visual: Initial training

The PhD is based on an innovative research project. It is the highest university degree to be awarded (8-year university degree) and it enables the candidate to become within three years an international expert on a specific scientific theme.

In 2012 – 2013, 2iE’s Doctoral School welcomes 35 PhD students from 13 nationalities. Besides its research and teaching activities, it offers lectures cycles, seminars on scientific upgrade, as well as training on research and publishing methodologies. With advanced technological equipment and laboratories at international standards, research themes are oriented towards strategic sectors for social and economic development in Africa: water and waste treatment, renewable energies, mining extraction, eco-material production.

Learning outcome

  • Acquire a world-class experience thanks to the scientific mobility.
  • Develop engineering for research and innovation
  • Solve complexities and contribute to the development of scientific research
  • Acquire solid managerial skills and open up to the big global socio-economic and political issues.
  • Access high expertise jobs.


A soon as the thesis topic is developed, special attention is given to the candidate’s professional project. Customized support seminars are also part of the training program (see teaching modalities). The PhD offers numerous career prospects in the public sector (companies, higher education and research institutions, research institutes, international institutions, universities, self-employment, etc…):

  • Teacher-researcher, researcher
  • Company managers
  • Project manager/coordinator in international institutions
  • International and independent consultant
  • International expert
  • Innovation specialist and creator of new solutions

Entry level

Students must have completed a Master’s degree (5 year university degree) or equivalent and wish to get involved into research, innovation or teaching.

Teaching Modalities

Students conduct their work under the supervision of a thesis supervisor, who validates with the candidate his/her thesis topic and its evolutions. During the thesis preparation, students must attend support trainings and participate in teaching, seminars, missions or work placements.

A thesis committee – constituted of 3 to 8 people appointed by the thesis director and with the Unit Director and PhD student’s consent – meets at least once a year in order to support the student in his/her work, research orientations, and the development of a professional project..

It is recommended to allow access to the thesis committee to industrial partners and the committee’s constitution will have to be submitted for approval to the Doctoral School by the end of the first term. The committee’s opinion will be necessary for all extension requests beyond the initial 3 years. In addition to lab research, each PhD student must take the following training modules (7 ECTS):

  • Advanced science (3 ECTS): ECTS “S” teaches on complementary training themes or techniques necessary to conducting a research project.
  • Professional project and career management (3 ECTS): ECTS “SP” teaches on the business world and favors the student’s employability. It includes language learning, conferences, workshops, trainings, and awareness campaigns.
  • Communication Seminar (1 ECTS): ECTS “C” includes active participation in a seminar/national or international convention with oral presentation, or by research posters. It enables the PhD student to improve his/her written and oral communication skills in a concrete situation (stress and time management, speaking performance).

Authorization for the viva examination will be condition upon completion of the 7 ECTS, besides the conditions of scientific publication. In addition to compulsory trainings, PhD students have the possibility to gain skills with the ‘Discovery’ module credit “D” is offered.

Co-supervised Thesis

In order to develop international scientific cooperation and except special conditions concerning funding or confidential aspects, co-supervision and co-support are preferred. The Doctoral School has partnership relationships with 24 universities over the world. In the case of a co-supervision, a thesis joint-contract is signed by both universities in order to settle registration modalities, terms of functioning and the viva examination, as well as the results’ intellectual-property related-matters. Each school designates a co-supervisor, and the arrangement will only be possible if the PhD candidate meets the admission requirements of both universities.

Tuition fees are paid to one of the universities. Specific fees due to laboratories maintenance are charged to universities of the partnership and evaluated pro-rata on the amount of time used except in the case of a pre-agreement due to the nature of the research project. The thesis may be written in English or in French. The student only takes one viva examination in either schools and in front of jury-members assigned by a common-agreement. The degree is recognized in all contract-bound universities.

Admission Requirements

Each project is led by a thesis supervisor and submitted to research labs’ appreciation. It is composed of:

  • A research topic,
  • A listing of specific resource needs for the research: technical, human and financial (this includes the student’s stipend)
  • A suitable candidate profile (in the case of a call for applications).

Laboratories and doctoral schools advertise PhD projects. Applications are open to international candidates. Consult current calls for applications

Candidates reply to offers for doctorate projects and get in touch with project leaders. They are asked to submit the required elements to their application (CV, cover letter and all other documents mentioned in the offer). After a first round of selection, candidates take one or more interviews: first with the thesis supervisor, then depending on the funding associated to the project, with the Doctoral School jury.

Once the application is accepted by the thesis supervisor and the Doctoral School (and if applicable to other partners involved: business or a foreign lab in the case of co-supervision) the PhD candidate must sign a work contract.

It is also possible for candidates who already have a project and a funding (employers, businesses, national or external partners, etc…) to submit an application to the Doctoral School.

Preparing a thesis depends on a free agreement between the student, the thesis supervisor and the director of the lab hosting the project. This agreement is on the choice of topic and work conditions necessary to the progress of the research. All involved actors sign the 2iE Doctorate Charter – adopted by the Doctoral School Council and details one’s rights and duties. Consult the Charter (in French).

Registration to the PhD is subject to the head of the institution’s authorization, upon recommendations from the head of the Doctoral School and the thesis supervisor.

  • Candidates must submit their applications to the Executive Office of the Doctoral Studies Council. Consult the application form (in French).
  • In the case of returning students’ registration, candidates must submit a returning student registration application (voir la composition du dossier d’inscription).


2iE research grant

In order to support research and innovation, 2iE commits important efforts of means mobilization for the development of PhD and PhD students’ funding.  The research grant is a financial aid for the preparation of a PhD thesis, it is awarded by 2iE to a candidate in return for his/hers cession to 2iE of intellectual rights, copyrights, research work, and publications. It is not a work contract. Grant amounts are established according to where geographically the research must be conducted. Details of the duration, amount, research conditions, and student’s mobility will be detailed in the PhD research contract.

Other funding sources

PhD candidates are encouraged to seek information on other possible funding sources, such as calls for applications and scholarships offered by Universities and institutions.

Partnerships with businesses and the industrial sector are strongly encouraged and sought to support the development of research and innovation works.

Students can also finance their PhD studies with their own personal or family funds.

Viva examination

The authorization to take the viva examination is condition upon two requirements:

1)     At least one publication of the candidate’s work is accepted in a scientific journal of international renown, or the candidate has obtained an innovation license either submitted for approval or already approved.

2)     The PhD candidate has cumulated the minimum required credits (UV) designed by the PhD Program, including a second language.

Prior to the viva, the candidate’s work is examined by at least two examiners designated by the Doctoral School Director, and with supervisors’ advice.

The Doctor’s degree is awarded upon the viva’s report written by the thesis jury. It is co-signed by 2iE’s Director General and the Doctoral School Director. In case of a co-supervised thesis, the PhD student benefits from a double degree (from 2iE and the partner University) and each degree with the mention « international co-supervision».  In case of co-degree, the PhD student receives only one degree co-signed by both institutions.