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I'm looking at the CNRS CR (=charge de recherche - a research only academic position with no teaching duties) recruitment process, and in the booklet that walks candidates through the application process, it says :

"You will need to provide a clear, structured presentation of your research project and its scientific interest. You are free to choose the way in which you present your project. There is no limit to the number of pages. Your research proposal should be aimed at one CNRS unit. You will need to indicate the laboratory or laboratories where your project could be conducted and make at least 2 wishes."

I talked to a few French academics, and I got the idea that it's instructive to network with the team, by contacting them, giving a talk etc, and if they belive in your ability, they'll accept to write a joint proposal with you. Is this correct at all? And if yes, who writes most of the proposal - the candidate or the team melbers?

Timeline: What's also not clear to me is when the candidate/applicant is supposed to do so? For example, it's December now, and the competition has been announced on the CNRS website, so does this mean the potential candidates are supposed to have already contacted a team and developed a joint research project? So if I were to be an applicant, is it already late to contact a team and develop a research project? Am I supposed to have done this already?

Some general lesser known insights on writing this joint proposal would be appreciated too!

Thank you in advance!

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You are writing 95%+ of the proposal, some of your future potential colleagues in the lab of your choice will help you figure out how you and your project integrate in the lab and will help you write that one specific section, but writing the project is on you.

Yes you are supposed to get in touch and get to know them, researchers will want to discuss how your research will make the lab better and will also want to know you as a person since you will be there for many years. If you still haven't contacted a lab it's very likely too late to apply for the next deadline, also consider the holiday break. It's not like a regular tenure application in which you send your CV and then they decide if they call you for an interview.

If your PhD diploma is not in French you will also need to get it translated.

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  • Thank you for your detailed answer, and sorry for the belated acknowledgement! Indeed it's almost impossible to know about the full application process when you're an outsider. I understand I'm late and I guess I'll give up hope for applying for CNRS CR positions then. How about INRIA CR positions? I see that they start in January, so I guess I'm late for this too, considering the winter break? Also, is now a good time to contact several universities regarding giving a talk? Dec 15, 2022 at 11:11
  • "If your PhD is not in French you will also need to get it translated." this is not true, an english thesis is fine. You are indeed too late for CNRS (you start in August or September if you're doing it "right") but not too late for inria positions, good luck. Jan 8, 2023 at 19:08
  • @mordecaiiwazuki you are correct, the thesis can stay in English, what I meant was the diploma. Jan 9, 2023 at 8:24
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I speak from the applied math side (section 26 or 61)

I talked to a few French academics, and I got the idea that it's instructive to network with the team, by contacting them, giving a talk etc, and if they belive in your ability, they'll accept to write a joint proposal with you. Is this correct at all?

Yes, you should contact various teams you're interested in (at least 2) and give a seminar talk, visit them to see if you're a "good fit", etc. This takes place before December, usually a successful applicant will start this process in August or September.

And if yes, who writes most of the proposal - the candidate or the team melbers?

The proposal should be all you, the candidate. You might discuss it with the lab members and get ideas from them but you should be the one touching the keys to make the documents.

Timeline: What's also not clear to me is when the candidate/applicant is supposed to do so? For example, it's December now, and the competition has been announced on the CNRS website, so does this mean the potential candidates are supposed to have already contacted a team and developed a joint research project?

Yes, and it's unfortunate that it's not advertised this way. The process starts sooner than you think and by the time you find this out it's probably too late.

So if I were to be an applicant, is it already late to contact a team and develop a research project? Am I supposed to have done this already?

Yes it's effectively too late unless you're a VERY strong applicant.

If you remain interested, you will want to contact past winners of the concours for the positions in your section and see if they're willing to let you look at their proposals to gain insights. There is also http://postes.smai.emath.fr/current/index.php for the general positions in france, I can't remember if CNRS gets posted there too.

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