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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 for university professors.

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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