A "CIFRE" in French is another type of doctorate where the French government helps to fund a company to hire a doctorand.

There are several differences between a CIFRE and a "doctorat" in France, or PhD, as far as I know, the main are more are less those following:

  • You are hired within both a company and a laboratory for a CIFRE instead of only a single laboratory for a "doctorat"
  • You are generally better paid with a CIFRE, slightly more than a "doctorat" but still less than a regular position within a company as an engineer for instance
  • You are suppose to do more theoretical and less applied work for a "doctorat", CIFRE aiming to apply your researches for the company that hires you. Also meaning you'll probably publish less while doing a CIFRE.
  • You have to teach within universities or Engineering/Business schools for a "doctorat" while it's not mandatory for a CIFRE

Here I'm not focusing on doctors of medicine at all (a French distinction exists).

I was wondering if this kind of huge distinction exists in UK or US and if not, in any other country.

  • 1
    Is this actually a separate class of degree, or a separate funding model/scholarship for the same degree? Note that both the US and UK PhDs are more student-like than many PhD models in mainland europe.
    – origimbo
    Jul 9, 2019 at 16:12
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    @origimbo I think it's a separate funding model for the same degree, implying not only a laboratory but also a company. It aims to strengthen the link between French public research and industrial companies.
    – JKHA
    Jul 9, 2019 at 16:18
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    @origimbo, Alright! That's interesting to know!
    – JKHA
    Jul 9, 2019 at 16:18
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    it looks like it is a funding mechanism for a PhD anrt.asso.fr/sites/default/files/plaquette_cifre_en.pdf Jul 9, 2019 at 16:20

2 Answers 2



CIFRE is a mechanism for PhD students in France to be funded and work with industry.

The US NSF offers similar opportunities through the Non-Academic Research Internships for Graduate Students (INTERN) Supplemental Funding Opportunity.


From the description in the comments, the closest UK equivalent might be the CASE studentship (CASE once stood for Collaborative Award in Science & Engineering, but now probably doesn't stand for anything). These studentships are funded jointly by the UK research councils and a second party, who provides a "top up" of at least 33% to the student's maintenance stipend, additional supervision during the ordinary course of the university study and will be expected to arrange a short internship for the student of about three months during the (maximum) four year degree course.

The value to the government is the targeting of research at problems UK companies care sufficiently to throw money at (a small amount by industrial terms). As far the the actual period of study goes, there will be relatively few functional differences, beyond the (significantly) higher income.

  • This is the most relevant answer. Indeed, the US NSF funding mentionned in the accepted answer does not lead to an actual pHd but is rather a funding scheme to do research within a company.
    – CharlesG
    Oct 19, 2022 at 5:00

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