Specific doctoral contracts for normaliens (CDSN)

Specific doctoral contracts for normaliens are awarded by the Ministry of National Education, Higher Education, Research and Innovation to the ENSs to encourage their students to complete a doctoral thesis. The national mission of the ENS implies that these contracts be distributed throughout the country and in the best French research laboratories.
The duty of the ENS is to respect the distribution imposed by the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation, i.e., 50% of the CDSNs of the four schools allocated to the regions.

Presentation of doctoral contracts specific to Normaliens (CDSN)

As part of their mission to train students for careers in higher education and research, the École Normale Supérieure awards doctoral contracts called "contrats doctoraux spécifiques pour normaliens" (CDSN) to their students each year. To this end, the Ministry of Higher Education and Research includes in its grant to ENS Paris-Saclay the equivalent of the financing of 122 contracts. The research topics associated with these contracts are intended to concern all the disciplines taught at the School and, within these, all the themes. Interdisciplinary research projects or pioneering themes are also concerned. Doctoral students benefiting from a CDSN will be assigned to the best French research laboratories throughout the country. The ENS transfers the financing of each contract to the institution of destination of the future doctoral student.

The four ENS are required to allocate at least half of these doctoral contracts outside the Île-de-France region. This global objective, assessed as a multi-year average, translates for the ENS Paris-Saclay into a distribution of its CDSN in three contingents:

  • Regional quota outside the Île-de-France region of a minimum of 40%,
  • Quota within the perimeter of the University of Paris-Saclay (including ENS) of a maximum of 30
  • Quota for the Île-de-France region outside the University of Paris-Saclay of a maximum of 30%.

The number of CDSN that ENS Paris-Saclay can propose is lower than the number of applications from students of the Ecole Normale Supérieure and, taking into account the requirement of quality of the file (candidate, subject, supervision) on the one hand, and the constraints of geographical distribution mentioned above, on the other hand, the attribution process is selective.