Artificial Intelligence for the Sciences (AI4theSciences) doctoral program
Artificial Intelligence for the Sciences (AI4theSciences) is a doctoral program run by Université PSL. 26 PhD contracts at the interfaces of artificial intelligence or big data processing are offered. AI4theSciences is supported and cofunded funded by the Horizon 2020-Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions-COFUND European program.
This unique, structuring and international project aims to create a research community from multiple PSL laboratories and schools, along with a dozen of private and public partners.
Initiated in October 2020, AI4theSciences is a five-year program, and will include two academic admissions, in September 2021 and September 2022. The students will not only receive a training specific to each PhD project, but also common courses and events: they will all be trained in AI and Machine Learning techniques, in writing articles for science popularization, in Open Science, in cross-disciplinary skills, etc. during weekly seminars and conferences.
Each doctoral student will benefit from a joint supervision: a supervisor, by a PSL expert in the chosen subject, and a co-supervision by a specialist in AI techniques or big data – who may work for laboratory outside PSL or for a private partner located in France or in Europe. The PhD positions are available in all PSL disciplines, as long as they use artificial intelligence or massive data processing techniques.
Artificial Intelligence for the Sciences is among the initiatives that contribute to strengthen PSL's research on our century's highest stakes.
Artificial Intelligence at PSL
Founding member of the PR[A]IRIE Institute and the ELLIS Paris unit, PSL is a leader in mathematical and computer techniques needed for AI and Machine Learning. The university also offers the ideal environment for the development of the technologies in all scientific disciplines. AI and machine learning are already integrated by our researchers in physics, chemistry, astrophysics, biology, cognitive sciences, social sciences, economics, finance, humanities, etc. Our Master's programs already include AI and Machine learning, through numerous multidisciplinary training activities offered by the DATA Science Program. PSL, one of the world's leading universities, offers exceptional research and education resources.
Planning of the “AI4TheSciences” COFUND admissions
Planning of admissions, first call
Call for PhD projects (PSL & partners)
Check for eligibility
Octobre 19, 2020
November 16, 2020
Call for proposals to students
November 17, 2020
February 26, 2021
Selections for interviews
March 15, 2021
April 9, 2021
Interviews and admissions of applicants
June 1st, 2021
June 25, 2021
The selected PhD project will start in September 2021. In case of administrative issues (e.g. related to visa granting), a short postponement may be considered.
The same procedure will be set up for the second admission round with a start date in September 2022.
AI4TheSciences Call for PhD projects (closed)
The first step of the AI4theSciences project started with a call for PhD projects for the scientific teams of the PSL community.
Closed on October 16, 2020, the submitted PhD projects were assessed by the members of the Executive Board, according to the following criteria:
- Interdisciplinary angle, guaranteed by an interdisciplinary pair of supervisors (one specialized in the research field of the PhD project and the other specialized in AI).
- International angle, for instance via international partners that will host the doctoral student during a transfer, etc.
- Feasibility of the project within the three-year duration of the dissertation work.
Eligible projects have been published on Euraxess in a call for applications (November 2020-February 2021).
The second call for PhD projects will be open in May 2021 for the academic year starting in September 2022.
Call for applications (open, until 26-02-2021)
Applications for PhD projects are open from the November 17, 2020 to February 26, 2021, on Euraxess and on the PSL admissions website. Students admitted will start their PhD work at the beginning of the 2021 academic year.
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;/li>
- 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 Mobility rule), namely between the 27th of February 2018 to the 26th of February 2021 ;
- Applicants should be available to start the program on schedule.
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 mobility rules, availability and conflicts of interest (the template available at the end of the guide for applicants).
The selection for the interviews (round 1) will begin on the 15th of March, 2021 and will close the 9th of April, 2021. All candidates will be contacted in April 2021. Interviews (round 2) will be held from June 1 to June 25, 2021.
For further information, please read the Guide for applicants.
Selection of applications
For the start of the 2021 academic year, 15 doctoral contracts, out of the 23 subjects listed below, will be jointly funded.
The future doctoral students of the program will be selected between from March and June 2021 in two rounds:
- Selection on the basis of the application package from March 15, 2021 to April 9, 2021 (round 1)
- Interviews with candidates from June 1 to June 25, 2021 (All candidates will be contacted in April 2021)
The excellence of the applicants - an essential principle of the Horizon 2020-MSCA projects - will lead to select the 15 PhD projects out of the 23 offered in the call. Out of the 23 projects open for application, 9 projects will therefore not be funded but may be submitted during the second AI4theSciences call for applications which will start in May 2021.
The 23 PhD subjects available for applications
- PhD project 1 : Transfer learning in biomechanics: high-dimensional transfer learning for personalized biomechanical modeling in surgery planning - application to anterior-cruciate ligament reconstruction (Mines Paris - PSL)
- PhD project 2 : AI-supported optimisation of multi-actor energy systems enhanced with privacy & confidentiality preserving data sharing (Mines Paris - PSL)
- PhD project 3 : Advanced methods for enhancing interpretability of AI tools with application to the energy sector (Mines Paris - PSL)
- PhD project 4 : Breaking the curse of high-dimensional PDE’S and applications to mathematical finance (Université Paris Dauphine - PSL)
- PhD project 5 : Dark energy studies with the Vera Rubin Observatory LSST & Euclid - Developing a combined cosmic shear analysis with Bayesian neural networks (Observatoire de Paris - PSL)
- PhD project 6 : The politics of coding (Ecole Normale Supérieure - PSL)
- PhD project 7 : Physics-Informed Machine Learning in the context of seismic imaging (Mines Paris - PSL)
- PhD project 8 : Physically Informed Machine Leaning for controlling unruptured intracranial aneurysms (Mines Paris - PSL)
- PhD project 9 : LIterary Success, Style and Artificial Intelligence (Ecole Normale Supérieure - PSL)
- PhD project 10 : Towards neuromorphic computing on quantum many-body architectures (ESPCI Paris - PSL)
- PhD project 11 : 3DMorphEmbryo: AI-assisted reconstruction of 3D human embryo morphology from 2D medical images to improve the prediction of its development potential (Collège de France)
- PhD project 12 : Data-driven Enzyme Evolution (ESPCI Paris - PSL)
- PhD project 13 : Machine learning for origin of life in the RNA world (ESPCI Paris - PSL)
- PhD project 14 : Artificial Intelligence for Seismic Hazard Monitoring with InSAR (Ecole Normale Supérieure - PSL)
- PhD project 15 : Impact of human cognitive traits on financial market formation (Ecole Normale Supérieure - PSL)
- PhD project 16 : Creating AI/ML techniques to enhance mechanistic eco-evolutionary computer simulations (Ecole Normale Supérieure - ENS)
- PhD project 17 : Language Acquisition in Brains and Algorithms: towards a systematic tracking of the evolution of semantic representations in biological and artificial neural networks (Ecole Normale Supérieure - PSL)
- PhD project 18 : Artificial Intelligence to Decode the Genomic Replication Programme of Human Cells (Ecole Normale Supérieure - PSL)
- PhD project 19 : Learning dynamics in biological and artificial neural networks (Ecole Normale Supérieure - PSL)
- PhD project 20 : Unsupervized learning of causal graphical models from time-resolved cell biology data (Institut Curie)
- PhD project 21 : Finding and classifying transient patterns to predict from EEG the depth of anesthesia (Ecole Normale Supérieure - PSL)
- PhD project 22 : A computational and artificial Intelligence approach for studying dolphin communication (Ecole Normale Supérieure - PSL)
- PhD project 23 : Machine Learning for biodiversity monitoring (EPHE - PSL)
Governance of the Artificial Intelligence for the Sciences program
The Management Team includes Bruno Bouchard, Scientific Coordinator of the project and Diane Gabeloteau, the Project Manager. The Project Manager is the direct contact for any question related to the project.
The Executive Board is chaired by the AI4theSciences coordinator, Bruno Bouchard, and the Vice-President in charge of Graduate Research and Education and the Doctoral College at PSL and includes six scientists chosen by PSL among its academics. Special care has been taken to ensure that the Executive Board encompasses all disciplines and potential applications available at PSL. Chosen for their expertise in research or private sector as well as their knowledge of AI techniques and applications, EB members are: Jamal Atif, Chloé-Agathe Azencott, Giulio Biroli, Hubert Bost, Eric Brousseau, Sharon Peperkamp, Anne-Marie Turcan. The EB's missions are:
- Verify the scientific eligibility of projects submitted under the two calls for PhD projects
- Ensure that the submitted PhD projects meet the COFUND expectations, and that they are scientifically approved.
- Suggest for each call for doctoral projects the members of the Selection Committee
- Approve the annual budget of AI4theSciences
- Manage possible conflict resolution
The Selection Committee includes between 8 - 16 independent experts, internationally renowned specialists of AI and its applications, depending on the diversity of the PhD projects submitted by PSL scientists, to ensure that all relevant areas are available. The committee includes PSL academic experts (50%), external academics (25%) and business experts (25%).
The Selection Committee is in charge of the selection and ranking of the applicants at round 1 and 2 of the admission process. The committee will released one ranking list of the 15 admitted students as well as the waiting list. The list indicates which projects will or will not be set up.
The Committee on Safeguards, together with the Executive Board, guarantees the fairness of the project and the respect of ethical rules. It meets when necessary and takes charge of the appeal procedures filed by candidates during the pre-selection and admission procedures.
The logic behing the Horizon 2020-MSCA-COFUND actions
Horizon 2020 is the EU Research and Innovation program. The Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) - COFUND funding of Horizon 2020 aims to foster excellence in the education, mobility and career development of researchers. The funded projects have a very high level of requirement in terms of transparency in the selection, admission and career management processes of the researchers who won the call.
The projects are expected to offer attractive working conditions and to promote gender equality and inclusiveness in the pursuit of excellence. These PhD projects include outreach activities and aim to inform the public about the societal stakes of research.
Although they are "bottom-up", MSCA-COFUND projects must respect the "3i" rule, and be interdisciplinary, international, and intersectoral (linked to the non-academic sectors). The PhD laureates must respect the MSCA "mobility rule", i.e. not have lived more than 12 months in the project country during the last three years at the time of their application. There is no requirement on the applicants' citizenships. This is intended to promote European mobility and build the European research area (ERA).