Pursue a PhD at IRISA

PhD theses in the fields of digital sciences at University of Rennes, ENS Rennes, INSA Rennes and partner institutions 
are hosted at IRISA

IRISA welcomes more than 260 doctoral students in its research teams, 40% of whom are of foreign nationality.

The PhD is the highest international degree and is obtained after a 3-year preparation (thesis) in a full-time research laboratory, in daily interaction with your colleagues. It is conditional on obtaining a research grant and enrolment in a doctoral school.
Essential to start an academic or research career, the doctorate also opens many doors, particularly in the private sector and internationally where it is highly recognized. According to the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation, half of doctoral students go to the private sector, 22% of which are in R&D.

How to Apply for a PhD?

Requirements and Conditions

  • All candidates for a PhD must hold a master's degree or to obtain one before starting their positions. In particular, a 4 year bachelor's degree is not sufficient.
  • All PhD students receive full scholarships which include healthcare and other benefits
  • IRISA is located on three university campuses where there is a wide range of accommodation.
  • We provide special support for foreign students: visa, housing, etc.

Application Procedure

To apply for a PhD, the candidate must identify a potential supervisor or a research team that agrees to support their application.

There are two ways to apply depending on the immediate availability of the funding.

  • Browsing currently available offers and applying directly for the advertised position. In this case, the funding is immediately available and the supervisor hires directly according to the deadlines and conditions they have set.
  • Find a supervisor by contacting a research team that agrees to support your application, and apply for a scholarship with the supervisor. Several scholarships are provided every year at IRISA around May-June. In this case, it is best to contact a supervisor as early as possible.

Why do a PhD at IRISA?

  1. Every year, about 50 theses on a wide range of research topics are proposed, a large part of which comes from project-based funding.
  2. Thanks to our large network of partners, our freshly graduated PhDs quickly find opportunities.
  3. IRISA maintains numerous links with innovative companies, in particular through the Fondation Michel Métivier (of the Rennes 1 Foundation), the Fondation Inria or the Fondation CNRS and IRISA's rich innovation ecosystem.
  4. IRISA is a member of the Doctoral School MathSTIC (Rennes and Vannes-Lorient sites) and is also involved in the Doctoral Training Center EIT Digital in Rennes.
  5. Doctoral students are supervised by experts in their field and participate fully in the life of the laboratory: seminars, working groups, laboratory council, research contracts, etc. They benefit from access to INRIA, CNRS and university documentation centers. Doctoral students have access to additional training: scientific courses, corporate training, doctoral studies, scientific English, etc...

Our current offers

  • Euraxess. Make sure you add "Irisa" as a keyword in your search.

  • Note that the IRISA research center is co-located with Inria, and several teams are supported by both. See also offers from Inria.

What are the different ways of funding a PhD thesis at IRISA?

Toque de thésard avec calculatrice


IRISA ensures that all its doctoral students have funding to complete their thesis.

Discover below the different ways of funding a thesis.

  1. Own resources: a majority of theses at IRISA is funded from IRISA’s own resources such as ANR or H2020 projects.
  2. Doctoral contract: The doctoral contract is a three-year employment contract signed between the doctoral student and a public higher education and research institution or by a public research institute. To obtain this type of contract, the candidate must be presented by his/her laboratory at the doctoral school competition organized each year.
  3. Convention Industrielle de Formation par la Recherche (CIFRE) associates three partners around a research project: the research laboratory, a company and a young graduate. It is aimed at companies that commit to entrust a young graduate (Bac+5) with a research project in direct contact with an external laboratory.
  4. DGA scholarship: Every year, the French Armament Procurement Agency (DGA) funds about a hundred theses nationally with the aim of opening up defense to the civilian scientific world.
    We are developing close collaboration with the DGA's center of expertise in information management on two major themes: cybersecurity and AI. This collaboration mainly takes the form of joint projects and PhDs, with coordination by the PEC for the cybersecurity theme.
  5. Grant awarded by the Brittany Region (ARED Doctoral Research Grant): These are contracts co-financed by the Brittany Region. They only concern subjects related to Brittany. Once the subject has been selected by the Region of Brittany, the thesis director proposes a candidate.
  6. Other funding such as ADEME, Inserm, Cordis (Inria), CNES ...

 PhD Founding : 27% project, 21% industry, 8% foreign, 44% other funding (collectivity, CTO, CD...)

The future of doctoral students

After their PhD thesis, doctoral students go either to the public sector or to the private sector. According to the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation, half of the doctoral students go to the private sector, 22% of them in R&D.

As the doctorate is highly recognized abroad, after the thesis, it is also possible to complete the curriculum with post-doctoral professional experience, in France or abroad. Scientific mission, fixed-term and paid, the post-doctoral experience is an asset during competitions and recruitments. During this period, the publication of articles in specialized journals is a must. IRISA’s international connections are instrumental in finding a post-doctoral position in all of our areas of expertise.