Structures, Ecole Centrale de Nantes
    • IFI panelists:
      • Moderator: Mr Shubhra Sharma
      • Scientific Coordinator: Ms. Ambika Anilkumar
Energy & Process
    • French institutions panelists:
      • Mr Alexandre Stegner, Ecole Polytechnique, Institut Polytechnique de Paris
      • Prof Marie-Odile Simonnot, Universite de Lorraine
      • Prof Catherine Pantel, Toulouse INP
    • Alumni: Dr Ankita Gaur, Research Scientist, National Institute of Applied Sciences (INSA), Lyon
    • IFI panelists:
      • Moderator: Ms Vasudha Muralikrishan
      • Scientific Coordinator: Ms. Meenakshi Singh
Earth & Space Sciences
    • French institutions panelists:
      • Prof Franck Plunian, Université de Grenoble Alpes
      • Prof Laurence Vidal, Université d’Aix Marseille
      • Dr Jérôme Van der Woerd, Université de Strasbourg
    • Alumni: Dr Unmesh Khati, Raman-Charpak Fellowship awardee, Visiting researcher at University
    • IFI panelists:
      • Moderator: Mr Rachit Dhawan
      • Scientific Coordinator: Ms. Ambika Anilkumar

10 Good Reasons to do a PhD in France

1. France, one of the world’s most research-intensive nations
    • EUR 50 billion in R&D investment
    • Nearly 285,000 researchers
    • 60% of them in industry
2. A global economic powerhouse
    • 5th in the OECD for R&D spending
3. A high-level of scientific output
    • 4th in the world in impact of publication (H-Index)
    • 6th in the world in number of patent applications
4. International recognition of French researchers
    • 2nd in the world in number of Fields medals
    • 4th in the world in number of Nobel Prizes
5. Participation in projects of International scope and scale
    • Arianespace; Large Hadron Collider (CERN); ONERA Wind Tunnels; Renater; European Synchrotron (ESRF); Very Large Telescope (ESO); and many more
6. A research system centered on the universities
    • 265 doctoral departments
    • doctorates in French or English
7. A research system with international appeal
    • 42% of doctoral candidates are foreigners
    • 3rd leading host country after US and UK
8. CNRS and CEA, recognized throughout the world
    • CNRS: World’s 2nd research body in number of high-level scientific publications (Scimago 2019).
    • CEA, 2nd in patent applications among all research organizations in Europe
9. A global research network
    • France’s major research bodies (CNRS, CIRAD, INRA, INSERM, IRD, Institut Pasteur, etc.) maintain more than 250 facilities around the world, including in India.
10. Foreign investment in research in France
    • Foreign firms account for one-fifth of the private R&D conducted in France
    • 60% of researchers work in the private sector

Finance your Doctorate

It is advisable to find funding before enrolling in a Doctorate. Depending on your situation, your host establishment and your country of origin, a company or the European Union may finance your research project.

More information: How to finance your PhD in France.

Opportunities by PhD fields

Specialized courses, focused on the business world and its environment.

    • interdisciplinary areas -interface with law, business management, public policy, international affairs, behavioural sciences and higher education.
    • Career opportinities in political or social fields of study: political scientists, economists, sociologists.


General research in economic science, with emphasis in the following areas:

    • Macro economics and Labor Economics
    • Micro economic Theory and Applications
    • Economics and Sustainable Development

Career opportunities in both the public and private sectors: insurance, finance, industry, sustainable development, environment.

Many institutes in France occupy top positions in global university rankings. PhD in Management combines high-level training and mentored research work. It prepares the student to become a leading-edge researcher, sought after for their analytical and innovation skills.


France has thriving business and economic centers. Nice is an economic hub in Southern France while Paris is home to many international businesses and markets. France is among the 20 best performing economies, thanks to an excellent results-oriented higher education learning.


France provides equal job opportunities for women and men in the international finance and economic centers in France. It is a chance to build a network of global contacts

The CEFE is currently the largest French research center in Ecology and Evolutionary Ecology. The links between society and ecology is a theme of increasing importance in French research.


The CNRS Institute of Ecology and Environment (INEE) has developed an integrative approach to environmental sciences, to promote global ecology at every scale of time and space. INEE operates with 82 units and 12 research groups.


The prime areas of research is focused on:

    • Understanding the key processes underlying the interaction dynamics,
    • Identifying adaptive pathways for practices and collective actions,
    • Providing a crucial knowledge base for policy makers,

Most CNRS laboratories are joint research units, bringing together partners from academia (universities, schools, and other research organisations) and industrial actors.


PhD in the health sector in France provides objective analysis and effective solutions to address the challenges faced by the public and private sectors around the world. Both academic and mission-oriented institutions are involved in biomedical research, ranging from universities (including university hospitals) to public research institutes and foundations.


Inserm is the only public research organization in France entirely dedicated to human health. Its objective is to promote the health of all by advancing knowledge about life and disease, treatment innovation, and public health research.

France has always been a fertile ground for mathematics.

    • French mathematics enjoys international recognition: members of the French maths community have been granted prestigious prizes, including 12 Fields medals.
    • Over 4,000 mathematicians work in the academic sector in France, and around 10% are researchers in public research organizations such as CNRS, INRIA and INSEE.
    • French mathematical research is now characterised by a wide variety of research topics, from more theoretical research to a large variety of applications interacting with other sciences, as well as with society, industry and the economy.


    • Physics, like mathematics, has been one of France’s areas of research excellence, as evidenced by the 14 Nobel prizes awarded to illustrious French physicists.
    • French researchers specialize in theoretical physics (quantum physics, thermo- dynamics and statistical physics, electromagnetism) or in experimental physics (behavior of materials, electronics and components, fluids and flows).
    • Fields of application extend to energy and the environment, solid phase physical biology, and applied computer science.



    • With chemistry being so embedded in so many economic sectors, French universities and engineering schools offer a wide array of chemistry degrees.
    • In fact, chemists are so omnipresent in these sectors, working alongside practitioners of other disciplines, that they have become vital components of them.
    • Chemistry’s applications include fertilizers, plastics, paints, beauty products, adhesives, medications, scents and flavors, and phytosanitary products. New preoccupations of today’s chemists concern product safety and environmental protection.

France is world leader in AI:

    • The French Govt. has allocated: € 1.5 Billion for research and education in AI, from 2018 to 2022.
    • France has launched AI training and education programmes at all levels of education, with a focus on higher education programmes at the Interdisciplinary Institutes of Artificial Intelligence (3IA). The aim is to double the no. of students in AI

French Engineering Grandes Ecoles not only prepare students to become professional engineers, but also offer valuable business and communication skills.


PhD in engineering sciences cover fields like Energy, Water, and Environment, Telecommunications, Advanced Systems and Networks, Industrial Engineering, Paper and Biomaterials, Physics and Materials Science.


Sustainable development is an interdisciplinary field which involves knowledge from Environmental Economics, Policy Making, Resource management, and thus open a wide range of opportunities.

France has a low-carbon electricity mix owing to its large nuclear fleet, yet many reactors are reaching the end of their lifetime. France plans to reduce the share of nuclear from today 75% to 50% in the electricity mix by 2035.


France provides education in energy options for a carbon-free future. Renewable energies, already a major research focus in France, include bioenergy, geothermal energy, thermodynamic heating, solar energy (thermal, photovoltaic, concentration), wind energy, hydroelectric and marine energy, and hydrogen-based generation.

The Toulouse Space Center is a vast academic and scientific complex. It encompasses multiple post-secondary institutions (ISAE, ENAC, IAS), laboratories (Onera, LAAS), and corporations (Airbus, Thales, CLS Argos).


The Spaceport in French Guiana – also known as the Guiana Space Center – is a strategically-located facility that provides optimum operating conditions for Arianespace’s commercial launches with the heavy-lift Ariane 5, medium-size Soyuz and lightweight Vega.


At €30 per year per inhabitant, France’s civilian space budget is the second highest in the world after that of the United States (€46), ahead of those of Germany (€16) and the United Kingdom (€6). The space sector accounts for 16,000 jobs in metropolitan France and 40% of Europe’s entire space industry.


Students will gain comprehension in fields such as atmospheric chemistry, physical phenomena, physical geography, meteorology, and ecology. They will also learn how to use advanced laboratory-based and computational methods, as well as get experience in field operations.

Alumni share their experience