Informations on the doctorate school in a nutshell
The thesis subjects for 2016 (start of academic year : Oct 2016)
The Doctorate School ED 127 is part of the graduate school of Astronomy & Astrophysics of Île-de-France which is Paris area at large.
It federates the activities at doctorate level in the field of Astronomy and Astrophysics of five great universities of Paris area : Observatoire de Paris, Université Pierre et Marie Curie (P6), Université Paris Diderot (P7), Université Paris-Sud (P11) and Université Versailles - St Quentin (UVSQ). It is by far the largest french Doctoral School in the field of Astronomy. Several other organisations are associated to the DS : Ecole Normale Supérieure, INSTN (CEA), IGN, ONERA, .... It is linked to 15 laboratories in Ile-de-France (Paris area) where the largest fraction of the doctorate trainees conduct their PhD. Among them are all the largest astronomical laboratories of Paris area, such as IAP, LESIA, IAS, GEPI, LUTH, LERMA, CEA-AIM, LATMOS, etc., all being actively involved in international collaborations in instrumentation (space and ground-based), observation, theory and modelling. All together, they gather about one thousand researchers and engineers. The DS is also linked to a few other observatories or laboratories in France on some specific topics, such as geodesy.
There are today about 150 doctorate trainees registered at the DS A&A d’IdF, and among them, one third are non-french people. Since its was created in 2000, the DS has been responsible of about 500 doctorate trainees and it is worth noting that only 3% of them quitted before the defense. Note also that the average duration is 3 years and 3 months.
Half of the grants awarded by the DS comes from the Universities, while the rest is coming from various sources thanks to an agressive action of advertising and promotion. A list of selected PhD subjects is advertised each year on the DS website and open to applications from master students of any nationality. Applications open typically in February, with a final jury by the end of June or first days of July. The way the grants are awarded is transparent and is based essentially on the academic merit. After a pre-selection based on the evaluation of the electronic or paper document, an oral presentation is done by the candidate. In some cases, the presentation can be done through internet. The final selection process is started beginning of July with sometimes a delay for a definite answer, because the information on decisions taken by other candidates or on availability of new grants, is arriving during summer time.
Monitoring of the education in the doctorate program is carried out by a Review Committee consisting of a few persons (without the advisor) all along the thesis, but more specifically during a meeting at the mid of the second year, where the graduate student discuss his(her) progress, problems and future prospects with the review committee. The results are discussed with the thesis-advisor. The committee is concerned with gain in skills and experience, as well as career prospects. If needed, some re-orientation in the thesis objectives or even change of advisor can be envisioned, always with the goal of a benefit for the PhD student.
Beyond the monitoring of the doctorate trainees, the DS proposes a training programme with topical courses as well as professional formations ; 4 weeks of training are required, with a proper share between topical and professional courses. The DS organizes also international schools : the last one welcomed 45 participants from 16 countries. The DS has signed cotutelle agreements with 5 European universities
A system of sponsoring by PhD students of 2nd or 3rd years is proposed to foreign students who are new in France, to help them in their administrative interactions or in every day life problems, or simply to discuss in a friendly way around a glass or a meal.
Lectures to learn french language can be funded by the DS with some freedom in the way they can be followed (short intense period or all along the year).
The DS is also funding doctorate trainees for participating to a school which is not directly related to their thesis subject but is rather at the border line of it, in order to broaden their knowledge.
The following links can give useful information on the student life in Paris.