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This doctoral programme coordinated by the University of Lille - Initiative of Excellence is intended to contribute to structuring research in and around Lille, notably by funding 30 international PhD students who will carry out research in line with the subject fields of the Graduate schools currently under construction.

PEARL will follow the "3i" of a MSC Cofund projects thanks to interdisciplinary research projects, international research placements in partner universities and intersectorial secondments in companies for the PhD students (More information below).

PEARL is supported by 34 partners, including the founding members of I-SITE ULNE, 3 prestigious cross-border universities, 9 companies, 5 doctoral training institutions and 2 housing partners.



Research projects will be interdisciplinary. To ensure this obligation, the thesis will be supervised by 2 supervisors from different scientific fields. 

In addition, PEARL PhD students will be stongly encouraged to interact with their fellows about their research.


PEARL is supported by local authorities, associations and companies. PEARL PhD students will be encouraged to realize a 1-month secondment in a non-academic institution. This experience will equip them with transversal skills.

In addition, to reinforce their employability they will follow training on soft skills such as communication, management, etc.


PEARL PhD students will have to realize a research placement of minimum 1 month in a foreign university. Joint-degree are also encouraged if the research project motivates this choice.

2 universities in Belgium ( KU Leuven & Ghent University) and a British university (The University of Kent) have supported the programme.

PEARL will contribute to the overall research dynamic launched by the I-SITE ULNE project and confirms – more than ever – the excellence in higher education (academics & research) present in Lille. By bringing together a large number of participants, this programme also aims to strengthen cooperation not only with the private sector, but also with cross-border universities. PEARL will play a key role in creating the Euroregional cross-border campus involving I-SITE ULNE, KU LeuvenGhent University and the University of Kent.

The project will kick off in September 2019 with the publication of a call for thesis project proposals in line with the themes of the Graduate Schools. The selected thesis projects will then be submitted to a call for international candidates who wish to carry out a PhD in Lille.