PSL University announces call for 2023 thesis projects as part of the COFUND AI4TheSciences doctoral program

The Artificial Intelligence for the Sciences (AI4theSciences) doctoral program – Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions-COFUND, led by the Université PSL with the support of the European program Horizon 2020, launched a call for thesis projects for the third cohort at the end of November. Doctoral students from institutions affiliated with Université PSL or their affiliated members must submit their applications by January 31 at the latest.

Horizon 2020 is a research support program of the European Union. Horizon 2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) – COFUND funding aims to promote excellence in the training, mobility and career development of researchers. Funded projects have very high requirements in terms of transparency in the selection, recruitment and career monitoring processes of young laureate researchers.

Cofund events spread MSCA’s best practices by promoting high standards and excellent working conditions, continuous training and international, interdisciplinary and intersectoral mobility through two program forms:

  • Doctoral programs that offer research training activities that allow doctoral students to develop and expand their skills and competencies to obtain a doctoral degree;
  • Postdoctoral programs that fund individual fellowships for advanced research training and professional development for postdoctoral researchers.

COFUND “Artificial Intelligence for Science”

Bruno Bouchard – Denize, researcher at CEREMADE and vice president of research at Dauphine – PSL, is the scientific director of this PhD program, which started in 2020 for a period of 5 years.

AI4theSciences aims to co-fund theses on artificial intelligence or big data interfaces, it is also at the heart of PSL’s “displaced DATA” program, which organizes numerous multidisciplinary training actions, connecting AI experts and applied disciplines.

Theses for the selected projects will start at the beginning of the academic year 2023. As in the previous two editions, they are open to all PSL subjects (physics, chemistry, history, economics, etc.) as long as they use artificial intelligence methods. or mass data processing. However, for this latter group, the call is also open in mathematics and computer science, as the topic will mainly be related to an application to another discipline (joint supervision from the applied discipline is then desired).

In addition to the activity of the doctoral school in its own subjects, the laureates of the program AI and m. they are trained in techniques.machine learningwriting popular articles, Open Science, for acquiring non-academic transversal skills… during two separated retreat weeks, weekly seminars and conferences organized throughout the training.


Supervisors should be researchers or teacher-researchers currently in office, experienced in supervising students, PhD students or postdocs, and of international dimension.

Each PhD student benefits from dual supervision: the thesis supervisor must be a researcher or teacher-researcher working at an institution that is a component or partner of the PSL, and the co-supervisor can be in a non-supervisor position. – professional sector – academic. There is no limit on the number of dissertation topic proposals for the laboratory.

Doctoral students may consider secondment periods in France or abroad in an academic or non-academic structure, although they are recommended for a period not exceeding 10 months. The contributions of non-academic partners can take various forms: short visits, secondments, sharing of information or equipment, mentoring, contribution to information dissemination, etc.

In addition to the development of scientific and non-scientific skills, the Commission will pay close attention to the quality of supervision during the dissertation work.

Eligibility of Candidates

The condition required to be eligible for this project is to have stayed in France for less than twelve months during the three years preceding the closing date of the call for applications, i.e. on 31 March 2023.


Co-financing is provided by the European Commission or the host organization or a private partner. The remaining fee for the latter is approximately €53,640 (salary + administration costs) for a 36-month doctoral contract.

In the case of a private partner, a contribution of €80,000 is required to cover environmental costs as well. These partners will also be able to contribute to project activities (seconds, short visits, interventions during workshops, etc.).

In turn, the AI4theSciences program will fund activities such as the organization of workshops and various communication and information dissemination activities through management fees.

Evaluation criteria

Proposed topics will be selected by the Executive Board, the project’s scientific coordinator, and a committee of six researchers from the PSL community, all of whom have expertise in the application of artificial intelligence techniques and represent diverse disciplinary fields.

The evaluation criteria are:

  • The interdisciplinary dimension of the project is provided by the double supervision of the thesis projects (dissertation director expert in own discipline and fellow expert in AI or big data techniques)
  • An international dimension, for example, international partnerships, future collaborations, etc. that allow a doctoral student to be welcomed during the dissertation work.
  • Cross-sectoral dimension (non-academic) related to the future needs of the relevant activity sectors.
  • Interest and relevance of the project in the relevant research field
  • The technical and economic justification of the project is allocated for a period of 3 years

After verification and eligibility, projects are published in Euraxess as part of a call for applications open to candidates (February – March 2023, but also on the PSL website and various international networks).

The selection of winners will be held between April 17-24, 2023.

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