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The “habilitation à diriger des recherches”

The French “habilitation à diriger des recherches” (abbreviated as HDR) is an accreditation to supervise research. It is a national degree of higher education that can be acquired after a PhD. This degree is required to supervise PhD theses and to apply to university professorships.

According to the decree of November 23, 1988, “The 'habilitation à diriger des recherches' is a recognition of the high scientific level of the candidate, the originality of their approach in a field of science, their ability to master a research strategy in a sufficiently wide scientific and technological field and their capacity to steer young researchers” (the 1988 decree was amended in 1992, 1995 and 2002).

To obtain this degree, the candidate must prepare a dissertation containing several published books or articles, accompanied by a perspective, a curriculum vitae, and a complete list of publications. A synthesis showing their experience in the initiation and the management of research must also be included. The degree is granted after the candidate has defended their dissertation before a jury of their scientific peers. The authorization to proceed with the defence is issued by the university on the basis of reports written by two members of the jury.


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