A group of undergraduate students in lab coats work in a lab

Imperial  – CNRS Joint PhD Programme – Call for Projects: Transformational Science and Technology

Imperial - CNRS Joint PhD Programme Call 2023

Joint PhD Programme 2023


Imperial and Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) recognise that collaborative international activities enable cross-border pooling of research capabilities and sharing of expertise and facilities, the opportunity to appreciate different perspectives, outputs that are typically more highly cited, as well as access to new environments for impact and exploitation of research outcomes.

CNRS and Imperial are launching a joint call for collaborative PhD proposals between the two institutions. The theme for this year’s call is Transformational Science and Technology. The call is intended to be open to all areas of science, technology, engineering and medicine. The aim is to develop collaborative PhD projects that can train and network the next generation of researchers and innovators, offering them expertise not available at just one institution, and to also seed Imperial-CNRS collaborations that can lead to EU and other funding opportunities.

This call invites Principal Investigators at CNRS and Imperial to jointly put forward a research project to be underpinned by x1 PhD student at CNRS and x1 PhD student at Imperial, which includes joint supervision plans and a built-in mobility programme.


Strategic Rationale

Imperial College London and CNRS researchers have co-authored over 1,550 publications in the last 5 years (2017- 2022) and worked together on 43 joint Horizon 2020 research consortia.

The Imperial- CNRS International Research Centre for Transformational Science and Technology, launched in April 2022, aims to deepen and expand connections in all areas of science. It builds on the following:

  • The Imperial - CNRS Abraham de Moivre International Research Laboratory (IRL) in Mathematics
  • The Imperial - CNRS International Research Projects (IRPS) in Quantum Fields and Strings and Integrative Metabolism 
  • Past rounds of the Imperial - CNRS joint PhD programme - which now includes 32 PhD students working collaboratively between CNRS and Imperial labs

The €95.5 billion Horizon Europe budget, which runs from 2021-2027, provides continued impetus for joint scientific discovery and innovation.

Up to five projects are expected to be funded jointly by Imperial and CNRS, with a support period of three years.



The model is for each collaborative project to have two PhD students and two supervisors, one of each at both Imperial and CNRS.

At CNRS, the funding will be for a three-year studentship for the doctoral student, with up to 5,000 euros/year for three years. Funds will include mobility costs for visits to London for the project over three years.

At Imperial, funding for the three-year studentship must be allocated by departments, faculties, CDTs, DTPs, or other research groups. The central College will use an I3 Research England grant to contribute a fixed sum, of £12K per each of the projects selected. These funds can be used to cover mobility and extended visits to CNRS labs, and for tuition fees or supplementary funds for other uses, e.g. mobility, consumables, or other related costs to support the project. Imperial applicants must submit approval to commit a studentship from their Head of Department, director of the CDT, director of the DTP, or director of the research group in question which is providing the studentship funds, as part of the application.


  • Scientists from Imperial who can supervise PhD students; researchers working in a CNRS unit holding an accreditation to supervise PhD students (HDR)
  • A PI cannot submit more than one application in the framework of this call.

There must be one PI from Imperial and one PI from a CNRS laboratory. Those who do not already have a collaborator may consult Imperial’s website  or the CNRS website to find information on the research groups and projects being carried out in either institution.


How to Apply

Open date: 24th October, 2022

Closing date: 20th January, 2023

Notification date: mid- March 2023

Beginning of the projects: October 2023


Proposals will be evaluated and ranked by an Imperial-CNRS committee according to the following criteria:

  • Scientific quality and originality of the project
  • Scientific merit of the teams
  • Synergy between the teams, added value of international cooperation
  • Convincing plan for engaging PhD students in the research and for managing joint supervision
  • Projects that are likely to be sustainable beyond the grant period
  • Benefit to researcher based on their career stage

The proposals should also include an outlined plan for raising external competitive funding.

How to Apply

Imperial applicants must submit the application form in electronic format (Microsoft Word or Adobe PDF) to globalseedfunds@imperial.ac.uk
CNRS applicants must submit the same file via the dedicated webpage: https://www.cooperation.cnrs.fr

Click here to apply: Joint PhD Programme 2023