I'm applying for an MCF (Maître des Conférences) position in France in math, where my PhD is from the US. MCF's are equivalently to tenured assistant professor in France. For interested readers, you can also refer to another earlier question of mine that could give you a glimpse into the French academic system.

Now, before applying for MCF, an important and required step is to pass the qualification process, which is where they go through your research and CV to make sure you're indeed eligible for the MCF.

Now, in the qualification application process (see the attached image), I see that there's a place enter image description here where I'm supposed to fill up my administrative responsibilities - right where it says "Activité en matière d'administration et autres responsabilités".

This is where I'm getting a bit concerned. I think the only distantly relevant things I've done are the following:

*(1) I've strictly informally reviewed the math part of a paper on behalf of one of my former postdoc advisors, but nothing was official. I even forgot the name of the paper but can look it up.

(2) I gave informal coaching to some aspiring data scientists on the mistakes people make while switching from theoretical machine learning to industrial data scientist position, but it was all informal, as there's no proof that this ever happened - nowhere on internet is a trace of that event.*

I'm just not sure if this will be valid at all, or this will be enough? Are they going to fact check this part to see if I really did this type of admin tasks? It's not my intention to lie, but it's a required place to fill in, and I'm in a dilemma as to what to write here exactly, given my lack of experience? How strongly my application for qualification going to be judged based on this part alone?

1 Answer 1


First, if you have done nothing relevant, then it is fine to leave the field blank (or rather, write something like "néant" to make explicit that you left the field blank on purpose).

"Administrative and other duties" covers a lot of things. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Organizational duties: a conference, a seminar, a workshop...
  • Committee duties: if you were a member of some university/department committee that sits regularly.
  • Editorial duties: being part of an editorial board, being asked to referee papers.
  • Management duties: being a department's (co)chair/cochair, or (co)director of some lab, or rector of some university, etc.

You will have to see what things from your CV apply. At your stage of the career - applying for qualification to MCF - it's normal not to have much to write here. Bear in mind that the process for people asking to be qualified for a senior position (professor) is the same, and there would typically be much more to write in that box.

As for your specific items:

  1. Refereeing a paper for a journal can be considered as an "other duty". But honestly, it's part of the job and expected from everyone. It doesn't count for much, but it avoids leaving the field completely blank, I guess.
  2. That sounds more like a pedagogical duty. But was this something organized, with scheduled sessions and everything? Or did you just have a chat with aspiring scientists in a corridor somewhere? In the first case, I would consider listing it under "pedagogical duties" along with your other duties. Otherwise, I wouldn't bother.

Finally, I would like to note that for the qualification for an MCF position, this box is not important. Only very junior people apply for that, and they typically have little to write there. What matters much more is 1 that you have a PhD in the correct discipline, 2 that you have demonstrated a little ability to teach. Having had administrative duties is nice, I guess, but not a discriminating criterion. I see that you are working in a mathematical field. The qualification rate in the group "Math and CS" is over 70%. People who don't get the qualification are those who don't have a PhD, or don't have a PhD in math/CS and haven't proved that they can actually research and teach math/CS. (And should have applied for the qualification in another section.)

  • Thanks a lot for your comment. I'll answer the question that you raised in your answer itself: 2) I've had students (one was a software developer and another was a lawyer), both of whom tried actively to switch to a data scientist position from their respective position. So not only I privately tutored them the math for data science, parts of the sessions were reserved to discuss the ins and outs of the fields, the market saturation, the topics they'd need to learn and in which order, and my own past experience as a data scientist. So does this count at all as 'other duty'? Oct 20, 2021 at 19:43
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    @ScienceMan Something 100% informal like you had, don't bother. If you did supervise undergrads in your lab and arranged some lab meetings and well, generally helped running the lab daily, it might be worth mention. As a general rule, you don't get credit for something you can't provide some sort of papers for: these things surely help to build interpersonal relationships but look almost pitiful on a CV/application. "I served as a member of conference committee..." or "As part of my duties as a TA I did..." are valid; if you can't directly link it to a position you had - don't bother.
    – Lodinn
    Oct 20, 2021 at 21:21
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    @ScienceMan Lodinn is right, honestly, I wouldn't bother including the info about the tutoring in that case. You don't need to pad your CV for the qualification. As for which section you should apply to, there is no point in applying for both. If your postdoc research is in applied math, and you plan to look for jobs in applied math, then you should ask for qualification in section 26. Once you have the qualification in any section you can apply for any MCF position (even in history or biology if you want).
    – N.I.
    Oct 21, 2021 at 7:43
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    @ScienceMan Check this FAQ: galaxie.enseignementsup-recherche.gouv.fr/ensup/… specifically, item 18. But note that applying for the qualification from two sections gives you a lesser risk of being rejected. The application is exactly the same.
    – N.I.
    Oct 21, 2021 at 12:34
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    @ScienceMan No need for a certified translation. Yes, "résumé" means abstract.
    – N.I.
    Oct 27, 2021 at 16:41

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