Application to the IGDR PhD program


The IGDR PhD program aims at attracting talented PhD students to the IGDR to start innovative research projects. In 2024, 6-10 doctoral positions will be available.


PhD students will conduct their research within one of the 15 teams of the IGDR. Cutting-edge training will be offered on topics encompassing the two main research axes of the IGDR: “Genetics, Genomics and Cancer” and “Cell Biology, Development and Biophysics”.These topics cover a broad range of disciplines, including Molecular Biology, Cellular Biology, Developmental Biology, Genetics, Genomics, Bioinformatics, Microbiology, Structural Biology, Immunology, Advanced Microscopic Imaging, Epigenetics, Biological Chemistry, Cancer Biology, Biophysics.


At the IGDR, PhD students will benefit from a dynamic and interactive research environment, and from the IGDR seminar program which attracts national and international speakers. Within the PhD program, the PhD students will also develop soft skills through oral presentations and thematic workshops as well as organizational skills by being part of the IGDR PhD Symposium organizing committee. In addition, they will have access to core facilities with state-of-the-art equipment. They will also deepen their scientific interests and knowledge by attending additional training at the University of Rennes, including Ethics in Science.


For international candidates, assistance with administrative issues (Obtention of a working Visa, health insurance, taxes, etc..) and for housing will be provided.

The duration of the PhD is generally three years. At the end of their studies, PhD students defend their PhD according to the French national guidelines.


The current call opens on January 22nd and ends at 1 pm (Paris time) on April 12th, 2024.

Selected candidates will be enrolled into the PhD program in October 2024.



  • Candidates must, by the date of enrollment in the PhD program, hold a national master's degree or another degree conferring the grade of master, following a course of training or professional experience establishing their aptitude for research. If this condition is not met, an exception will only be possible after approval from the doctoral school and the university.
  • There are no age-related restriction.
  • International applications are welcome.
  • Candidates already enrolled in another PhD training program elsewhere are not eligible.
  • No prior knowledge of French is required (although a basic knowledge could be useful for daily life outside of the IGDR). Fluency in English is highly recommended.


Application procedure

The procedure consists of the following steps:

  • Online written application

    The candidates can upload their written application on the dedicated page between January 22th to April 12th, 2024 (1 pm, Paris time). The application consists of a standardized template requesting general information, a CV and a motivation letter. In addition, two essays should be provided. In the first one, the candidate should elaborate on one research project (either their Master project or one of the projects proposed in this call). In the second one, the candidate is expected to elaborate on his/her favorite research article. Both essays will serve as a basis for the interview. The candidate has also the possibility to arrange for one or two reference letters to be sent to us before the application deadline by providing the email address of the persons recommending the candidate.

    More detailed information is provided at the application link.

    At this step, the academic records, the research experiences, and performance on the two of the essays are evaluated equally, resulting in 40% of the final rate used to rank the candidates. The applications will be evaluated in April-May 2024 by an Admission committee composed of 15 IGDR scientists. The selected candidates will be invited for an interview at the IGDR. The results of this first selection step should be expected by May 3rd, 2024.
    Note that candidates who did not get selected for interviews can apply to other projects within the Doctoral School of Brittany "Life and Health Sciences", with the rule of one application to one project per candidate. Due to this latter rule of the Doctoral School, while candidates selected for interviews are now eligible to the 6-10 positions offered at the IGDR, they are not eligible anymore to apply to other projects within the Doctoral School "Life and Health Sciences".
  • On-site interviews

    Interviews of the selected candidates are planned at the IGDR on June 11th to June 13th, 2024. For particular situations preventing her/him from joining the IGDR for interviews, the candidate is expected to reach out to the IGDR PhD Program as soon as possible to find an acceptable solution, including remote interviews or subsidisation of travel expenses.

    During the visit, candidates:
    • Will visit the IGDR and meet a representative of the Doctoral School "Life and Health Sciences";
    • Will be interviewed by an ad-hoc Admission Committee composed of 15 IGDR scientists and a representative of the Doctoral School (Day 1 or 2);
    • Will participate to a “speed-meetings” session to meet all the potential PhD supervisors of the projects he/she is interested in. We ask the candidates to meet no more than half of the PhD supervisors proposing a PhD project (Day 3, morning);
    • Will benefit upon request from a dedicated time to meet the potential host laboratory and its members to continue the discussion started during the speed-meeting (Day 3, afternoon);
    • Will all meet together during a social event, organized by PhD students and post-doctoral fellows currently at the IGDR (Evening of Day 2).

    During the interview with the committee, the understanding of the research topics previously described in the essay #1, the understanding of the scientific article chosen for the essay #2, the capacity to synthesize, structure and think after open questions, the general scientific knowledge, technical knowledge, and the motivation of the student to join the IGDR will be evaluated, resulting in 60% of the final rate used by the committee to rank the candidates. Note that the “speed-meeting” session is not part of the evaluation.

    Based on (i) the candidates’ rank resulting from their final rate, (ii) their list of selected PhD projects and (iii) the choice of suitable candidates by the PhD supervisors, the Admission Committee will select candidates to be offered admission, and those to be put on a waiting list. Therefore, the higher a candidate's rank is, the greater is her/his chance of obtaining a thesis at the IGDR, depending on the availability of her/his wishes. Candidates are informed of the final decision of the Admission Committee shortly after the Interview days, and successful candidates are given 7 days to tell us whether they accept admission.