Published on 6 November 2018

Université Paris-Saclay has welcomed more than 1,200 new doctoral candidates at the beginning of the 2018-2019 academic year. These students are at the heart of the University's research activities as they are co-authors of more than 70% of the articles published each year by the University's laboratories.

Particular attention is paid to the choice of doctoral candidates throughout the entire selection process. All applicants have to "defend" their doctoral project to apply for a position in a doctoral program and/or to obtain funding. After a thorough review of the applications and related projects, the admission committee of each doctoral school assesses each candidate's research skills, their understanding of the innovative nature of the research subject, their ability to position their project in an international scientific context, and finally, their ability to present their project.

Each year, the recruitment campaign is analyzed and a satisfaction survey is sent to doctoral students and thesis directors. The 2018 edition has just been published. One of the striking results is that 63% of doctoral candidates and thesis directors consider that going through the selection process prior to initiating a doctorate constitutes a significant step in the professional development of doctors. 87% of thesis directors and 82% of doctoral students also consider that being auditioned by an admission jury is an enriching experience to any future doctoral student. More than 70% of candidates consider that the admission procedure in their doctoral school is open, transparent and uses explicit criteria.

To conduct their research, doctoral students benefit from funding from a wide variety of sources.

This year, the institutions within Université Paris-Saclay have financed 322 doctoral contracts using their own funds. For these contracts, 4,716 applications finalized by the candidates were submitted on the dedicated portal. Then the thesis directors made a first selection of applications. The doctoral schools had to examine 1,290 applications for which the supervision of a thesis director had to be guaranteed, if selected. They then applied a selection process similar to that used for the recruitment of teacher-researchers. The juries met a first time to make a pre-selection based on a review of the application files, which then led to the audition of 788 candidates who came to talk about their doctoral project, their curriculum and their first research experiences. Ultimately, 322 candidates made it to the main list. It should be noted that the percentage of men (57%) and women (43%) remained relatively stable at each stage of the competition and compared to the previous year.