COFUND "Artificial Intelligence for the Sciences": call for PhD projects 2023


The “Artificial Intelligence for the Sciences” COFUND program led by Université PSL is launching a call for its third cohort of PhD projects. These projects at the interfaces of artificial intelligence or massive data processing will begin in September 2023. PSL researchers can submit their proposals before 31 January 2023. 

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Artificial Intelligence for the Sciences (AI4theSciences) is a unique and structuring project which provides the opportunity to co-fund PhD fellowships at the interfaces of artificial intelligence or massive data processing. Doctoral contracts are available to PSL component schools and associate members, and their partners in the socioeconomic world.

In addition to the courses run in their own institution, PhD students will be offered a dedicated study program on artificial intelligence techniques or massive data processing. The successful applicants will follow courses together and will form a closely-knit and dynamic research community. As a result, they will all be invited to participate actively in the Artificial Intelligence for the Sciences project.

The scientific director of the Artificial Intelligence for the Sciences project is Bruno Bouchard-Denize, researcher at CEREMADE, and Vice-President for Research at Dauphine - PSL.

The successful applicants will begin their doctoral program at the start of the academic year in September 2023.

Type of eligible subjects and supervision

The main topic of this COFUND is artificial intelligence at the interfaces. PhDs are funded in at least one of the PSL disciplines that will require artificial intelligence or massive data processing techniques (physics, chemistry, history, economics, etc.).

Joint supervision by a specialist in the chosen discipline and another specialist in artificial intelligence or massive data techniques is mandatory. For this last cohort, the call is also open to mathematics and computer science, provided that the PhD topic relates largely to applications to other sciences (in this case a co-supervisor from the discipline of application is desirable).

Advisers or supervisors must be researchers or professors who are currently in post, and who have experience in supervising students, PhD students or Postdoctoral Fellows, and they must have an international dimension. The main supervisor must be a researcher or teacher employed by a PSL component school or partner institution. The co-supervisor may be in post in the non-academic sector. There is no limit on the number of PhD subject proposals per laboratory.

Secondment periods in an academic or non-academic structure, in France or abroad, can be considered for the PhD students, and are even recommended (maximum duration 10 months). Contributions by non-academic partners may take various forms: short visits, secondments, shared data or equipment, mentoring, contribution to dissemination actions, etc.

During the period of doctoral studies, the Commission will pay close attention to the quality of the supervision, and the development of scientific and non-scientific abilities.


Co-funding is provided by the European Commission and the co-funder. Excluding the European component, the outstanding amount is approximately €53,640 for a 36-month doctoral contract (salary + management fees). This outstanding balance will be funded out of own funds, either by the host institution, or by private partners.

For these private partners, a total contribution of €80,000 is required to also cover hosting costs. These partners will also be able to contribute to project activities (secondments, short visits, presentations at seminars, etc.).

Using the management fees, Artificial Intelligence for the Sciences will finance activities such as the organization of seminars and various communication and dissemination actions.

Requirements for applicants

  • Applicants must hold a master’s degree (or be in the process of obtaining one) or hold a University degree equivalent to a European Master’s (5-year duration) when the call is closed;
  • There are no requirements based on nationality or age, but applicants should not have lived or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in France for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately before the deadline of the call (MSCA Circulation rule): 31 March 2023. This rule is linked to COFUND co-financing and makes Artificial Intelligence for the Sciences a decidedly European project. Thus a French person who has been living in Germany for 3 years is eligible, whereas a German person who has always lived in France is not.

  • Applicants should be available to start the program on schedule in September 2023.

The applicants should provide the following documents:

  • Transcripts translated into English of the master’s degree (or equivalent 5-year degree). A copy of the master’s degree or a certificate of achievement will be required later on for the final registration;
  • International resume and a cover letter explaining why the student wants to prepare a PhD, why they apply to this offer and their professional project (guidelines will be given to the applicants in order to help them in the writing of their letter);
  • Two reference letters written by academics;
  • A signed statement on the circulation rules, availability and conflicts of interest (the template available at the end of the guide for applicants).

Procedure for selecting subjects and applicants

Once the subjects have been collected, their eligibility will be checked against the paragraph “Type of eligible subjects and supervision” above. The proposed co-funding and the conditions for putting it in place to fund a doctoral contract will also be verified.

The proposed subjects will be put forward for selection before the Executive Board, a committee composed of the scientific coordinator of the project and six researchers from the PSL community, all with expertise in applications of AI techniques, and representing different disciplines.

The selected subjects will then be disseminated, with a detailed description, on Euraxess, via the PSL website and various international networks. Student applicants hoping to put themselves forward for one of the subjects will have until 31 March 2023 to send in their application. Successful applicants will be selected between 17 and 24 April 2023.


All applications should be submitted before midnight on 31 January 2023 to the cofund's service email:


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