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PhD selection

The ILL hosts around 40 PhD students. The topics of these PhDs cover every possible type of research with neutrons.

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PhD selection

PhD selection rules

The organisation of a PhD within the ILL PhD Programme involves a two-stage process:


1-    Project selection 

Projects which satisfy the criteria relating to the academic in-house mission of the PhD programme are put into competition via a transparent selection process.
Scientific excellence is the main selection criterion. However, other criteria also play a role.
The mission of ILL PhD programme is to enhance the academic life of the ILL while at the same time training future experts in neutron science.
The PhD programme is in particular intended to help ILL scientists to strengthen their scientific profile by establishing close ties with the user community.
Therefore the ILL supervisor of a PhD proposal is expected to play an important role in the definition of the project.
In addition, ILL Management must make sure that a suitable balance is achieved in terms of the topical and national distribution of ILL PhD students.

Finally, as the ILL desires to maintain a Graduate School of the highest possible quality, which naturally includes the quality of the PhD students, the ILL will favor the selection of PhD projects whose proposals already include a strong PhD candidate (whose CV and cover letter should be attached to the email sent to phd(at) along with the other application documents).

If a proposal is selected, the proposal owners become the PhD supervisors.

2-    Student selection


Any students interested in any of the selected PhD proposals may apply. Note that if a potential supervisor has a suitable candidate in mind, he/she can enclose the student’s application when submitting the PhD proposal.  As mentioned above, PhD proposals including a strong student candidate are favorably seen in the selection process.

It is the role of the external and ILL supervisors to select one candidate from among the applicants.

The student selected will then be invited to the ILL for an interview. The interview is held in English and lasts around one hour. About twenty minutes of this time will be devoted to a presentation of the student's diploma/master studies and an assessment of the PhD project. The rest of the time will be devoted to questions from the members of the interview panel. During the course of the day, the student will also meet one of the ILL directors privately, a member of our HR Service and some of our current PhD students. He/she will also be given a short tour of the relevant experimental facilities. Lunch will be provided and the ILL will reimburse the student's travel expenses.



Giovanna Cicognani