Call for Doctoral Nexus projects - 2024 campaign

ExposUM is an initiative of the University of Montpellier and its partners1 to establish an open-ended institute for the study, training and science-society interaction of the environmental determinants of human health. Winner of the ExcellenceS call for projects (PIA4) and supported by the Occitanie Region, ExposUM is funded to the tune of 46.4 M€ over the period 2022-2030.

Winners of the 2024 call for projects

Scientific scope

Theexposome is the set of environmental and social factors whose own effects, combined with the intrinsic characteristics of individuals, underlie the onset, evolution and severity of infectious or non-communicable human diseases. In this sense, it is the environmental counterpart of the genome, with which it interacts throughout an individual's life.

Call objectives

The training component of the Institut ExposUM aims to :

  1. Decompartmentalizing training (interdisciplinarity)
  2. Contribute to skills enhancement
  3. Greater integration of links with developing countries

To this end, several actions will be organized, including the funding of doctoral contracts as part of a program that structures them into interdisciplinary networks, hereafter referred to as Doctoral Nexus.

The Doctoral Nexus are networks of 3 to 4 PhD students from different disciplines (e.g. social sciences - mathematical modeling - biology), affiliated to at least two different research units. They will be funded on the basis of :

  • a joint research project, drawn up by the principal investigator in collaboration with the thesis supervisors involved, encompassing all disciplines, and aimed at studying one or more aspects of the exposome as defined above,
  • an individual, disciplinary thesis topic for each doctoral student involved

Each thesis will be funded from the outset for a period of four years. This extra year is justified by the need to set up specific training programs and to allocate more time to interdisciplinarity. In particular, exchanges between laboratories will be encouraged.

TheExposUM Institute 's doctoral promotions will be strengthened by the introduction of an additional joint pedagogical program focusing on methodology and skills acquisition, in particular interdisciplinarity and transdisciplinarity, run within the framework of the ExposUM Institute, without replacing the training courses organized by the doctoral schools. As part of this program, doctoral students in a network will be tasked with organizing a one-day conference (both scientifically and logistically) during their third year. They will receive a grant from the Institute for this purpose.

Calendar

  • Publication AAP Doctoral NexusWave 2: December 15, 2023
  • Deadline for receipt of projects: February 4, 2024, 2 p.m. CET
  • Announcement of results: second half of February 2024
  • Audition of candidates: mid-April 2024
  • Start of thesis: September-December 2024

Financing arrangements

For the 2024 campaign(2nd wave of this AAP), the Institute is proposing the allocation of a maximum of 15 grants (e.g. 5 Nexus, each comprising 3 theses), funded by the ANR and the Occitanie Region.

This funding covers the salaries of doctoral students over 4 years (i.e. around 167k€) as well asenvironmental costs. These include the costs of additional training courses organized by the Institute, including the seminar, and operating expenses. The distribution of the operating budget within the Nexus is decided by the project leader, who coordinates its distribution within the Nexus, i.e. 60k€ for a Nexus of 3 PhD students or 80k€ for a Nexus of 4 PhD students (20k€/doctorant in total).

Eligibility criteria

Please note that failure to comply with these criteria will result in automatic ineligibility.

  • The project's main sponsor must be a permanent or contract staff member affiliated with a UR, UMR or UMI.2 part of the Institut ExposUM consortium and employed by one of the consortium partners3. UAR, UExp, UPS, US4in particular, are not eligible to apply for this AAP.
  • All doctoral students must be registered at the University of Montpellier. Thesis directors must be affiliated with one of the UM doctoral schools listed in this call for proposals.5 AND candidates must be enrolled in a discipline for which the diploma can be awarded by the UM.
  • The project must involve collaboration between at least two different research units (UR, UMR or UMI of the Institut ExposUM consortium).
  • Thesis supervisors must be different for each thesis (in the exceptional case of international co-supervision, identical co-supervision between 2 theses may be accepted with justification).
  • Proposed theses must last 4 years.
  • Doctoral contracts must start in September/December 2024; staggered start dates will not be accepted.
  •  Each doctoral student's thesis work must be full-time.
  • The project must aim to produce knowledge relating to the exposome - i .e., any determinant of human health of environmental origin in the broadest sense.

It is possible to apply for this PAA at the same time as applying for the Research ExposUM PAA. However, the project must be viable even without funding Research.

How to submit

The project must be drawn up in French or English from the simplified dossier, following the instructions given therein.

The dossier is sent by the main sponsor, with a copy to the unit director and the director of each thesis, by e-mail, mentioning [AAP Doctoral Nexus 2024] in the subject line.

Before February 4, 2024, 2pm CET.

Selection procedure              

Completed applications will be evaluated on the basis of the quality of the scientific project and the individual subjects proposed, as well as their relevance to the Institute's priorities and themes (see Selection criteria). This evaluation will be carried out by a committee made up of the directors of the divisions or doctoral schools and representatives of the CoDir or COSS of the Institut ExposUM. The sponsor is invited to provide a brief justification of the relevance of the proposed Nexus in the light of these selection criteria.

The results will be announced in mid-February, to allow time for the identification of candidates.

The selected Nexus sponsors undertake to take all the necessary steps to identify candidates to fill the theses that will be funded.

The selection of doctoral students will be validated by the doctoral schools, and implies publication of the proposed topics in advance. The Institute will publicize thesis topics by forwarding them to the EDs for publication on their respective websites and ADUM, and by posting them on the Nexus AAP page on the UM website. To facilitate the identification of candidates, we encourage the thesis directors concerned to circulate their thesis project form to their usual networks (masters, etc.).

Candidates wishing to apply for a topic are invited to send their application to the relevant Nexus project leader, with a copy to the Institut ExposUM. Contacts for applications will be specified on the topics.

Candidates will be pre-selected by the Nexus thesis directors (minimum 2, maximum 4 per subject), and will then be auditioned by a committee made up of representatives from the doctoral schools, who will rank them in mid-April.

Selection criteria

  • Clear identification of the exposome field explored.
  • Original interdisciplinarity relevant to the subject: the involvement of different doctoral schools in a network will be encouraged.
  • Methodological skills.
  • Impact potential (both fundamental and applied).
  • Feasibility (scientific and financial environment already in place to ensure successful completion of the thesis).
  • Coordinating individual projects.
  • Relevance to Institut ExposUM's strategic priorities (initiating new partnerships, One Health approach, Global Health and the South, promoting the involvement of the Humanities and Social Sciences).

Support for the integration of the Humanities and Social Sciences

If Nexus candidates would like support in integrating the Humanities and Social Sciences into their Nexus, the Institut ExposUM's Axis 2, headed by Aurélie Binot, offers support/incubation.

You can request this support by sending an e-mail (subject: [Nexus SHS]).

Contact

For further information on this call for projects, please send an e-mail to (subject: [Contact Nexus]).

Commitments of the carrier

Carriers undertake to :

  • Organize regular meetings (at least 3 times a year) with Nexus thesis supervisors and PhD students, and provide the Institute with a report on the activities carried out each year.
  • Respect, in the design and implementation of the project submitted to this call for projects, the values and principles of scientific integrity intended to guarantee the honest and scientifically rigorous nature of all research work, as referred to in article L.211-2 of the French Research Code and set out in the Charte nationale de déontologie des métiers de la recherche and the Charte relative à l'intégrité scientifique de l'Université de Montpellier.
  • Compliance with the Nagoya Protocol, where applicable.
  • Include the logos of the University of Montpellier, France 2030, Institut ExposUM, Région Occitanie and/or ERDF in all documents relating to the project. Specific instructions concerning the communication obligations of project sponsors will be communicated to them.
  • Send to the Institute (rf.re1713784749illep1713784749tnomu1713784749@paa-1713784749musop1713784749xe1713784749), an annual report and a final report no later than two months after the end of the project (financial statement and summary report), which can be used in the University's communication media according to a template provided. A project guide detailing management procedures and reporting expectations will be sent to the selected project sponsors.
  • Apply the UM's publication signature charter to all scientific productions; respect the provisions of open science and the Law for a Digital Republic ( open access publication). The holders of UM sub-tutored laboratories will deposit the full text of publications in the open archive(https://hal.umontpellier.fr).
  • Take steps to obtain the necessary research authorizations/approvals in regulated sectors (genetically modified organisms, use of animals for scientific purposes, health data, use of genetic resources and resulting benefit-sharing, bioethics, etc.).

Complete list of research structures that can contribute to the ExposUM Institute6 :

ABSYS, AGAP, AIDA, AMAP, ANALYSES, ART-Dev, ASTRE, BC2M, BCM, BioWooEB, BRM, CBGP, CBS, CDE, CEE-M, CEFE, CEMIPAI, CEPEL, CERCOP, ChimEco, CRBM, CREAM, DEFE, DGIMI, DIADE, DiaScope, DMEM, ECO&SOLS, ECOTRON, EDPFM, EDSM, ESPACE-DEV, EuroMov DHM, Forêts et Sociétés, G-EAU, GECO, Génopolys, GM, HortSys, HSM, IATE, IBMM, ICGM, ICSM, IDEDH, IDESP, IEM, IES, IGF, IGH, IGMM, IHD, IHPE, IMAG, IMAGINE, INM, INNOVATION, INTERTRYP, IPSiM, IRCM, IRIM, IRMB, ISDM, ISEM, ITAP, L2C, LBE, LBN, LDP, LEPSE, LICeM, LIRDEF, LIRMM, LISAH, LMGC, LPHI, LSTM, LUPM, Maraîchage, MARBEC, MISTEA, MIVEGEC, MMDN, MoISA, MRE, MRM, MSH Sud, OREME, PCCEI, Pech Rouge, PHIM, PhyMedExp, QualiSud, Recyclage et Risque, SantESiH, SELMET, SENS, SPO, Sys2Diag, TETIS, TransVIHMI, Vassal, VBIC

Institut ExposUM governance

Management Committee (CoDir) : Éric Delaporte (dir.), Aurélie Binot (interfaces), Charlotte Boullé (training), Mircea Sofonea (research).

Operational team: Morgane Cottin, Camille Couralet, Noémie Moret, Elodie Suttling (project manager).

Scientific and Strategic Orientation Council(COSS) : Jacques Mercier (pres.), Amaria Baghdadli, Bernadette Bensaude-Vincent, Pascal Demoly, Delphine Destoumieux-Garzon, Hélène Fenet, Didier Fontenille, Sylvain Gandon, Julie Pannequin, Denis Pesche, Coumba Toure Kane, Muriel Vayssier-Tarissat, Laurent Visier.

Conseil d'Orientation et d'Évaluation de la Research (COER): Manouk Abkarian, Anne-Muriel Arigon, Charlotte Boullé, Anca-Mirela Chiriac, Constance Delaby, Gauthier Dobigny, Elena Gomez, Christelle Gramaglia, Antoine Gross, Alexandre Hobeika, Nadine Laguette, Georges Lutfalla, Antonio Maraver, Anatja Samouelian, Mircea Sofonea (pres.), Jérôme Thireau, Annelise Tran.


  1. UM, Occitanie Region, CNRS, IRD, INRAE, CIRAD, INSERM, CHU Montpellier, ICM, Institut Agro Montpellier, ENSCM, Ifremer, INRIA.
  2. Unité de Research, Unité Mixte de Research, Unité Mixte Internationale.
  3. The promoter must already be an official member of the structure in question - or be so by October 2024 at the latest - and in the case of contract staff, their contract with the same structure must run until the planned end of the project. The project may have one or more partner structures. However, only structures on the list of eligible structures on this call will be able to receive funding under the project.
  4. Unité d'Appui à la Research, Unité Expérimentale, Unité Propre de Service, Unité de Service.
  5. ED 58 Langues, littératures, cultures, civilisations [LLC]
    ED 60 Territoires, temps, Societies and Development [TTSD]
    ED 166 Information Structures Systems [I2S]
    ED 168 Chemical and Biological Sciences for Health [CBS2]
    ED 231 Economics and Management [EDEG]
    ED 459 Balard Chemical Sciences [SCB]
    ED 461 Law and Political Science [DSP]
    ED 463 Human Movement Sciences [SMH]
    ED 584 GAIA (Biodiversity, Agriculture, Food, Environment, Land, Water)
  6. As a reminder, only URs, UMRs and UMIs are eligible to apply for this call for proposals. The UAR, UExp, US, UPS mentioned in this general list are not eligible for the present call.