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 jointly funded by the Horizon 2020-Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions-COFUND European program.

psl ai 4 the science

Artificial Intelligence for the Sciences (AI4theSciences) participates in the development of an interdisciplinary research community composed of all PSL laboratories at the cutting edge of the use of artificial intelligence techniques in their own disciplines.

As a founding member of 3IA PR[A]IRIE and the ELLIS Paris unit, PSL is recognised at the highest international level for its work in mathematics and computer science, at the core of AI and Machine Learning. It is also a privileged place for the development of these technologies in all scientific disciplines. The AI4theSciences doctoral programme is at the heart of the Data Science program, which organises numerous multidisciplinary training activities, bringing together specialists in AI and applied disciplines.

The AI4theSciences doctoral program

Launched in October 2020, AI4theSciences is a five-year project with two calls, in September 2021 and September 2022. The funding of 26 doctoral contracts at the interfaces of artificial intelligence or massive data processing is assured over these two cohorts. AI4theSciences is supported and co-funded by the European Horizon 2020 - Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions-COFUND programme.

Beyond the activities of their discipline's doctoral school, the laureates of the programme are trained in AI and Machine Learning techniques, popularisation writing, Open Science, acquiring non-academic transversal skills, etc. during two dedicated pre-entry weeks, weekly seminars and conferences organised throughout the program.

Each student benefits from double supervision: a thesis director, a PSL researcher specialising in his or her discipline, and a co-supervisor specialising in AI or massive data techniques - the latter may come from a laboratory outside of PSL or from a private partner located in France or Europe. Theses are open to all PSL disciplines (physics, chemistry, history, economics, etc.), as long as they involve artificial intelligence or massive data processing techniques.

Planning of the “AI4TheSciences” COFUND admissions

Planning of admissions, second call




Call for PhD projects (PSL & partners)

June 1, 2021

September 26, 2021

Check for eligibility

September 26, 2021

October 3, 2021

Call for proposals to students

November 15, 2021

February 12, 2022

Selections for interviews (round 1)

February 14, 2022

February 28, 2022

Interviews and admissions of applicants (round 2)

March 1, 2022

April 24, 2022


The selected PhD project will start in September 2022 for three years. In case of administrative issues (e.g. related to visa granting), a short postponement may be considered.

AI4TheSciences Call for PhD projects

The second call for dissertation projects was issued to the scientific teams of the PSL community on June 1, 2021. The criteria for evaluation by the members of the Executive Board are as follows:

  • Interdisciplinary angle of the project, guaranteed by a dual supervision of the dissertation projects (a dissertation adviser specialized in their discipline and a co-advisor specialized in AI or massive data techniques)
  • International angle, e.g. with international partnerships enabling the PhD student to be hosted during their dissertation, future collaborations, etc.
  • Cross-field angle (non-academic), in line with the future needs of the fields of activity concerned
  • Interest and relevance of the project in the field of research concerned
  • Feasibility of the project within the 3 years allocated

After checking and validation, projects are published on Euraxess as part of a call for applications open to candidates (November 2021-February 2022).

Results of the 2020 call for proposals: dissertation projects selected in the first cohort

  • Projet de thèse 1 : 3DMorphEmbryo - AI-assisted reconstruction of 3D human embryo morphology from 2D medical images to improve the prediction of its development potential (Collège de France) Alessandro Pasqui will be supervised by Hervé Turlier (CIRB) and Bogdan Stanciulescu (CAOR – Centre de Robotique).
  • Projet de thèse 2 : Advanced methods for enhancing interpretability of AI tools with application to the energy sector (Mines Paris - PSL)
    Konstantinos Parginos will be supervised by Georges Kariniotakis (Centre PERSEE Mines Paris - PSL) and Ricardo Bessa (Center for Power and Energy Systems at INESC TEC).
  • Projet de thèse 3 : Dark energy studies with the Vera Rubin Observatory LSST & Euclid - Developing a combined cosmic shear analysis with Bayesian neural networks (Observatoire de Paris - PSL)
    Biswajit Biswas will be supervised by Eric Aubourg (Laboratoire APC) and Junpeng Lao (Google Switzerland).
  • Projet de thèse 4 : The politics of coding (Ecole Normale Supérieure - PSL)
    Daniele Cavalli will be supervised by J. Peter Burgess (République des Savoirs) and Jean-Gabriel Ganascia (LIP6, Sorbonne Université).
  • Projet de thèse 5 : Physically Informed Machine Leaning for controlling unruptured intracranial aneurysms (Mines Paris -PSL)
    Pablo Jeken Rico will be supervised by Elie Hachem (CEMEF) and Bruno Figliuzzi (Centre de Morphologie Mathématique).
  • Projet de thèse 6 : Towards neuromorphic computing on quantum many-body architectures (ESPCI - PSL)
    Melissa Alzate will be supervised by Lionel Aigouy (Laboratoire de Physique et d’Etude des Matériaux) and Alexandre Zimmers (Laboratoire de Physique et d’Etude des Matériaux).
  • Projet de thèse 7 : Data-driven Enzyme Evolution (ESPCI - PSL)
    Mats Von Tongeren will be supervised by Yannick Rondelez (Gulliver Lab) and Olivier Rivoire (CIRB, Collège de France).
  • Projet de thèse 8 : Machine learning for origin of life in the RNA world (ESPCI - PSL)
    Francesco Calvanese will be supervised by Philippe Nghe (UMR Chimie Biologie Innovation) and Martin Weigt (LCQB, Sorbonne Université).
  • Projet de thèse 9 : Artificial Intelligence for Seismic Hazard Monitoring with InSAR (Ecole Normale Supérieure - PSL)
    Negin Fouladi Moghaddam will be supervised by Romain Jolivet (Laboratoire de Géologie) and Bertrand Rouet-Leduc (Los Alamos National Lab, Geophysics group).
  • Projet de thèse 10 : Impact of human cognitive traits on financial market formation (Ecole Normale Supérieure - PSL)
    Stefano Vrizzi will be supervised by Boris Gutkin (LNC2) and Stefano Palminteri (LNC2).
  • Projet de thèse 11 : 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)
    Linnea Evanson will be supervised by Yves Boubenec (Laboratoire des Systèmes Perceptifs) and Pierre Bourdillon (Hôpital Fondation Adolphe de Rothschild).
  • Projet de thèse 12 : Artificial Intelligence to Decode the Genomic Replication Programme of Human Cells (Ecole Normale Supérieure - PSL)
    Amir Hossein Zeraati Aliabadi will be supervised by Olivier Hyrien (IBENS) and Benjamin Audit (LPENSL).
  • Projet de thèse 13 : Learning dynamics in biological and artificial neural networks (Ecole Normale Supérieure - PSL)
    Pierre Orhan will be supervised by Yves Boubenec (Laboratoire des Systèmes Perceptifs) and Jean-Rémi King (Laboratoire des Systèmes Perceptifs, Facebook Artificial Intelligence Research).
  • Projet de thèse 14 : Using vocal interactions to study syntax of dolphins acoustic communication (Ecole Normale Supérieure - PSL)
    Chiara Semenzin will be supervised by German Sumbre (IBENS) and Gonzalo de Polavieja (Collective Behavior Lab, Champalimaud Foundation)
  • Projet de thèse 15 : Processing eDNA data into relevant indicators of ecosystem health and biodiversity monitoring (EPHE - PSL)
    Letizia Lamperti will be supervised by Stéphanie Manel (CEFE) and Loïc Pellissier (ETH – WSL)

Governing bodies of the Artificial Intelligence for the Sciences program

The Management Team (MT)

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 (EB)

The Executive Board is a joint institution made up of six researchers chosen by PSL and the Vice-President in charge of Graduate Research and Education at PSL. It is chaired by the project's Scientific Coordinator, Bruno Bouchard.

Chosen for their expertise in the research or private sector and their knowledge of issues related to AI techniques and applications, the other members of the EB are Jamal Atif, Chloé-Agathe Azencott, Giulio Biroli, 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 the COFUND
  • Manage possible conflict resolution
The Selection Committee (SC)

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, external academics, and business experts.

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.

Selection committee members:

  • Alexandre Allauzen  (Lamsade, Université Paris Dauphine – PSL)
  • Silke Biermann (CPHT, Ecole Polytechnique)
  • Isabelle Bloch (LIP6, Sorbonne Université)
  • François Boulanger (LPENS, ENS – PSL)
  • Justine Cassel (School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University)
  • Jean-Michel Dalle (Agoranov director, science and technology start-ups incubator)
  • Romuald Elie (Google DeepMind)
  • Marie Gendrel (IBENS, ENS – PSL)
  • Flora Jay (LRI, Université Paris-Saclay)
  • Rémi Monasson (LPENS, ENS – PSL)
  • Anne Siegel (IRISA, INRIA)
The Committee on Safeguards (CS)

The Committee on Safeguards will include the PSL HR Director, one elected doctoral student and two referents of the scientific integrity who will be independently nominated by the Vice-President for Student Life and Social and Environmental Responsibility at PSL.

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).

Programme partners

Air Liquide, ArcelorMittal, Fondation Adolphe de Rothschild, Total

Axa Research Fund, FAIR et Google Switzerland.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the team at

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