To start with, many job offers, from technician to head of Institute in Neuroscience, can be found on the following websites:
- French Neuroscience Society
- ITMO Neuroscience, cognitive science, neurology, psychiatry
These website regroup job offers related to many Neuroscience research fields carried out by different partners such as CNRS, University, CEA, Inserm, IRD or University hospitals.
Note that for short-term contracts (in French: CDD) as a research assistant/technician, PhD student or postdoc, the French administration does not allow to renew a contract after 5 years of CDD (even though the system is slowly changing).
For any type of job you would be interested in, we recommend that you contact a local person to inform you more precisely about the contract and the French regulations.
As a research assistant/technician
Job offers can be found on the previously mentioned websites and by contacting potential supervisors.
As a PhD student (usually 3 years, sometimes extended by 1 year)
You have two major ways to do a PhD in France:
- You can register and apply to any doctorate school (in French: Ecole doctorale) or a PhD program related to a local University and go through a classic pre-selection and then interview to get a PhD fellowship for 3 years.
- You can come with your own funding to the doctorate school you obtained from France, from abroad (as long as it fits with local rules about money and duration) or from a fellowship you applied to with your future supervisor.
Further information about PhD fellowships, can be found on the Campus France website.
As a Postdoc
Job offers can be found on the previously mentioned websites when research groups have funding available. Otherwise, you can apply to the postdoc fellowships below with the help of your future supervisor:
- Fondation Fyssen
- Fondation Lejeune
- Fondation pour l’Audition
- Human Frontier Science Program
- Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions
For all permanent positions in France (technician, research assistant or PI), you have to go through a national or a local competition (concours). The “concours” occur only once a year: it consists in a preselection based on a written document (CV, personal statement, project), then an interview in front of a national or a local committee.
For most of the positions described below, written document is to be delivered in Dec-Jan, and interviews are done during spring (March-May).
You can do research in France as an independent researcher with different types of positions:
As an associate Professor
In French: Maître de conference or Enseignant-chercheur
Universities in France employ Professors to teach students and do research. This research can be done as group leader (see below) or within a research group. The teaching load is 192hrs per school year.
The list of these positions can be found here (website in French).
These positions are listed by University, and the selection committee is local. If you are interested in applying for a position, you will have to contact the person in charge of the research and the person in charge of the teaching. You will need to prepare both aspect of your project: the science, and the teaching.
To apply for any for these positions you need to have a “qualification” you can get by applying to the Ministry of Higher Education and Research portal. To be qualified as an associate professor, you need to provide proof of both teaching and research activities during your training. For neuroscience, the section of the national university council (CNU) is called 69. Be aware that this “qualification” process is mandatory to apply for an associate professor position. When obtained, you are “qualified” for 4 years. Application for “qualification” are generally due in December each year.
- NEW: For the last years (2021 and 2022) university also proposes Tenure-track position call “Chaires de professeur junior” (website in French). With these positions you have less teaching loads and a permanent Professor position at the end of the Tenure.
As a PI/group leader (without teaching obligation)
- You can also start you own research group in France
Usually calls are open for these positions and can be found on the previously mentioned websites.
You will have to contact the head of the Institute you could be interested to join as they usually know the agenda about the local hiring scheme and the availability of space as well as their local interest to develop new research.
The local Institute can have packages to help young researchers to start their group. You will likely have to anyway apply to a starting grant such as the ATIP-Avenir (funded by both CNRS and Inserm) or the ERC starting grant. In both cases you will need a host Institute when you apply.
- NEW: Recent changes (since 2021): a French Tenure-track system
The CNRS also proposes new Tenure-track position in France targeted to specific themes.
The Inserm is also proposing these Tenure-track positions.
- If you already have you own lab abroad and want to move to France
Again you should contact the local Institute you might be interested in working with as they will have more information.
Usually calls will be open and can be found on the previously mentioned websites.
If you start you own group or already have a group abroad and moved to France to carry out your research, you will still have to apply for a (young or senior) permanent position at one of the major research partner, CNRS, Inserm, Inrae or IRD. See the next part “as a researcher”.
The young permanent position is named “CRCN” for “Chargé de Recherche de Classe Normale”.
The senior permanent position is named “DR” for “Directeur de Recherche” (equivalent to Professor). This is position you obtain when you get Tenured with the new system.
- As a PI in a research group
In France, you can do research as a researcher in research groups lead by someone else. To do so, you still need to go through (see above) the national hiring competition (the “concours”) for permanent researcher position. With this position, you can also apply for grants to get independent but related research project with your group leader. Depending on the host institute partners CNRS, Inserm, Inrae or IRD you can apply to one or multiple “concours”.