Skip to main content
EU Science Hub

CDP Programme: Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

CDP Programme: Frequently asked questions (FAQ)


  1. What are the eligibility criteria to participate in the CDP programme?

The eligibility criteria for the CDP programme are:

  • HEI/universities must originate from an EU Member State or a country associated to the EU Research Programme Horizon 2020.
  • HEI/universities must be entitled to award doctoral degrees (PhD) directly and have administrative autonomy including signing agreements with external partners.

See Collaborative Doctoral Partnership programme - eligibility criteria

  1. Which countries are eligible to participate in the CDP programme?

All EU Member States and countries associated to the EU Research Programme Horizon 2020:

List of associated countries (PDF)

  1. What type of institutions can participate in the CDP programme?

The CDP call refers to Higher Education Institutions (HEI). This includes universities and any other institutions that are entitled to award doctoral degrees (PhD) and have administrative autonomy including signing agreements with external partners.

  1. Is it possible for two or more HEIs to apply together?

No, each HEI has to apply separately for the CDP programme with its own application(s). Previously established collaborations by the JRC with other HEI(s) should be highlighted in the application.

  1. Can institutions, which do not have the right to award doctoral degrees but have been acting as co-supervisors in the cooperation with HEI participate in the CDP Programme?

For institutes and laboratories that are not HEI/Universities, to be eligible for the CDP, they must have an agreement with a HEI/University entitled to award a doctoral degree. The HEI/University must be aware and be part of the application procedure. In this case the CDP Collaboration Agreement will be signed with three parties: HEI/University, the institution/laboratory and the JRC.

  1. If there are different departments in one institute, should all of them fill out one form together or each their own?

This depends if they want to propose just one application or if each one wants to fill in their own application.

Regardless of whether one or several departments of the same Institute are selected, the negotiation of the Collaboration Agreement will be carried out with the HEI/University, which represents all of them.

  1. Is it possible for an institution to put forward a proposal in more than one thematic field?

Yes it is possible.Each proposal should be submitted as a separate application through EU Survey.

If two departments within your organisation work in the same field, and agree to submit a single proposal, then only one application can be submitted.

  1. Can an individual person/student apply?

Individual person/student cannot apply for the CDP programme. It is only meant for the HEIs/Universities to apply.

Student can apply for the individual PhD position, after the position/vacancy is published on the respective pages of the selected HEI/University. The link to the vacancy is also published on the EU Science Hub page.

  1. What is the minimum and maximum duration of the CDP programme?

The whole programme lasts as long as the normal PhD programme of the participating HEI/University usually lasts. During this period, the PhD student spends minimum of 1 and maximum of 2 years of research at one of the JRC sites. The maximum of two years cannot be exceeded. The rest of the time required for the student to fulfil the PhD programme at the HEI/University depends on the length of the PhD programme.

  1. Which are the JRC sites (Brussels, Geel, Ispra, Karlsruhe, Petten or Seville) of each thematic field for the collaborative Doctoral Partnership programme?

The JRC site depends on the thematic field of the proposed PhD project and the negotiation with the JRC co-supervisor. The indicative JRC sites for each of the thematic fields are as follows:

  • Digital Governance: Ispra/Seville
  • Smart, connected and clean mobility: Petten/Ispra/Seville
  • EU Energy Transition: Petten/Ispra/Seville
  • Development of methods to monitor progresses, design transformations and identify solutions to achieve SDGs: Ispra
  • Secure and sustainable supply of raw materials for strategic value chains: Ispra
  • Artificial intelligence for earth observation: Ispra/Seville
  • Graphic causal models for hybrid threats: Ispra/Seville
  • Resilience of built infrastructure to natural and man-made hazards: Ispra
  • Health promotion and prevention of non-communicable diseases (NCDs): Ispra
  • Non-power nuclear and radiological technologies to achieve the SDGs 2030 Agenda: Karlsruhe/Geel
  • Synergies of qualitative and quantitative methods for anticipation activities: Ispra/Seville
  • Behavioural insights applied to policy-making: Ispra/Seville
  • Robustness in complex data analysis and statistical modelling: Ispra/Seville

See: Thematic fields - Collaborative Doctoral Partnership programme

  1. What type of support can the HEI/University expect?

The goal of the CDP programme is twofold: close cooperation in pre-determined scientific fields amongst the institutions, and sharing of the PhD student. Doctoral students under the CDP are co-screened, co-hosted and co-supervised by the selected HEI/Universities and the JRC.

There is no transfer of funds between the JRC and the HEI/University. The JRC provides a salary to the PhD student for the time spent at the JRC, based on a Grantholder 20 contract ( For the time that the student spends at the HEI/University, the HEI/University should assist with the financing of the PhD candidate.

  1. What is the benefit for a HEI/University by providing a student to JRC, if there is no money transfer?

Examples of benefits are:

  • The HEI/University gets the possibility to cooperate in different research areas with the JRC, and contributes to the research-policy interface of the European Commission. This contributes to greater research excellence, impactful research and better visibility of both institutions.
  • The HEI/University does not need to fund fully the PhD student, but only for the time spent by the PhD candidate at the HEI/University.
  • The HEI/University gets the opportunity to publish articles together with JRC experts in leading scientific magazines.
  1. What is the budget for the CDP programme?

The budget for the CDP programme comes from the EU Research Programme Horizon 2020. The budget for the CDP will be negotiated annually. For years 2020-2022 up to 50 students are foreseen at the JRC sites.

  1. Where can I apply for the CDP programme, and where can I access the application form?

HEI/Universities can apply at the Science Hub page of the European Commission.


Apply online (web form)

  1. How do I get the ECAS password?

In order to submit the application form for the CDP programme you need to get an ECAS password. As you do not work for an EU institution, choose the first option to connect to the EU Survey application. You will need to have previously registered your mobile phone to pass the two-factor authentication.

If you do not have an EU Login, you can create an account online.

Once you have logged in into ECAS, go to your account details (on the upper right hand side of the page) by following the "My account" link. Click on "Manage my mobile phone numbers", then "Add a mobile phone number" and follow the on-screen instructions.

  1. Who is the legal representative of HEI/University (as mentioned in the application form)?

The legal representative is the person who is authorised to make legal commitments on behalf of the HEI/University. It is up to the HEI/University to define who their legal representative is. In the case of the CDP agreement, it is the one authorised to negotiate the Collaboration Agreement on behalf of the concerned HEI/University and of the department that applied.

  1. What is the registered office as mentioned in the application form?

This is the address where the organisations are ‘registered’ towards the national authorities (for tax purposes etc.) This would in most cases be the address of the HEI/University.

  1. How does the ‘open access policy on dissemination of research output in form of publications, reports, data availability’ have to be demonstrated?

The European Commission has a policy of open access for research data and results, unless they are sensitive, so with this we invite you to describe your internal policy on this matter.

  1. How many institutions can be selected?

The exact number of CDP projects to be allocated for a specific thematic field is not yet fixed and will be negotiated on an annual basis for the coming years depending on available budget.. It is planned however, that we will start with one PhD programme per successful proposal per HEI/University. Each Collaboration Agreement gives the possibility of multiple PhD positions if the programme runs successfully.

  1. Is there a screening exercise to select a set of HEI/Universities?

HEIs/Universities will be screened for eligibility as mentioned on the webpage. The Evaluation Committee will be set up for each thematic filed. They will be composed of JRC experts in the field and members of the JRC Scientific Committee.

The Evaluation Committees will evaluate each application based on four criteria mentioned in the application..

All evaluated applications will be placed on a list. Applicants will be informed about the outcomes of the evaluation. The JRC will start negotiations for Collaboration Agreement for the CDP with HEI/Universities placed on this list.

  1. What is an overview of the CDP procedure for the application, evaluation and negotiation phases?

In the application phase, the applicants (HEIs/Universities) will submit a proposal in one or more of predefined different thematic fields following a "call for expressions of interest" published on the EU Science Hub. All received applications will be checked to establish that all eligibility criteria are fulfilled.

During the evaluation phase, all eligible applications will be evaluated based on published evaluation criteria. Each JRC Directorate will appoint a person responsible for each thematic field, who will be a point of contact inside and outside of the JRC.

The Evaluation Committee meets and evaluates all eligible applications. Eligible applicants will be placed on a list according to the evaluation.. The list will be approved internally. All eligible applicants will be informed if negotiations are planned to start in the near future or if they are put on a reserve list for the later negotiations. The reserve list will remain valid for several years.

During the negotiation phase, the CDP responsible will negotiate a Collaboration Agreement with the relevant HEI/University staff to prepare the administrative part (main text). During the negotiations, the scientific part (Annex A) of the Collaboration Agreement (CA) is prepared jointly between the HEI/University and the JRC scientific staff. Annex A also includes the proposals for the topics of the doctoral theses. When the CA is agreed and finalized between the JRC and HEI/University, the JRC Legal Affairs Unit checks and approves the CA.

In the implementation phase, the PhD candidate is jointly selected between the HEI/University and the JRC. The PhD candidate will start the PhD project as agreed between the JRC and HEI/University.

  1. How will the results of the CDP call be communicated to applicants?

The results of the evaluation procedure will be communicated individually to each applicant. After the Collaboration Agreement is negotiated and signed, the names of the HEI/Universities will be published on the EU Science Hub.

  1. How does the JRC publish the PhD positions?

After signing the Collaboration Agreement, the HEI/University publishes a PhD vacancy based on their requirements in agreement with the JRC. The links to these vacancies are published on the EU Science Hub.

  1. How will the financial arrangements and the implementation of the PhD programmes be established?

Each Party finances the PhD student for the time he/she spends doing research at the Party’s premises. The JRC offers a Grantholder 20 contract to PhD student (PDF) for the time spent at the JRC, ranging from a minimum of 1 to a maximum of 2 years.

For the time that the PhD candidate spends at home HEI/University, the HEI/University should assure financing for the PhD candidate.

  1. Does the CDP programme apply to future doctoral students (i.e. students to be selected after the signature of the agreements and the definition of work plans) or to doctoral students already selected by the institutions (i.e. doctoral students already enrolled in their first or second year?

The CDP programme applies to future doctoral students to be selected after signature of the Collaboration Agreement.

  1. When will the PhD projectbe determined? Is this a part of the CDP application?

The exact PhD thesis titles and descriptions will be part of the negotiation (Annex A of the Collaboration Agreement). They are negotiated between the JRC future supervisorand the mentor from the HEI/University. PhD thesis proposals can be outlined already in the application form for the proposals.

  1. Can more than one doctoral student per HEI/University be funded?

The CDP programme starts with one PhD candidate, per proposal and per HEI/University. If the cooperation between the JRC and the HEI/University is successful, other students may be selected.

  1. How can I become an external expert to assist in the evaluation of CDP applications?

Potential external experts and evaluators are selected from the Horizon 2020 expert Database.

See: Funding & Tenders: work as an expert