Interview with Michel Guillot, currently in charge of doctoral and post-doctoral affairs at INED
(Interview conducted in October 2018)
What does the delegation in charge of doctoral and post-doctoral affairs do?
Though INED does not confer PhDs, it does host approximately 40 doctoral students enrolled in PhD programs in France and abroad, providing them with access to the Institute’s many resources (IT, documentation, etc.) and integrating them into INED research units where they receive supervision from an INED researcher in addition to their thesis advisor. The Institute also organizes a wide variety of activities for PhD students, all designed to help them in their future professional research career. The aim of doctoral student hosting is not only to accompany students all the way to the thesis defense but also to train researchers so that after obtaining their PhD they can contribute to population sciences through publications and successfully conduct research projects. INED also hosts around 10 post-doctoral fellows, young researchers who have recently defended their thesis and are pursuing their training either by conducting their own project under INED researcher supervision or by joining a research project headed by an INED researcher.
What does your work involve?
As head of doctoral and post-doctoral affairs at INED, I steer candidate selection and the funding and follow-up of PhD students and post-doctoral fellows at the Institute. This involves working with several other actors: the office of the director, INED researchers, thesis advisors outside INED, the selection and follow-up committee, and the Institute’s various administrative services. I am also the interface between those actors and doctoral students-post-docs for all types of questions concerning doctoral student and post-doc hosting at INED. And I represent INED at the new Graduate School for Demography and Population Sciences (REDPOP) school of research, which brings together a number of French universities around a “Master’s-Doctorate” program in demography and population sciences. INED’s primary work at the school will be doctoral training. The school opens this year with the first cohort of first-year Master’s students.
How do you see your future work?
In the coming months and years I’ll be active in several areas. The first is doctoral and post-doc international mobility. We encourage doctoral students and post docs to experience the international research world, its different ways of working and different theoretical and methodological approaches. As research becomes increasingly global, having a PhD without any international experience is becoming both a professional and intellectual handicap. Standards are changing quickly and it is becoming more and more difficult to publish in international journals without complying with very precise norms. Lastly, the new Graduate School in Demography and Population Sciences (REDPOP) offers many opportunities to develop PhD student training at INED that will be both interdisciplinary and grounded in a body of shared knowledge.