Training by research: doctoral and post doctoral training
Training students and professionals through research is one of the SPINTEC key missions. Ensuring the highest standard of scientific and human management towards the early stage researchers (PhDs and post docs) is a commitment we share within all INAC teams.
SPINTEC students belong to 2 different doctorate schools (School of Physics and EE School (EEATS – Ecole Doctorale Electronique, Electrotechnique, Automatique et Traitement du Signal). Over the last 5 years, a total number of 43 PhDs has been hired (of which 31 PhDs starting their PhDs between 2009-2014), to weight against the limited number of staff. Hiring such a large number of PhDs has been possible by combining a large diversity of funding grants: CEA grants (full or joint CFR financing), Grenoble doctoral schools grants (MESR), industrial funded PhDs (CIFRE), Nanosciences Foundation, joint grants with CNRS (BDI), co-financed with industry and other institutions (CNES, DGA) and finally direct financing by internal funding. Diversifying and securing the funding sources is a constant challenge, worth attempting as the number of high-quality candidates we are able to attract is larger than the number of PhD positions we are able to finance.
During their contract, we monitor closely the scientific achievements (publications, conferences) as well as the insertion into our ecosystem (PhD supervisor, collaborators, other PhDs). This monitoring includes one-to-one interviews at critical stages of the PhD (typically in the course of the 1st year, and at the beginning of 3rd year). When specific difficulties arise, the issues are handled associating (when needed) the PhD supervisor, the group and laboratory management, and the INAC human resource team.
We dedicate a specific effort, supervised by the INAC assistant in charge of training through research, to ensure that the largest possible number of INAC PhDs and post docs take advantage of the specific training proposed to prepare their future careers (such as job-interviews, knowledge of innovation models in industry…). Beyond training, it is checked that each student builds in due time a personal career plan. Data carefully gathered on the professional insertion of former SPINTEC trainees (PhDs and post docs) indicate that almost all of them find a permanent position within 3 years, 1/3rd in the private sector (e.g. companies), 2/3rd in public research. This is something we take a great pride of and, combined with our capacity to find funding, such figures help attract talents.
In the reported period, the increasing contractual resources also allowed SPINTEC to hire a larger number of post docs and temporary employees in the frame of ambitious scientific projects. Obviously, these facts are positive tendencies fueling the dynamism of our research teams. For example, in 2014, it is interesting to mention that we have a ratio (PhDs + post docs) / permanent researchers larger than 2 (2.17).
Finally, we would like to mention the strong involvement in teaching activities, especially at UJF from staff as well as students. SPINTEC supports the involvement of PhDs students in teaching activities, either in the frame of the “Monitorat”, or through appointments for specific courses: we indeed consider this is part of the training, at least for the students considering future academic careers.
The strong participation of SPINTEC researchers to the InMRAM and the European ESONN Schools (teaching and training in the lab) is also worth noting.