PhD FdV Frontiers in Life Sciences Liliane Bettencourt Interdisciplinary Program in Paris

Sorbonne Paris Cité - Université Paris Descartes

Application deadline: April 22nd 2013
Tuition fee: Not specified
Start date: September  2015
Credits (ECTS): 180 ECTS
Duration full-time: 36 months
  • English
Delivery mode: On Campus
Educational variant: Full-time
Project type: Open
Educational Form: Academic , Professional

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The international interdisciplinary PhD program "Frontiers in Life Sciences" (French acronym: FdV, for "Frontières du Vivant"), established in 2006 aims at promoting research projects centered on an understanding of Life requiring the blending of different disciplines.

The graduate school recruits students from all over the world that were trained in any discipline (biology, physics, mathematics, computer science, medicine, ecology, agronomy, cognitive science...). Partner institutions and foundations ensure the long-term continuation of the program and the international character of the recruitment. In addition, special budget will be devoted to promote students scientific life.

The FdV PhD program accommodates students and visiting professors at the heart of Paris, in FdV-dedicated teaching facilities organized to maximize intellectual exchanges.

The FdV PhD program is part of the "Liliane Bettencourt program" created and funded by the Bettencourt-Schueller Foundation to help creative and talented students develop their PhD in an environment as enriching as the best world graduate programs.

The FdV school is one of the five graduate schools gathered in the Paris Descartes Paris Diderot PhD Program in Life Sciences.

English speaking program.


The blurring of many boundaries between the classical scientific disciplines prompted us to develop a flexible core curriculum that offers the broad education now necessary as a foundation for more specialized studies at the interface of life science research.

The academic program is based on different courses through which students are required to accumulate at least 300 hours during the three year thesis period to be eligible for thesis defence:

* FdV courses, seminars and workshops (detailed list below)
* External courses (option)
* International workshops (at least two, financed by the graduate school)

In addition, students may follow for elective credits external disciplinary courses delivered in other graduate programs in the Paris region, upon approval of the IEFV directors.

Academic requirements
Year One

* Creating Interdisciplinary Research Projects Workshop
* Critical analysis of research articles
* FdV courses / external courses
* Student seminar thesis project presentation

Year 2

* FdV Courses
* Student seminar thesis advance presentation

Year 3

* Scientific writing
* FdV Courses
* Advanced interface seminars
* Student seminar thesis defense

International Workshops/Seminars x 2


The grade for each seminar is based on the scientific content and the effectiveness of the student's presentation. The final grade for the seminar is determined by the mediator taking into consideration the participants' presentation and overall participation in the seminars' discussions. A participation in >80% of the sessions is required. The seminar grade and comments on the seminar presentation are communicated to each student.


Eligibility : M.Sc. degree or equivalent, this typically include 5 years of higher education, or contributions to scientific publications.

English speaking program : To maximize scientific exchanges between international students and professors, all courses and seminars are given in English. To improve the communication abilities of our students, courses to perfect oral and written presentations are provided as well as language courses.

Selection :The PhD program Council selects and eventually attributes fundings to the candidates adutionned by the Insernational Scientific Committee. The main criteria for selection of students are :

* Strong background in at least one of the disciplines relevant to their research project
* Quality and originality of the research project in view of its interdisciplinarity
* Proven interest in interdisciplinarity

The candidates that already have found themselves a funding will also be auditioned by the International Scientific Commitee that will decide of their eligibilty to the FdV PhD program.


The FdV PhD program is supported by many institutions that are offering fellowships to students according to their ranking after the auditions. This include fellowships from the Universities (doctoral contracts), INRA Young scientists contracts, other institutions (regions, foundations, ...).

Since the doctoral school will not be able to support all the eligible candidates (around 10 out of the 25 students admitted every year), students and their supervisors are encouraged to apply independently to funding available from other institutions, to insure the eligible candidate to be admitted in the FdV program.



Co-accreditation Paris Descartes and Paris Diderot Universities, PRES Paris Sorbonne Cité

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