Accreditation to supervise research (HDR)

Anyone who has just been awarded a PhD may request an Accreditation to Supervise Research (HDR). This is the highest degree in the French university system.

What is the Accreditation to supervise research?

The Accreditation to supervise research (HDR) is the highest scientific recognition of a candidate’s ability, which acknowledges the originality of their approach in a scientific field, their ability to master a research strategy in a broad scientific or technical field and their ability to supervise young researchers.
The HDR is not intended as, and must not be seen as a second, higher PhD. It enables the holder to supervise the work of PhD students. It also gives the candidate the necessary qualification become a university professor.

Who can apply?

To apply for an HDR, the candidate must have published a reasonable number of papers in their field and:

  • have a PhD,
  • or a degree in medicine, which authorizes them to practice medicine, dentistry, pharmacy or veterinary medicine and a diploma of advanced studies (DEA), or a master's degree in research.
  • or be able to prove that they have a degree, work or experience that is equal to that of a PhD program.

What are the necessary conditions for applying?

The candidate must have obtained their PhD at least 24 months before applying for the HDR.

After being awarded the PhD, the candidate must notably have written a minimum number of articles in journals which have a selection committee, spoken at conferences which have a selection committee, or be the author of joint papers or research work. The number and nature of publications requested varies depending on the subject area. The selected criteria will be comparable with those used by each CNU section to award qualifications to Professors.

How can I apply?

Candidates should send their applications to get authorization to register for the HDR qualification directly by email to the Research Directorate. It will register the request and send the application to be assessed by rapporteurs.
The reports will be sent to the Research Board which will give a favorable or unfavorable opinion to the registration application.
Several weeks may elapse between applying and the Research Board issuing its opinion. In fact, it can take from a few days to several months to receive the opinions of external parties, and there is no way of knowing how long it will take in advance.
Once the candidate’s accreditation to supervise research has been accepted, they should contact the admissions office of their member institution to process their administrative registration. As soon as they are registered, the applicant can contact their PhD School to organize the viva (make proposals for members of the viva panel, choice of rapporteurs, etc.).
They have one year to defend their HDR at a viva. After this period, the authorization granted will lapse and the applicant must commence the whole procedure again.

Procedure for applying for the permission to register for HDR

A landmark opinion of the Administrative Court of Appeal of Paris points out that the Council of State has specified that “the authorization to sit in front of a jury’ is issued by the President of the University.