Prof. Willem Jonker, CEO of EIT Digital, today signed an agreement with representatives of the French government to set up a joint doctoral program that combines France's industrial doctoral scheme (called CIFRE) with additional innovation and entrepreneurship training offered by EIT Digital.
EIT Digital's "Industrial Doctorate" initiative was launched in 2016, whereby doctoral candidates work under academic supervision on thesis topics from frontline development with both major companies and SMEs as industrial partners. Integrated thesis work enables the doctoral students to become very good scientists and entrepreneurial innovators.
France's CIFRE scheme provides financial support for up to € 14,000 per year over a period of three years to any company that recruits an employee whose research mission is in partnership with an academic laboratory. This then constitutes the thesis work required for a doctoral degree. The scheme is managed by the National Association for Research and Technology (ANRT) on behalf of the Ministry of National Education, Higher Education and Research (MENESR).
The objective of the new CIFRE-EIT Digital program is to allow CIFRE PhD students to benefit from an additional phase that matures their work in an entrepreneurial way on a European scale. Doctoral students in the new scheme will be able to extend their theses up to an additional six months with funding from EIT Digital.
This partnership agreement, which recognizes the contribution of EIT Digital to doctoral training in France, will be implemented at EIT Digital's French sites in Paris, Rennes and Sophia Antipolis (NICE).
Prof. Willem Jonker, CEO of EIT Digital, said: "EIT Digital is honored to be recognized by the Ministry of National Education, Higher Education and Research (MENESR) and the National Association for Research (ANRT) as an organization where entrepreneurship and higher education are recognized, especially at the doctoral level."
Prof. Alain Beretz, Secretary General of MENESR, said: "This new joint CIFRE-EIT Digital program will make these doctorates professionals with an entrepreneurial and technical profile, able to understand the scientific and economic stakes of digitalization while at the same time being sensitized to the mechanisms of the creation of a company."