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Cotutelles de thèse

A cotutelle de thèse project or PhD partnership is conducted on the basis of a formal agreement between a Swiss and a foreign higher education institution and comprises the following:

  • a doctoral thesis completed under the direction of two supervisors
  • a joint thesis defence or similar, in which both participating higher education institutions are involved
  • issue of a joint doctoral degree certificate or two certificates stating that doctoral study was completed either in the scope of a cotutelle de thèse or a PhD partnership

Each year, the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) awards funding to cotutelle de thèse projects or PhD partnerships that have been defined in a cooperation agreementbetween a Swiss higher education institution and a partner institution abroad (Europe and Israel). The allowance of up to CHF 10,000 serves in particular to cover travel and living expenses of the PhD student and the PhD supervisor from the Swiss higher education institution. swissuniversities is responsible for administering the programme.
Doctoral students are eligible to participate if they:

  • are matriculated or employed at a Swiss higher education institution
  • are Swiss citizens or holders of a B, C or G residence permit
  • have studied at least one year at the Bachelor’s, Master’s or doctoral level in Switzerland by the application deadline of 31 March of the year for which the call was issued
  • are under the age of 40 when submitting the application (key date is 31 March of the year for which the call was issued), or can provide a well-founded justification for exceeding the age limit.

Definition

Cotutelle de thèse: cooperation between two higher education institutions that have the authority to confer a PhD
PhD partnership: cooperation between two higher education institutions of which only one institution has the authority to confer a PhD

Submitting the application

Details are available in the explanatory notes.

  • Who: the office responsible for cotutelle de thèse projects and/or PhD partnerships at the Swiss higher education institution
  • When: until 31 March of the year for which the call was issued
  • To: cotutelles(at)swissuniversities.ch
  • How: complete dossier in the form of a single PDF file in addition to the application form as a Word file

The two participating partner institutions are responsible for approving a cotutelle de thèse project or a PhD partnership. The institutions draw up a cooperation agreement that defines the conditions (deadlines, responsibilities) for conducting a cotutelle de thèse project or a PhD partnership. The cooperation agreement shall at the very least regulate the mandatory points mentioned in the explanatory notes. The Swiss higher education institution is responsible for submitting the application documents to the General Secretariat of swissuniversities.

Important! Some higher education institutions set their own application deadlines. Please contact the responsible office at your institution to verify the deadlines and ensure that you submit your application on time.

The expert committee reviews the applications in May of the year for which the call was issued. Approved funding is then disbursed to the Swiss higher education institution, which is responsible for administering the allowance.

Documentation

Application portfolio

The following documents must be submitted:

  • application for funding
  • cooperation agreement between the partner higher education institutions. The cooperation agreement shall at the very least regulate the mandatory points mentioned in chapter 2.2 of the explanatory notes. Sample agreements are available in German/French, German/English and French/English
  • letter of justification from PhD supervisor at the Swiss higher education institution
  • letter of justification from PhD supervisor at the foreign higher education institution
  • if applicable: letter of motivation (applicants over the age of 40), copy of residence permit (non-Swiss applicants), confirmation of matriculation or student ID from the Swiss higher education institution (applicants not holding a degree from a Swiss higher education institution)

Explanatory notes

Explanatory notes

  • on grant applications
  • on drawing up a cooperation agreement
  • on the evaluation of applications
  • on the validity of the cooperation agreement and project conclusion

Final report

A final report (form available in French or German) must be submitted to swissuniversities after the doctoral degree is completed or if a project is discontinued.

Contacts at the participating higher education institutions

Cantonal universities

Swiss universities of applied sciences and arts

  • Berner Fachhochschule : Frédéric Pichelin Email
  • Fachhochschule Nordwestschweiz : Karin Hiltwein Email
  • Fachhochschule St.Gallen (FHO) : Tatiana Pinto Cardoso Email
  • Hochschule Luzern : Antonio Baldassarre Email
  • Interkantonale Hochschule für Heilpädagogik : Monika Wicki Email
  • Zürcher Hochschule für Angewandte Wissenschaften : Martin Jaekel Email
  • Haute école spécialisée de Suisse occidentale : Isabelle Skakni Email
  • Scuola universitaria professionale della Svizzera italiana : Susanne Walheim Email

Swiss universities of teacher education

  • Haute école pédagogique BEJUNE (Berne, Jura, Neuchâtel) : Francesco Arcidiacono Email
  • Haute école pédagogique Fribourg : Bertrand Forclaz Email
  • Haute école pédagogique du Valais : Isabel Voirol-Rubido Email
  • Haute école pédagogique Vaud : Pierre Ramelot Email
  • Pädagogische Hochschule Luzern : Dorothee Brovelli Email
  • Pädagogischen Hochschule St.Gallen : Ignaz Strebel Email
  • Pädagogische Hochschule Thurgau : Christoph Suter Email

Legal basis

The legal basis for cotutelle de thèse projects with partner universities in France and Italy is the applicable framework agreement drawn up by an authority at the level of a university rectors’ conference in addition to the cooperation agreement that is concluded for each individual project (see the sample agreement).

There are no agreements at the level of a university rectors’ conference for other countries. The collaboration is based on the cooperation agreement drawn up for each individual project.

Originally conceived for the cotutelle de thèse projects between two universities with the right to award doctorates, since 2018 the programme has also been open to PhD partnerships between two higher education institutions of which only one has the right to award doctorates.