To keep the long story short, I did not have the research environment I was looking for in my phd (Canada) all the first 2,5 years making me demotivated, anxious and depressed.

I had started working with my supervisor from France virtually and finally met her in person. The experience has been incredible. She organizes next meetings, introduces me to people, and people here are very approachable, there are frequent seminars to go to. I talked to a few students of hers and they are progressing well, learning a lot of things. Im only here for 4 months and I am aware I can continue to collaborate by distance after.

I am primarily funded through the provincial government and only a small part comes from my main supervisor at the home institution in Canada. My funding from govt stays as long as I am registered at my home institution. If I do a transfer to my visiting institution, it complicates things (ie, need to secure new source of funding ).

I understand that most likely a transfer means re-applying.

  • Apart from the appel au concours de doctorat, where else can I look for funding? I know there's CIFRE. But haven't found much info. Are those university wide call for phd funding competitive?
  • Would it be rude to ask if my supervisor in French institution would be willing to take me in officially as a PhD student?

Thank you in advance for any pointers!

  • Can you keep collaborating with the French supervisor remotely? it sounds like that way you would get the best of both worlds (not having to deal with the stress of finding funding and transferring, while still getting good supervision and scientific stimulation). Either way, you should keep both supervisors in the loop from the beginning. Apr 6 at 10:11

1 Answer 1


As far as I have seen during my PhD in France, funding is closely linked to the PI and his/her lab. So every attempt to secure new funding would probably go through your French supervisor.

There are two main funding sources for PhD students - 1) scholarships awarded by the university after a competitive admission procedure and 2) grants awarded by major research agencies (NIH, ANR, DFG, ERC ... ). There might be lesser known possibilities which are more specific to certain subjects through foundations or similiar entities.

For the concours de doctorat your future lab is associated with a graduate school that has a limited number of scholarships to award each year and students of all labs of the graduate school apply for those rare contracts. So you bet it's competitive. Often there is a preselection based on your academic achievements and a project proposal and a second round where you will be invited to present you, your research experience and your dissertation project. I do not remember exact figures, but during my application there were about 200 applicants of which about 50 were invited to present for a total of 12 scholarships.

Maybe you should have a look into cotutelle which is a shared PhD between two institutions, although I do not know, whether in your situation it is still possible to set it up. However, I think you should definitely discuss any possibilities with your French advisor. Changing institutions might be difficult (you would probably have to restart your PhD) but there might be possibilities to extend the collaboration. Someone more experienced in "academic politics" might have better or more detailed advice.

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