• 1900 Students
  • Public University
Gif-sur-Yvette, France
As a part of the CEA (French Atomic Energy Commission), the National Institute for Nuclear Science and Technology (INSTN) is a higher education institution under the joint supervision of the Ministries in charge of Education and Industry.


CEA is a French government-funded technological research organization. A prominent player in the European Research Area, it is involved in setting up collaborative projects with many partners around the world.

The CEA is active in four main areas: low-carbon energies, defense and security, information technologies and health technologies. In each of these fields, the CEA maintains a cross-disciplinary culture of engineers and researchers, building on the synergies between fundamental and technological research.

Research on low-carbon energies include new energy technologies e.g. development of hydrogen energy for transport applications, and of solar energy and energy management in buildings. It also deals with nuclear systems for the future and research on nuclear wastes.

An important research activity in the domain of defense is the simulation program: the development of predictive physical models for each stage of operation of a nuclear weapon; computer simulation, which uses complex software to integrate these models and demands a high level of computing power; the experimental validation of the calculations, obtained on the basis of the results of past nuclear testing and new experimental facilities

As the European leader in micro and nanotechnologies, CEA gathers together fundamental research and technological innovations serving industry, to develop intelligent, miniaturized solutions in the fields of information, communication and health.

Microelectronics is the "driving force" for micro and nanotechnologies, with a major challenge: component miniaturization. CEA research also covers microsystems, integrating electronics and mechanics (MEM - microelectromechanical) or electronics and optics (optoelectronic). The CEA also plays a part in integrating these technologies with other systems (e.g. flat screens, smart devices, medical imagery, etc.). Boosted by its expertise in biology and microelectronics, the CEA plays a major role in nanobiotechnologies and particularly biochips: "DNA chips", devoted to analyzing the genome; "laboratories-on-a-chip" for rapid, miniaturized in vitro diagnosis and "cell chips", microsystems used to analyze living cells and handle them individually.

CEA also hosts a number of leading laboratories working in fundamental research, which also nurtures all its technological programs: controlled thermonuclear fusion, climate and environmental sciences, chemistry and radiation-matters interactions, physical sciences, cryotechnologies, radiobiology and nuclear toxicology, applying nuclear-based technologies to health.

In 2011, the total CEA workforce consisted of 15 868 employees, with a large proportion of scientists. Across the whole of the CEA (including both civilian and military research), there were 1,480 PhD students and about 290 post-docs.

The CEA is based in ten research centers in France, each specializing in specific fields. The laboratories are located in the Paris region, the Rhône-Alpes, the Rhône valley, the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region, Aquitaine, Central France and Burgundy. The CEA benefits from the strong regional identities of these laboratories and the partnerships forged with other research centers, local authorities and universities.

As part of the CEA and in charge of training programs, the INSTN offers:

  • Training through research for which it serves as coordinator; it also offers assistance and guidance to PhD students and post-doctoral researchers working at CEA ,
  • Continuing education courses for PhD students in CEA laboratories.

Available open PhD projects are arranged and ordered using the main research domains developed at CEA.


The institute has various facilities and equipments with a sophisticated instrumentation.

  • Teaching laboratories for biology and radiobiology, chemistry, radiochemistry, metallurgy and materials characterization, radiation detection and measurement...
  • Educational mock-up facilities for hands-on training in intervention and decontamination techniques in hostile environments, as well as dressing/undressing facilities designed to permit trainees to practice proper techniques for entering and exiting regulated zones.
  • Computer rooms and equipment : PWR simulators for both normal operations and accidental situations, industrial and protection computational codes (Castem, Apollo, Cathare, Flica, Tripoli, Microshield...), computer-aided instruction (reactor kinetics).
  • Morevover, the INSTN has access to most of the CEAs nuclear facilities (experimental reactors, accelerators, hot laboratories, waste treatment and storage facilities, etc) as well as other types of systems, such as a high performance computational cluster.

PhD Programmes at CEA/INSTN

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National Institut of Nuclear Sciences and Engineering

Many organisations offer scholarships or grants. Some of these might help you to study for a PhD at CEA/INSTN!

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