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CSRT report on young researchers

Fabrice Martin, translation by Cynthia Schoch

On September 30, 2007, the French High Council on Research and Technology (CSRT) submitted its report on the status and working conditions of young researchers to the Minister of Higher Education and Research.

In the framework of the "young researchers" project undertaken by French Minister of Higher Education and Research Valérie Pécresse in July 2007, the CSRT was asked to make recommendations regarding the status and working conditions of young researchers and teaching research fellows.

After having consulted the various bodies involved in these issues, the Council has now filed its report. As regards doctoral training per se, its recommendations merely restate, reaffirm and spell out the principles laid out in the decree of August 7, 2006 that frames doctoral training. Moreover, the CSRT solemnly requests that this decree be fully implemented.

Regarding the other aspects touched on, of particular note are the following proposals:
- A "PhD student handbook" should be written up to provide better information for PhD candidates.

- All forms of funding that do not entitle recipients to full social protection (including retirement) should be done away with.

- All manner of programs likely to bring together PhD students and companies are to be developed (CIFRE, CNRS doctoral grants for engineers, PhD student consultants, experiential graduate credit...)

- The rank of PhD should be recognized in civil service careers and specific recruitment procedures made to integrate the major state enterprises.

- The PhD should be recognized in collective bargaining agreements and a charter of good practices with respect to cooperation with doctoral schools and integration of PhDs in business should be promoted among companies – via their professional organizations and trade unions.

- An in-depth analysis of all actors involved in the post-doctoral period, which should become a stepping stone toward a stable position, should be carried out.

- A long-range plan for recruitment in public research organizations and institutions of higher learning should be developed.

“Rapport relatif au statut et aux conditions de travail des jeunes chercheurs et des jeunes enseignants-chercheurs", High Council on Research and Technology, September 30, 2007).