Young Scientist Contracts (YSC)
The “Young Scientist Contract” is aimed at attracting high-level candidates to the field of agronomic research. The YSCs are particular in that they admit students to a partnership between the National Institute of Agronomic Research (INRA) and a doctoral school or research institution. Two YSCs were awarded to the VAS Doctoral School in 2009 and 2010. The contract is a fixed-length, 3-year agreement with the possibility to prolong the contract twice for the length of 3 months (exceptional and under conditions to finish the thesis).
Once the thesis has been successfully defended, the contract is renewable for 2 years, with the requirement of doing a Post-Doc abroad.
Amount of Aid
The Young Scientist Contract has a particularly attractive salary. Before completion of the degree, the student obtains a monthly salary of 2,055€ before taxes (2011). After successful completion of the PhD, the monthly salary increases to 2,373€ before taxes. There is also an additional bonus of 796€ which is paid twice-yearly.
In order to maintain the highest level of excellence, the INRA and its organizations which host a YSC are required to create a training project specific to its on-site laboratories as well as its national structures (experimental laboratories and partnership with international laboratories). Each project is developed specifically for the local site and its partner laboratories. Personalized training modules, accredited by the VAS Doctoral School, are proposed to YSC recipients and are offered to other doctoral students of the INRA and shared with partner doctoral schools. The laboratories engaged in these training projects are given supplementary funding to finance the extra costs of hosting a student, training, sending them to conferences, organizing conferences with senior researchers, etc. Students are highly encouraged to study abroad at partner laboratories are part of their training.
The requirements for obtaining a YSC are the same as those for an MEN Fellowship.
Limited Choice of Subjects selected by the INRA
Each year, the Rennes INRA, via its Scientific Council, selects around ten subjects based on their scientific excellence and which are considered to by strategic for the policies and goals of the establishment. These subjects are labeled “CSJ-INRA” and are available on the VAS Doctoral School website. Candidates are selected during the Annual Competitive Admissions Process and the candidate must indicate in his/her dossier which subjects are of interest.
After the Annual Competitive Admissions Process, only two of the best candidates in the top 20 will be awarded a YSC.