4EU+ calls

4EU+ cotutelles

Call for projects 2024

1. Presentation and objectives

The ambition of the 4EU+ Alliance cotutelles is to strengthen and support research collaborations between the members of the 4EU+ Alliance. We invite teams from member universities to bring their complementary skills and expertise to the fore to develop excellence research within our Alliance.

The 4EU+ Alliance advocates for an innovative and transdisciplinary approach in its very structure. Four thematic transdisciplinary areas, so-called Flagships have been defined. These Flagships are the pillars of the 4EU+ Alliance and act as guides in the implementation of its vision and common approach to education, research and service to society by focusing on four major societal challenges. These 4 Flagships are:

Flagship 1 : Urban Health and Demographic Change

Flagship 2 : Multilingualism, pluralities, citizenship

Flagship 3 : Digitisation - Modelling - Transformation

Flagship 4 : Environmental Transitions

The 4EU+ cotutelles, open to all disciplinary fields, aim to offer doctoral contracts each year for the 3 years of the doctoral thesis, as well as support for mobility in the framework of this co-tutoring. Therefore, the partner universities will fund 3-year doctoral contracts, including one year of mobility at the Co-director’s home university. To facilitate this one-year mobility a “mobility supplement” will be granted to doctoral students. Arrangements will be made for the universities with 4 years of PhD programmes.

For the year 2024-2025, Sorbonne University will fund 4 doctoral contracts, Charles University will finance 2 other contracts and the University of Milan will fund 1 more doctoral contract. The University of Geneva is joining with its standard system for cotutelles with a special communication to foster the initiative. For this second edition, a minimum of 7 PhD theses in co-supervision will be able to start in partnership between one of all the other universities. 

The university of the PhD Director is the funding university. During the doctoral contract, the PhD student must complete a one-year mobility to the university of their Co-director.

This call is very advantageous for doctoral students, as any doctoral candidate enrolled at one of the 4EU+ universities has the opportunity to prepare a co-supervised doctoral work with an additional supervisor for their thesis. Likewise, doctoral students will have the chance to realise a financed one-year mobility to their Co-director’s university.

The 4EU+ cotutelles call, joining the standard frame of cotutelles, will include two partner universities that will act jointly for the supervision of the doctoral work. The two partners of the cotutelle will be the co-directors of the co-supervision.

Nevertheless, 4EU+ would be keen to maintain the spirit of our Alliance whereby each cotutelle could include a third partner university. This partner would not influence over the study of the doctoral candidate but could act as an expert, an advisor or an external referee for this doctoral study (jury for the PhD, etc.) The third partner can be from any member university of the 4EU+ Alliance. For the full list of 4EU+ member universities, please click here.

2. Eligibility criteria

The eligibility criteria and selection procedures for each doctoral research project will follow the rules defined by the local procedures at each institution. These include, among others, the following:

  • At Sorbonne University the Doctoral Schools check the supervision rates and environment of the PhD and inform the Doctoral College. If the Director or the Co-director of the joint Doctoral Research project comes from Sorbonne University, all laboratories affiliated with one of the Doctoral Schools co-accredited by Sorbonne University can take part in the doctoral programme.

  • At the University of Milan, the selected projects will need the formal approval by the relevant Doctoral School as it is mandatory to be included in the public call for candidates.

  • At Charles University, the consent of the Subject Area Board is equally mandatory. The main hub of information for the cotutelles is  (with all the content - guidelines, templates etc., and available in multiple languages). PhD supervisors treat selected candidates like any other PhD candidate (application, individual development plan, thesis defence, etc.).

Applications will be assessed according to the following criteria: Quality, novelty and scientific ambition of the project. The added value of interdisciplinary projects will be taken into consideration. The feasibility of the project will also be assessed.

3. Application procedure (submission by the Director)

The Doctoral Research Project is submitted by the Director.

  • For Sorbonne University Directors: Appel à projets – 4EU+

    (For doctoral candidates from SSH disciplines, they must prepare their research project and submit it to their future Co-directors for approval and submission).

  • For the submission of projects from Charles University, please contact your home institutions. Information on applying for doctoral studies at Charles University can be found here:

  • For the submission of projects from the University of Milan, please contact your home institution.

Please inform your doctoral school or Subject Area Board about this application.

4. Selection of the candidates and registrations

At Sorbonne University, the allocation of doctoral contracts will be done in two stages: a first selection will be made based on the candidate's file (detailed CV, Master's transcript of records; one or more letters of recommendation, one which should come from one of the co-supervisors and needs to be filed according to the procedure established in the call), then the selected candidates will be interviewed.

The adequacy of the project with the candidate's profile will be evaluated by a jury within the Doctoral School or by a commission formed by members from the three partner universities for their scientific expertise according to the selected projects depending on the leading institution. The jury will include, as ex-officio members, the head of the doctoral programme and representatives of the Doctoral Schools concerned. The PhD candidates will be invited to submit their structured proposals following the procedures of the Director’s home university.

At the University of Milan, admission to the doctoral programmes takes place through a public selection procedure involving the evaluation of qualifications and the comparative assessment of candidates. Specifically, each cotutelle will be mentioned in the public general call, and potential candidates will apply for them. An Examining Committee, appointed in compliance with relevant Italian regulations, will carry out the procedure. The Committee will be integrated by inviting the head of the doctoral program or a representative of the interested doctoral schools as ex-officio members for the interview.

At Charles University, it is necessary for all potential applicants who are not yet enrolled in a doctoral study programme to select one and apply here: Admission - Charles University ( After successfully undergoing the selection procedure (organized individually by the respective faculties) and enrolling, the respective cotutelle agreement can be signed. In most cases, any new application has to be submitted before the end of April. The process of assessment usually involves a review of the applicant’s previous higher education, their list of publications, the proposal of the doctoral project and evaluation of their general capacity to conduct research in the respective field. The assessment is conducted in person by a committee organized by the subject-area board.

5. Follow-up of funded co-tutoring

The support of Sorbonne University and 4EU+ must be indicated in all written and oral communications referring to the project. A brief mid-term report on the ongoing work and the progress made will be requested.

6. Timetable

The deadlines for this call differ for each partner university, please refer to the official PhD call for application at your university.