[R&T] Conduct your thesis at Naval Group!

18 April 2024 Open innovation Group News

Naval Group sponsors about fifty doctoral theses, both in France and abroad. While a doctoral student may work with any entity in the group, the majority collaborate with the group’s Centres of expertise and technological research. Catherine Clauzade, Operations Manager in the Scientific Department tells us why this is an asset for the group and how this collaboration works.

Why support doctoral theses?

Catherine Clauzade: A thesis serves to acquire new knowledge - tools, models, and so on - which, by their very nature, are unavailable or inaccessible as things stand. Theses supported by Naval Group are very carefully selected. The subject must always meet a need in line with our strategic and technological plan. This plan draws a picture of problems and technological barriers for which we do not have the requisite know-how to either resolve or overcome. These theses offer the perfect opportunity to take care of such issues with the help of doctoral students.  


Why not conduct such research in-house?

Catherine Clauzade: It is very difficult for a Naval Group employee to devote all their time to a single research subject over a period of three years, the time required to develop a thesis. An employee’s job priorities are extremely time-consuming. On the other hand, a PhD student can dedicate all their time to the in-depth study of a given subject. Moreover, they can bank on the knowledge base of the academic laboratory involved and provide a fresh and original perspective of interest to us. 


What are the selection criteria?

Catherine Clauzade:  As I’ve already mentioned, the subject must firstly be aligned with our strategic and technological plan. The second criteria is related to the qualifying nature of the thesis. The doctoral student is ultimately awarded the title of Doctor. To validate their thesis, the laboratory with whom we work must be academic and have solid expertise in the field of study. Last but not the least, a subject of great value with the best laboratory and the most competent doctoral student alone do not suffice. We must be in a position to guarantee the financial sponsorship of the thesis over its entire duration, not to mention the transfer of knowledge within the group. 


Who finances this research?

Catherine Clauzade: There are five or six ways of financing doctoral theses: self-financing or support from the French National Association for Research and Technology (ANRT), other industrial partners, a chair or research tax credit (CIR).  


How do laboratories, doctoral students and Naval Group come together?

Catherine Clauzade: Our experts are always on the lookout for good laboratories at lectures, conferences and various other professional gatherings.  A dedicated team of partners also contributes to creating favourable conditions for such partnerships. Doctoral candidates are often recommended by the laboratories themselves. They may also be interns in the process of completing their master’s degree in the company and whom we encourage to pursue a thesis. While there is stiff competition between large groups in terms of attractiveness, it is also together that we develop extremely interesting profiles: experts in their field armed with endurance and the capacity to thrive in uncertainty. This is also one of the reasons why this represents a truly exciting adventure!