Do you have a question about InnovaXN?
The answer may already be here in the frequently asked questions.
Quest. 1How do I apply?
For projects at ILL and ESRF, applicants will be required to submit their application electronically via the ESRF Recruitment Web Portal where each PhD project will be advertised individually. The application form, C.V. and cover letter are to be completed in English. A direct link to the job adverts list is here: https://esrf.gestmax.eu/search
Quest. 2When will the recruitment rounds begin and when are the deadlines?
Round 1 will begin 03/02/2020 and Round 2 will begin on 01/02/2021. The PhD post announcements will be available for applications until 31/03/2020 for Round 1 and until 31/03/2021 for Round 2.
Quest. 3What is MSCA?
Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions is a European Commission programme supporting young scientists in their doctoral and postdoctoral training and research. You can read more on the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions website.
Quest. 4How is the InnovaXN doctoral programme financed?
InnovaXN is an MSCA co-funded programme. “Co-fund” describes how the programme is financed: the European Commission will provide up to 50% of costs, while the remainder will be provided by the ESRF, ILL and industrial partners.
Quest. 5How many PhD posts are their?
20 posts at the ILL and 20 posts at the ESRF.
Quest. 6What is the duration of PhD research?
The duration of each PhD student training period will typically be 36 months, with registration of the PhD student at Université Grenoble Alpes (UGA) or other collaborating European university. Details will be provided in each PhD project announcement.
Quest. 7Where will the InnovaXN PhD students carry out their research?
The students will be based primarily in the laboratories of the large scale research institutes, ESRF and ILL, on the EPN Campus in Grenoble. Certain projects may require periods at other European institutes, universities or companies.
Quest. 8Who will supervise the PhD project?
Student supervision will be carried out by ESRF and ILL scientists, who will usually be the formal academic supervisor, with co-supervision by scientists from the industrial and academic partners.
Quest. 9What university will award the PhD on successful completion?
Unless otherwise specified in the PhD project announcement, Univ. Grenoble Alpes will be the registering university of the student. When a different European university has been selected for a particular project, then that university will be the registering university.
Quest. 10Do InnovaXN PhD students receive any income or grant?
Yes. PhD students are salaried employees of the ESRF or ILL. Their average net salary per month will be around 1860 € (EUR) before taxes.
Quest. 11What does Early-stage Researcher (ESR) mean?
We use the term “Early-stage Researcher” interchangeably with “PhD student”. Early-stage Researcher is defined in H2020 MSCA as: ESRs shall, at the time of recruitment by the host organisation, be in the first four years (full-time equivalent research experience) of their research careers and have not been awarded a doctoral degree. Full-time equivalent research experience is measured from the date when the researcher obtained the degree entitling him or her to embark on a doctorate, (either in the country in which the degree was obtained or in the country in which the researcher is recruited) even if a doctorate was never started or envisaged. Part-time research experience will be counted pro-rata.
Quest. 12Can I apply to more than one of the PhD project announcements?
You may apply for 1 project per call. Please do let us know within your application letter whether you would be interested in any of the other projects in the same call.
Quest. 13I’m from a country outside of Europe, can I apply?
Non-European candidates can apply. There is no distinction made on nationality. For this programme, students are expected to change country. The only restriction is the H2020 MSCA mobility rule which applies only to students already living in France, or who lived here in the past 3 years.
Quest. 14I am already living in France, or have already lived in France, can I apply?
The MSCA Cofund mobility rule will be applied during recruitment. All candidates, regardless of nationality, will be required to provide proof of compliance with the rule: Candidates may not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in France for more than twelve months in the three years immediately before the date of recruitment, i.e. doctoral thesis start date, 7 September 2020 for cohort 1 and 6 September 2021 for cohort 2. Compulsory national service and/or short stays such as holidays in France are not taken into account.
Quest. 15When will students start their PhD projects and is the date flexible?
The official start dates are 7 September 2020 for cohort 1 and 6 September 2021. Some flexibility (days) will be tolerated if there is a genuine need to advance or delay the start and subject to acceptation by the thesis supervisor. There may also be project related reasons for an earlier or later start date. The goal of the programme is for all students in one cohort to be present in October so that everyone participates in the organised taught courses of the programme.
Quest. 16How will the industry placement be organised?
PhD students will be co-supervised by industrial partners. Each industrial partner is expected to host the student working on their project for a minimum of 3 months over the duration of the project. The student will work at the premises of the industrial partner and so gain valuable work experience.
Quest. 17Do I need to provide referees?
The names of two referees are essential in the application. The referees will be consulted for each candidate selected for interview.
Quest. 18What level of French is needed?
The working language of the ESRF and ILL is English. There is no requirement for an ability to speak French, however, some knowledge will make living in Grenoble much easier. A course in French is offered to all new employees of the ESRF and ILL.
Quest. 19What level of English is needed?
The working language of the ESRF and ILL is English and the thesis is expected to be written in English. The candidate must have a demonstrable level of English. A proof of upper-intermediate level could be advantageously included in the application; this should take the form of one of the recognised international qualifications (minimum CEFR B2, Cambridge English First (FCE), Cambridge Bulats >60, PTE Level 3, IELTS 5-6.5, TOEFL >72, TOEIC >750). Applicants originating from native-English-speaking countries can apply without the need for proof of level. An official degree (including postgraduate) conducted in English as the only language will be also accepted as a proof of level. Students with a high level of English but without the above listed qualifications may still apply and their level of English will be checked during the interview.
Quest. 20Is it possible to apply if one of the requested document is missing?
All required documents on the application form must be provided before the deadline.
Quest. 21I have defended my Masters Degree but not yet received my certificate, can I still apply?
Yes. Proof will be required, and candidates should indicate the expected date of reception of certificate. A copy of the certificate will be required, and the employment (or continued employment) of the student will be conditional on its reception.
Quest. 22My Masters Degree defense is scheduled before the InnovaXN PhD student start date. At the time of application, I will not be able to provide the final certificate. Can I still apply?
Yes. Proof will be required and candidates should indicate the expected date of thesis defense and expected date of reception of certificate. A copy of the certificate will eventually be required, and the employment (or continued employment) of the student will be conditional on its reception.
Quest. 23Do I need to provide a copy of my latest relevant diploma and proof of my current enrolment in an academic programme if I'm still studying at the time of application?
No, those documents must be presented to the HR Office on the first day of work. A copy of your final diploma will eventually be required, and continued employement will be conditional on this.
Quest. 24What are the eligibility criteria?
The eligibility criteria are:
- Compliance with the Marie Sklodowska-Curie mobility rule (as defined in MSCA Cofund Guide for Applicants 2018): candidates may not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in France for more than twelve months in the three years immediately before the date of recruitment (doctoral thesis starting date). Compulsory national service and/or short stays such as holidays in France are not taken into account.
- ESR eligibility criteria: at the date of recruitment, early-stage researchers must be in the first four years (full-time equivalent research experience) of their research careers (career breaks excluded) and have not yet been awarded a doctoral degree. Career breaks refer to periods of time where the candidate was not active in research, regardless of employment status.
- The candidate must be, at the time of recruitment, in possession of/or finalising a master degree or equivalent degree which would formally entitle the candidate to embark on a doctorate.
- The candidate must be available for employment at the defined programme start date.
- Candidates must have a demonstrable level of English. A proof of upper-intermediate level must be included in the application; this should take the form of one of the recognised international qualifications (minimum CEFR B2, Cambridge English First (FCE), Cambridge Bulats >60, PTE Level 3, IELTS 5-6.5, TOEFL >72, TOEIC >750). Applicants originating from native-English-speaking countries can apply without the need for proof of level. An official degree (including postgraduate) conducted in English as the only language will be also accepted as a proof of level.
- Specific doctoral school requirements in terms of marks, experience, or any other matter that is a prerequisite to enrolment to the doctorate programme must be met. When applicable, specific doctoral school requirements will be indicated in each job advert/description.
The candidate must have submitted a complete application through the ESRF recruitment web portal. Incomplete applications will not be considered.
Quest. 25Can I access and modify my submitted application before the deadline of the call?
Yes, through the job applicant account that you create in the ESRF Recruitment Portal when you submit your application.
Quest. 26Will I receive a confirmation of receipt that you received my application?
Yes, you will receive a confirmation by email.
Quest. 27When will I hear about my application?
You will be contacted via the ESRF Recruitment Portal, either to invite you to an interview (in person onsite or remotely by video conferencing), or to inform you that your application was rejected. This notification is expected within 6 weeks of the application deadline.
Quest. 28What if I have a query about my application?
As you can imagine we will be very busy processing applications, we ask that if you have a query that you check the Guide for Applicants and this FAQ first. Additionally, further details can be found in the PhD project descriptions which will be advertised through the ESRF Recruitment Portal. If, having read through all the guidance available to you, you are still unclear only then you can send a message by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please bear in mind that we may be receiving a high volume of enquiries and there may be a delay in responding.
Quest. 29Can I work freely in France? Will I need a visa?
Students from EU member states may work freely in France. Students from other countries must have a scientist visa, called “passeport talent”, which will enable you to work and stay to France.
Quest. 30How do I obtain a visa?
For long term contracts (exceeding 3 months, 90 days), a long term visa is needed. With a scientific contract you need to get a “convention d’accueil”* from ESRF or ILL to apply for your scientist visa “passeport talent” in the French Embassy or Consulate in your country of residence. Further information about visas can be found at the official visa website for France (france-visas.gouv.fr).
Caution: Please note that you are not authorised to start work without the necessary official documents (visa, convention d’accueil).
*A “convention d’accueil” is a document issued by the town hall (Préfecture) to non-European scientists. It is sent by the ESRF or ILL HR with the employment contract and must be given to the French Embassy of your country of residence to obtain a visa.
Quest. 31Do I need a residence card?
Yes. You should request your residence card within 3 months after your date of arrival in France.
The steps are described here, with advice for Grenoble: Univ. Grenoble Alpes ISSO (International Students and Scholars Office).
Quest. 32As a foreign student, where can I get information and advice?
The Univ. Grenoble Alpes ISSO (International Students and Scholars Office), situated on the university campus provides advice and information, specially directed at foreign staff arriving at research institutes in Grenoble.
ISSO can help with your residence card formalities: they can check the conformity of your request and documents you need to complete and help you fill out the request about residence cards, etc.
Open Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm, no appointment is needed.
1025, Avenue Centrale
38400 Saint Martin d’Hères
+33 (0)4 56 52 97 89
Quest. 33Can I bring my family?
Your family is welcome to join you. However the ESRF or ILL cannot provide your spouse, or partner, with help in finding a job. Concerning schooling and child-minding, Grenoble has several primary and secondary schools with international sections.
Quest. 34What about visa costs, English proficiency test costs, removal costs?
Visa, language test and removal costs are at the student’s expense.
Quest. 35Do I get financial support to settle in Grenoble?
The reimbursement of removal expenses when first taking up duty or on leaving the ESRF or the ILL is limited to the reimbursement of travel expenses of the staff member and his/her family members. Neither transport expenses for personal belongings and household goods, nor tax and customs expenses are paid by the ESRF or ILL.
Quest. 36How can I find accommodation in Grenoble?
It is your responsibility to arrange your own accommodation. Nonetheless, limited help may be offered by the ESRF and ILL. For example, a relocation service is financed by the ESRF for new employees, but this assistance depends on the employment contract and financial situation of the new employee. Details will be sent along with employment contracts.
Quest. 37Who can I contact if I have a question regarding the programme that is not included in this FAQ section?
+33 (0)4. 76 .88. 19.92