The Pasteur-Paris University International Doctoral Program (PPU), an initiative in constant evolution, has just released its call for applications from students who would like to begin their PhD in 2020. 47 project descriptions have been put on line.
The projects in the new PPU call cover a broad spectrum of topics in biology, life sciences and public health. Until November 2, candidates can contact the supervisors who proposed the projects, submit their candidacy, and hope that they will be the one chosen by the supervisor to be presented at the following step of the selection process. “The level of competition is very high; last year more than 1000 applications were received,” explains Dr Susanna Celli, Dean of the PPU program at the Institut Pasteur.
The next step of the rigorous selection process begins on November 2 and involves over 27 working scientists, including members of the PPU committee. It will conclude in February with the invitation of approximately 25 candidates to the Institut Pasteur for the final selection phase, a series of interviews.
An opportunity for international students to build their experience
The students accepted into the PPU program will be an integral part of the Pasteurian community. They will conduct their research in one of the 130 laboratories at the Institut Pasteur, receiving cutting-edge training and interacting with experts across many disciplines. Students in the program follow a rich scientific curriculum that covers broader theoretical topics as well as hands-on "practicals.” In addition, students take courses for developing affiliated skills, such as oral presentation, analysis of scientific articles, and research ethics, as well as French classes. Their active participation in the scientific exchange within the Institut Pasteur builds their experience and leaderships skills. In 2016-17 a student from China launched a Deep Learning club, while more recently a Bolivian student ran a series of workshops on the use of computer graphics programs in science.
“The PPU offers an invaluable opportunity to learn critical professional skills while getting your PhD,” says Dr Molly Ingersoll, tenured immunologist and member of the PPU committee. The program is also praised for being a positive foray into an international, multicultural environment, setting the groundwork for a career using collaboration.
At the end of their studies (typically three years), students defend their PhD according to European guidelines.
The PPU program, a successful initiative in constant evolution
The PPU program began in 2009 with only 5 students. Since then, 64 students have graduated and 67 are currently enrolled. 33 nationality are represented in the program. In addition to its ongoing growth, and geographic spread, the content of the PPU program is in a state of constant development.
A recent evolution, made official in 2019, is the satellite program with the Oxford University Chemistry Department, which aims to promote synergy between the organizations and foster projects to fight antimicrobial resistance (AMR). Last year, the goal to innovate led to a pilot workshop on robotics and artificial intelligence that was introduced in partnership with the MAASC*.
As the PPU Steering Committee prepares to review applications for the recently-announced projects, they also anticipate the arrival the incoming class of 2019 in October. These 14 individuals, chosen from the applications received last year, hail from 10 different countries.
“The first group of the Pasteur PPU alumni have now gotten to the point where they have matured their careers and some are running labs of their own. It was very satisfying to receive project applications this year from former PPU students who would like a PPU student of their own,” says Dr Susanna Celli, with a smile.
Visit the Pasteur-Paris University International Doctoral Program (PPU)'s web page, which includes detailed information about the call.
* MAASCC (Mission Accueil, Accompagnement et Suivi des Carrières des Chercheurs), is a welcome, support and career development structure for scientists.