I want to do a PhD

The PhD

The PhD is a post-graduate degree after the baccalauréat. It is prepared within a doctoral school, after obtaining a diploma conferring the grade of master or an equivalent level. This training in and through research leads to the degree of doctor, after defending a thesis. The duration of the thesis is 3 years for full-time PhD students, with the exceptional possibility of a waiver for re-registration in the 4th year; of 6 years for part-time PhD students (teaching or other activity). Annual extensions may be granted from the 7th year onwards.

The College of doctoral studies

Doctoral training at Avignon University is managed by the College of Doctoral Studies (CED) whichensures the coordination of doctoral schools and the mutualisation of some of their training. In liaison with the research units, the CED contributes to the training of future PhDs. It prepares them for their future professional integration and the promotion of their degree.

Doctoral schools

The PhD can be prepared in one of the two Doctoral Schools, ED 536 "Agrosciences & Sciences" and ED 537 "Culture & Heritage", which federate the research units of Avignon University: AU's own Research Units, Joint Research Units associating Avignon University with Public Scientific & Technical Establishments (CIRAD, CNRS, INRAE, IRD), Own Research Units and Experimental Unit of the INRAE PACA Centre (Avignon site).

The role of doctoral schools is to help PhD students develop their scientific skills, build their professional project and discover the socio-economic world in which they will have to integrate. The doctoral schools guarantee the quality of the diploma awarded and the conditions for supervising and completing the thesis.

In order to complete a doctoral thesis at Avignon University, the following steps are required:
  • to have a thesis subject in one of the disciplinary fields of the ED,
  • to have a thesis director who is a permanent member of a research unit attached to an ED,
  • to have a financing of the thesis (except for co-supervision) only for the thesis in the ED 536.
For the start of the 2021 academic year, Avignon University offers the following 11 doctoral contracts (CDE):
  • 4 CDE for ED 536,
  • 3 CDE for ED 537,
  • 1 CDE for the FR Agorantic,
  • 1 CDE for the SFR Tersys,
  • 1 CDE for the EUR Implanteus,
  • 1 CDE earmarked for INRAE co-financing
The details of the thesis topics proposed with these contracts for the next school year are given in the link below.

Thesis topics proposed for the start of the 2021 academic year

To apply, you must contact the supervisory team directly. The contact details are given in the information sheets for each subject.
Concerning the audition:
10 min presentation by the candidate + 10 min discussion with the jury
A presentation with a maximum of 5 slides is recommended.
Slide 1: CV
Slides 2 to 4: research experience (M2 internship or other) or, failing that, a short presentation on a scientific subject of the candidate's choice that has aroused particular interest during their training
Slide 5: coherence between the candidate's background, their professional project and the thesis subject

You will find below the description of the doctoral contracts for the 2021/2022 academic year.

Doctoral contracts for institutions ED536

The research units that will benefit from a doctoral contract for the next academic year are:

  • Avignon Computer Science Laboratory
Topic 1: Well-being - based on Artificial Intelligence of Objects in the online educational system
Director: Abderrahim Benslimane

Topic 2: Online learning and scheduling of coflows in data center networks
Supervisor: Francesco DE PELLEGRINI , Rosa FIGUEIREDO, Lin CHEN

Topic 3: Designing incentives for efficient federated learning in a distributed system
Direction: Rachid Elazouzi, Mohamed Morchid

Topic 4: The use of Open Data in the Smart City: from theory to practice
Direction: Sérigne Gueye, Majed Haddad, Mohamed Morchid

Topic 5: Long Distance Electric Mobility: Modeling, Optimization and Simulation
Direction: Tania Jiménez, Yezekael HAYEL

Topic 6: Transforming and Reinforcing for the Learning of Conversational Voice Agents

Topic 7: Language processing and relation modeling for unified representation of narrative documents
Direction: Richard Dufour, Vincent Labatut

  • UMR EMMAH - Mediterranean Environment and Agro-Hydrosystems Modelling
Topic 1: Modelling of the processes at the origin of the isotopic record of the functioning of continental hydrosystems by limestone concretions
PhD supervisor: Christophe EMBLANCH, Florent BARBECOT (GEOTOP, UQAM, Canada), Marina GILLON, Elisabeth GIBERT-BRUNET (UMR GEOPS, Université Paris Saclay)
Mail: marina.gillon@univ-avignon.fr

Topic 2: Characterization of natural environments at the macroscopic scale by mechanical and electromagnetic wave approaches. Application to the study of the impact of water content on the physical characteristics of a heterogeneous medium.
Direction team: Gaëlle LEFEUVE-MESGOUEZ, Slimane ARHAB

Topic 3: Models and analysis of infiltration dynamics in double porosity media: application to mesopores
PhD supervisor: Philippe Beltrame, Co-supervision: Stéphane Sammartino and Eric Michel

  • UMR IMBE - Mediterranean Institute of Biodiversity and Marine and Continental Ecology
Topic: Restoring or rewilding ecosystems? The case of the dry grasslands of the Causse Méjean (Lozère, France).

  • UMR Qualisud
Topic: Transcriptomic study of the effects of light spectrum modifications in post-harvest storage
Supervision: Huguette Sallanon, Christian Chervin, UMR INRAE-INP/ENSAT, Florence Charles, Mcf Post-harvest physiology, UMR Qualisud, AU

Doctoral contracts for institutions ED537

The research units that have been awarded a doctoral contract for the next academic year are:

  • Cultural Identity, Texts, Theatricality
Topic: Sound matter in the theatre of the intimate
Thesis director: Nathalie Macé-Barbier

Topic: The privatization of public land in municipalities and intercommunities: statistical and spatial characterization and analysis of the effects on public control of territorial development.

  • Centre Norbert Elias - History of Modern and Contemporary Europe
Topic 1: Taking power through words: the rewritings of Basnage de Bauval's Protestant dictonnaire (1701) by the Catholics of Trévoux (1704 and 1721). The analysis of
discourse through the digitization of the dictonnary text
Supervisor: Chantal Wionet

Topic 2: Mediations at work to raise awareness of the olive tree's heritage
Supervisor: Éric TRIQUET (PR), Possible co-supervisor: Julie DERAMOND (MCF)

Topic 3: The economic policies of state assemblies (France, 17th-18th centuries)
Supervisor: Stéphane DURAND, co-supervisor: Boris DESCHANEL

Topic 4: Rewriting national narratives in Francophone West Africa through musical cultural heritage: a political issue and a quest for identity
Supervisor: TRIQUET Éric

Doctoral contract for the institution FR Agorantic

The doctoral contract attributed by Avignon University to the FR Agorantic "Culture, Heritage, Digital Societies" is built around the concept of interdisciplinarity between Human and Social Sciences and Information and Communication Sciences and Technologies.

The call for proposals is open to students of any nationality, without age limit, according to the rules of the 2 ED 536 & 537 of Avignon University.
The quality of the candidates represents a major criterion for the selection of the files.

Proposed topics for 2021:

Topic 1: Humanities and social sciences facing "data" Recompositions of research practices in SHS between openness and data protection
Director: MARREL Guillaume; Co-supervisor : RENAUD Lise; Co-supervisor : HAMZAOUI Ouassim (LBNC - CNE )

Topic 2: Opinion dynamics on digital social networks with strategic users
Director: HAYEL Yezekael; Co-supervisor : MORAND Pierre-Henri (LIA- LBNC)

Topic 3: Generalization of robust projection models on massive multi-scale data.
Director: LACAUX Céline; o-director : JOSSELIN Didier (LMA - ESPACE)

Topic 4 : How does data sharing contribute to a better living of our urban daily life?
Director: MORCHID Mohamed; Co-director: HADDAD Majed; Co-supervisor: KOUMPLI Christina (LIA - LBNC)

Topic 5 : Knowledge, analysis and control of the propagation of Fake News on social networks
Director: DUFOUR Richard; Co-supervisors: NETTER Emmanuel / EL AZOUZI Rachid (LIA - LBNC)

Topic 6 : Wikipedia. Astroturfing and e-reputation between political peopolization and digital participatory control of biographical work
Director: MARREL Guillaume; Co-director : LABATUT Vincent Labatut; Co-supervisor : JOURLIN Pierre (LBNC - LIA)

Topic 7 : Health promotion and well-being in the online distance education system
Director: BENSLIMANE Abderrahim; Co-supervisor: GIMELLO Frédéric (LIA-LCC)

Topic 8 : Event detection and extraction of interaction networks from biographical notes and press articles
Director: DUFOUR Richard; Co-supervisors: MARREL Guillaume and LABATUT Vincent (LIA - LBNC)

The jury will be composed of members of ED 536 & 537, the two directors of the FR Agorantic, as well as external members, and will meet to select the best application.

Doctoral contract for the institution SFR Tersys

Here are the rules and criteria applicable to the doctoral contract of the SFR TERSYS. Are considered as eligible only the subjects entering within the framework of the scientific project of the SFR TERSYS:
  • Priority is given to co-directions involving two laboratories/units partners of the SFR TERSYS;
  • The co-directors must be attached to the ED 536 Sciences and Agrosciences;
  • At least one of the two co-directors must be a teacher-researcher of the University of Avignon;
  • Both co-directors must have the Habilitation to direct research but the possibility to associate co-supervisors is recognized;
The call for proposals is open to students according to the rules of ED 536 Sciences and Agrosciences. They are open to students of any nationality;
The quality of the candidates represents a major criterion for the selection of the files.

The jury will be composed of members of ED 536 & 537, the director of SFR Tersys, as well as external members, will meet to select the best application.

Topic selected for the start of the 2021 academic year: "REVers : REVitalization of vineyard soils by earthworm inoculation"

Doctoral contract for the institution EUR Implanteus

The executive committee of the EUR Implanteus Executive Committee has decided to select the following two thesis projects for the period 2021-2024 without prioritization:

Enhanced risk-based surveillance of Xylella fastidiosa
Director: GABRIEL Edith, DR INRAE, UR Biostatitistics & Spatial Processes
Co-director: IENCO Dino, CR-HDR, UMR TETIS, Montpellier University

One-pot solvent-free extraction and encapsulation of xanthophylls from plant matrices to improve their stability and bioavailability
Director: CONTINO-PEPIN Christine, MCF-HDR, Unité Chimie Bioorganique et Systèmes Amphiphiles, Avignon University
Co-director: Patrick BOREL, DR INRAE, UMR C2VN, Aix-Marseille University

Doctoral contract for the institution Co-financing INRAE

Avignon University and the INRAE PACA Regional Centre wish to continue to develop their partnership on the Avignon site by supporting ambitious research projects involving units from both organisations.
In this respect, a PhD thesis support co-financed by Avignon University and INRAE will be opened during the academic year 2020/2021 (thesis start: September 2021).
This initiative aims to stimulate the emergence of new AU-INRAE collaborations or to strengthen existing collaborations.

Supervised by: Cindy Morris (HDR, PV INRAE), Annette Bérard (HDR, UMR 1114 EMMAH Avignon University-INRAE),
Clara Torres-Barceló (Plant Pathology INRAE)

Doctoral School 536 Agrosciences & Sciences

Doctoral School 536 Agrosciences & Sciences

The Doctoral School 536 "Agrosciences & Sciences" gathers the research units and teams of the Sciences, Technologies, Health domain of Avignon University, as well as some of the INRAE PACA Centre's own or experimental units.

The ED 536 thus federates research units with diversified disciplinary fields: Biology, Biostatistics, Chemistry, Hydrogeology, Computer Science, Mathematics, Mechanics, Agronomic Sciences, Physical Sciences, Earth Sciences, Life Sciences, Sciences and Techniques of Physical and Sporting Activities.

More than two thirds of the teams attached to ED 536 develop their research activities in the field of agrosciences: plant physiology and pathology, plant food science, agri-food and plant extraction process science, nutrition, environment, ecology and socio-economic sciences applied to agrosystems.

Its research potential is based on 14 recognized research units, divided into 4 AU's own research units, 4 UMRs (Joint Research Units, in association with INRAE, CIRAD, CNRS or IRD) and 6 INRAE's own units, thus bringing together about 200 teacher-researchers and researchers, including a hundred or so staff qualified to direct research (HdR).

The Agrosciences major of the DE is based on its partnership with INRAE PACA, as well as the Tersys Federative Research Structure (SFR) "Valorization of Natural Plant Products, Health and Environment", the European competitiveness cluster Innov'Alliance and the CRITT Agroalimentaire PACA.

Research units attached to ED536:

Doctoral School 537 Culture & Heritage

Doctoral School 537 Culture & Heritage

The Culture and Heritage ED brings together research teams from several disciplines: Culture and Communication, Political Science, Theatre Studies, Law, Geography, History, Linguistics, and Comparative Literature. Its research potential is based on nine research units, including two host teams, one INRAE research unit and six joint research units in association with the CNRS, the EHESS or the IRD, bringing together approximately 50 teacher-researchers and researchers qualified to direct research (HDR).

The ED Culture and Heritage is headed by a director assisted by a board. This council is composed of 20 members:
  • a representative of the Presidency
  • the management of the College of Doctoral Studies (CED)
  • the management of the FR Agor@ntic
  • a representative of the BIATSS staff
  • six representatives of the laboratories belonging to the ED, including its director
  • four PhD students elected by their peers within the laboratories of the ED
  • three scientific personalities from outside the ED
  • three personalities from outside the ED from the socio-economic environment.

Laboratories attached to the ED Culture and Heritage

Directions, co-directions and co-supervision of thesis

L'supervisory team of a doctoral thesis consists of a director and/or a co-director and/or co-supervisors.

A thesis co-supervisor contributes to the supervision of the thesis without bearing the scientific responsibility, which is the exclusive responsibility of the director and/or co-director.

The thesis co-supervisors are chosen by the thesis director in agreement with the PhD student. The co-supervisors may not be qualified to direct research (HDR). A supervision team can be composed of a maximum of 3 persons (including co-directors and/or co-supervisors). The share of co-supervision per thesis is limited to 50% (the other half must be assumed by the director and the co-director); the cumulative rate of co-supervision of the thesis cannot exceed 100%.

The commitment to a supervisory team must be registered in the request for authorization to register for thesis registration. This form is signed by the thesis co-directors and co-supervisors, the laboratory director, the ED director and the PhD student. It sets out, for the year of registration, the distribution of the thesis supervision rates between each member of the supervision team.

Financing of the thesis

The conditions of the PhD student's resources (doctoral contracts, CIFRE, grants, grants from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, grants, EPST grants, research contract funding, Employment of Young Doctors, etc.) during the preparation of the thesis must be explicitly defined from the beginning of the thesis. Specific funding (doctoral contract, CIFRE contract, MAE, CNRS, ADEME grant, etc.) gives the status of full-time PhD student.

Specific to ED 536
All PhD students (except co-tutors) must be funded. Mandatory prerequisite for registration authorization: a minimum net monthly income equivalent to the current SMIC.

PhD students - Consultants: Mission in a company, administration or community
A PhD student can invest, during all or part of the three years of their thesis, in a project defined jointly with a company or an organization. Their contribution to the project implies a regular presence at the partner's place, which should not exceed 32 days per year.

Registration in the 1st year

Following the constitution of the thesis supervision team, the procedure for registering for the first year of the thesis within AU is described here.

Explanatory flowchart

Online registration is mandatory and must be done between July 1st and the last week of November on the dedicated website.

The application file for registration in the first year of the thesis is composed of :
  • the application for authorization to register filled in online
  • the charter of theses
  • the STEP form (registration to the central file of theses)
  • the training agreement
  • l'certificate of financing from the funding body
The training agreement specifies the following points:
  • Rights and duties of the thesis director and the PhD student
  • Subject of the doctorate and discipline of the degree
  • Conditions of funding for the PhD student
  • Full-time or part-time doctorate (in this case, professional status to be specified)
  • Research project schedule
  • Supervisory arrangements (director, co-director, co-supervisor)
  • Material conditions for carrying out the project and, if applicable, specific safety conditions
  • Methods of integration into the laboratory
  • Professional project of the PhD student
  • Individual training course in connection with this personal project
  • Objectives of valorization of the research work
This training agreement can be modified at the time of re-registration by agreement signed by both parties.

The complete file with all signatures except the ED management's, is to be sent to the doctoral school by e-mail to the following address: gestion-ed@univ-avignon.fr.
Within 2 weeks after the submission of the application file, the Research and Academic Services contact the student in order to finalize the registration (including the payment of registration fees). An institutional address is then assigned to the PhD student, it takes the form firstname.lastname@alumni.univ-avignon.fr. The connection is made through the PhD student's ENT. This address will serve as a communication link with the doctoral schools throughout the course and beyond.

The validation of the registration in a doctoral thesis is pronounced by the head of the institution of the research unit on the proposal of the director of the ED.

Specific cases:

1) No Master or Engineering degree

By way of derogation and on the proposal of the ED/CED office, the head of the institution may register students who have completed studies abroad at an equivalent level and who do not have a Master's degree.

To be attached to the registration application file, the request for a waiver of the Master's degree which includes the following elements:
  • an official request from the applicant specifying the subject, the host laboratory and the conditions of financing
  • a letter from the thesis director supporting the request
  • a detailed curriculum vitae of the candidate (including, if applicable, a transcript and a list of publications)
  • copies of diplomas (translated into French, if necessary)
The request for exemption will be studied during a specific commission of the ED.

2) Doctorate by VAE

Avignon University offers a specific method of preparing the doctorate when the candidate has already carried out research work during his/her professional activity. This validation of acquired experience confers the grade of doctor of Avignon University, in the same way as the classic doctoral training. It only takes into account the work and studies written by the candidate at the time of the application and does not require any new research.
The procedure consists of three stages: verification of the admissibility of the application, evaluation of the thesis, and the thesis defense.

The application must be submitted to the Lifelong Learning Service (SFTLV) of the institution.

The admissibility of the application is evaluated:
- by a VAE referent designated by the director of the SFTLV,
- by the doctoral school in which registration is requested.

3) CIFRE funding

For any request for a letter of commitment from the PhD student by the director of the ED (ANRT request), please attach to gestion-ed@univ-avignon.fr:
- the description of the selection process of the candidate in a letter of support from the thesis director
- a cv of the candidate
- a transcript of grades of master or equivalent with classification
The certificate of employment must be sent at the time of the first registration to justify the financing. Once the certificate of attribution by the ANRT is obtained, please send it to the ED.

4) Cotutelles

The PhD degree can be obtained in the framework of a cotutelle partnership between AU and a foreign university. In this case, the PhD is directed by an AU director and a co-director of the partner university.

The PhD student wishing to register as a co-supervisor must, in parallel with the registration authorization file, submit to the ED a request for authorization to register as a cotutelle.

The application form for authorization to register The request form for authorization to register as a co-supervisor must be returned to the ED signed by the thesis director and the director of the Avignon University research unit.

During his stay at Avignon University, the PhD student must justify a minimum monthly income equivalent to the MSIC in force. He/she can apply for the financial aid program for co-supervisors of the institution (see "mobility aid" in the section "I am currently a PhD student").

After ratification of the request by all the signatories, a co-supervision agreement (specifying the schedule of stays between the 2 establishments, the terms and conditions of the defense...) will be set up by the ED.

After a single defense, the doctorate will be awarded a double degree by the two partner universities.

5) Part-time PhD

Some doctoral projects can be carried out without doctoral funding (part-time), for which the following four conditions are necessary
- the PhD student has another regular and qualified professional activity (secondary school teacher, doctor, self-employed professional, etc.);
- this activity cannot be suspended during the doctoral project;
- the professional project envisaged by the PhD student is coherent with the objective of obtaining the PhD degree;
- the research problematic will not suffer from the prolongation of the work (risks in the case of a competitive or rapidly evolving scientific context, which can make certain results rapidly obsolete).

In the case of a full-time activity, an amendment to the training agreement must be formalised between all the actors (PhD student, PhD director, doctoral school, employer for the research part and employer for the other activity) on the working time dedicated to the thesis.

Case specific to ED 537
PhD students without doctoral funding must ensure that they have the material and financial resources necessary to complete their doctoral project.

Date of update June 25, 2021