Accreditation to supervise research (HDR)

Researchers who have held a doctorate for at least two years may apply for accreditation to supervise research (Habilitation à Diriger des Recherches - HDR). This is the highest degree in the French university system.

What is the accreditation to supervise research (HDR)?

Accreditation to supervise research (Habilitation à Diriger des Recherches - HDR) recognizes the researcher's high scientific level, the originality of the researcher’s approach in a scientific field, the researcher’s ability to master a research strategy in a sufficiently broad scientific or technological field, and the researcher’s capacity to supervise young researchers.

By design, the HDR is not, and should never be, considered as a second, higher-level doctorate. It allows its holder to supervise doctoral students. It also allows the holder to apply for the position of full Professor.

Who is eligible?

To apply for an HDR, you must :

•    Hold a doctoral degree or a medical, dentistry, pharmacy or veterinary degree, and a diploma of advanced studies, or a research master’s degree. 

•    Or present evidence of a degree, work or experience equivalent to a doctorate. 

What are the conditions for applying?

You must have obtained a doctorate at least 24 months prior to applying for HDR.

Since obtaining your doctorate, you must have published a sufficient number of articles in peer-reviewed journals, in collective works or research literature, and given lectures at symposia with selection committees. The number and type of publication required varies depending on the discipline.

The criteria are comparable to those imposed by each section of the National Council of Universities (CNU) to obtain full professorship.

Special case

If you belong to the Faculty of Medicine or the Faculty of Dental Surgery and Odontology, your application must first be submitted to the Scientific Council of these faculties. After examination, the latter will forward the request to the Academic Council (CAc) of Université Côte d'Azur, via the Research, Valorization and Innovation Department (DRVI). A single internal rapporteur, who is a member of the CAc, will then draft a summary of the reports submitted by the Scientific Council of the relevant faculty.

What supporting documents do I need to provide when applying?

These documents can be reviewed and expanded in preparation for the defense: 

•    Curriculum vitae highlighting activities that reflect your ability to lead research.

•    Bibliography organized along the usual categories required by national and international assessment committees; publications submitted and not yet accepted by a review committee are not taken into consideration.

•    Summary in which you present your research. This summary may still be a draft, but it must clearly specify the nature of the results obtained since the time of the doctoral defense and the research topics developed. The format and content of the summary must follow the practices recommended by the corresponding section of the National Council of Universities. In the Literature and Human Sciences departments, these documents and most publications must be in French. We also recommend that you provide a shorter summary (max. 1 page).

•    Letter of recommendation written by a permanent member of a Université Côte d'Azur laboratory, who is recognized in the field, is accredited to supervise research, and will serve as advisor.

If you are not a member of a Université Côte d'Azur laboratory, a recommendation from the person in charge of funding the defense (Doctoral School Director, Laboratory Director or Component Director).

•    Application form completed by you. Part 2 of the document must be completed by your advisor (the application form can be found on the page “Accreditation to Supervise Research at Université Côte d’Azur”). 

•    When submitting your application, your advisor must provide a list of at least four experts from outside Université Côte d'Azur competent to examine your application.

As far as possible, the proposed list must respect gender equality.

Experts proposed may be members of the planned or tentative final defense jury and must have no conflict of interest with the applicant.

The form must be signed by you and the advisor.

How do I submit an application?

Send your HDR application directly by email to the Department of Research, Valorization and Innovation (DRVI) at

Your application must include the mandatory supporting documents, and a copy must be sent to the relevant Doctoral School administration.

Once DRVI has received your duly completed application, it will send you an acknowledgement of receipt, informing you that your application has been registered.

How is the application processed?

Once DRVI has received the duly completed application, the entire application file is forwarded to the Vice President Research and Innovation for appointment of a rapporteur within the Academic Council (CAc).

The appointed internal rapporteur must inform DRVI of any conflict of interest as soon as the application is received.
The appointed rapporteur then calls on two external rapporteurs, who may or may not be drawn from the list provided by the advisor and who are tasked with writing an expert’s report on the application.

The three reports (internal and external) are presented to the Academic Council (CAc) restricted for HDR accreditations, which issues an opinion on the application.

How long does it take to process an application?

On average, applications are processed in two to three months. DRVI and all the members of the restricted CAc are informed of the expected deadline.

If the aim is to apply for a CNU qualification within the year, processing times must be anticipated.

Contact your Doctoral School prior to submitting your application for HDR to find out about the processing times. This will help you organize your defense after receiving the approval of the President of Université Côte d’Azur.

How will the decision be notified?

DRVI will forward to you the notification of the decision of the President of Université Côte d'Azur based on the recommendations of the CAc restricted for HDR accreditation.
If your application is accepted, you must contact the Student Administration Office (Scolarité) of your component to register administratively and pay your registration fees. For your information, please note that the Student Administration Office (Scolarité) closes administrative registrations for HDR at the end of the calendar year and at the end of the academic year. To find out the exact closing dates, please contact the Student Administration Office of your component.

After registration, you can contact your Doctoral School to organize your defense (proposed jury composition, choice of rapporteurs, etc.).

You have one year from the date of notification of the decision of the President of Université Côté d'Azur to present your defense. After this period, the president’s approval becomes null and void.
If your application for HDR defense is not accepted, you will be notified by post with acknowledgement of receipt.

Special case

If you wish to defend your HDR after the one-year deadline
You must send an email to with a copy for information to the relevant Doctoral School, specifying the date on which the initial approval was obtained.

Attach to your email a signed letter explaining the reasons why you wish to obtain an extension and the date on which you wish to defend your HDR.
The extension request will be forwarded to the HDR-restricted CAc for approval. In light of the information provided, the members of the restricted CAc will issue an opinion on the action to be taken, and the President of Université Côte d'Azur will make the final decision:

•    Either an extension approval.
•    Or an extension refusal, and you will need to renew the whole procedure.

The decision will be notified to you by email.

If you decide to withdraw from the HDR process

Send an email to with a copy for information to the relevant Doctoral School, indicating your wish to withdraw from the HDR process. If you wish to submit a new application, you will have to repeat the entire procedure. Please note that a favorable opinion no longer applies after one year (unless an extension is granted).


Please find below the PDF version of the procedure for obtaining Accreditation to Supervise Research and the application form:

HDR Application Procedure
(last updated April, 2024)

Application form
(last updated April 2024)