German-French Doctoral College

The Franco-German Doctoral College in Sustainability Sciences started in January 2023. It is jointly organised by the Université des technologie de Troyes and the Hochschule Darmstadt. The doctoral college is funded by the Deutsch-Französischen Hochschule for four years. It is aimed at establishing Franco-German cooperation in the area of promoting early career stage researchers in the field of sustainability sciences and networks with a European perspective with the partners of the European University of Technology EUt+.

The research field of sustainability sciences has established itself worldwide in recent years in view of global challenges such as adaptation to climate and environmental changes, possible shortages, for example, in the supply of energy and water, innovations in key technologies, international competitiveness or even questions of justice. Answers to the questions related to these issues can only be developed jointly and collectively. Solving environmental problems and societal challenges cannot be a purely technical task. For this reason, the sustainability sciences integrate several branches of science and research in order to gain insights into social, socio-economic, engineering (or technical) and natural science challenges in the sense of a "social shaping of technology". An essential requirement here is not to look at individual problems from separate disciplinary perspectives, but to enable a holistic, integrating view of the complex interplay of environment and society (at the individual level as well as at the level of society as a whole). This requires a fundamentally new view of technologies and a change in the way people are trained to produce innovations in this sense. In summary, sustainability sciences are concerned with the interactions between global, social and human systems, the complex mechanisms that lead to the degradation of these systems, and the associated risks to human well-being.

The scientific topics dealt with in the doctoral college aim at training in the sciences of sustainability in order to change anthropological practices, especially technological ones. The graduates should be able to innovate with scientific knowledge and develop their ecological, human and social responsibility.

The college is a joint project of the Université de technologie de Troyes and Hochschule Darmstadt in conjunction with EUt+ guest researchers:

Hochschule Darmstadt

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Nicole Saenger

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Dirk Geyer

Prof. Dr. Christina Graf

Prof. Dr. Romana Piat

Prof. Dr. Lars Rademacher

Université de technologie de Troyes

Prof. Eric Chatelet

Dr. Tatiana Reyes

Dr. Junbeum Kim

Dr. Sabrina Brullot

Dr. Pauline Marty

Dr. Antoine Grall

The aim is to simultaneously promote young researchers across countries, disciplines and cultures through various measures and - also in the long term - to strengthen the academic supervision of doctoral students in the thematic field of sustainability sciences. This is intended to create the basis for a European training and research network.

The education programme aims to:

  • understand the limited possibilities of planet Earth,
  • understand sustainability issues by dimension (from global to local),
  • understand the impact of technology on the environment (social and environmental) in relation to the possible technological development paths and identify possible trade-offs,
  • know the challenges of inter- and transdisciplinarity (definition and implementation in research).

Within the framework of the offer for doctoral students, various hybrid joint event formats are being developed that contain face-to-face offerings and virtual teaching components. Design and delivery decisions will be made considering learning performance, financial costs and environmental costs::

  • Workshops and joint courses on linguistic and intercultural competences,
  • seminars and conferences on inter- and transdisciplinary issues,
  • in addition, doctoral researchers are offered access to disciplinary teaching modules at universities in France and Germany. This serves to open up interdisciplinary perspectives for the participants and to ensure that they have a professional foundation for this,
  • Promoting the mobility of doctoral students and guest lecturers.

Doctoral researchers and supervising academics are jointly involved in the design of the offers so that aspects of science management with interdisciplinary research as well as holistic support and training of young academics are ensured. Young researchers are supported in learning the French or German language and in their mobility. The doctoral students are also supported in implementing multidisciplinary approaches themselves, identifying interdisciplinary topics and putting interdisciplinary scientific activities on paper in the field of sustainability science. In this way, young researchers also gain experience in research project management and in conducting scientific events.

Doctoral students in the college can be funded for stays in the partner country of up to 18 months with a mobility grant of 700 € per month. Travel in the country of residence cannot be funded. Active participation in the training programme of the college is expected.


Applications are open to doctoral candidates who

  • have been accepted and registered as a doctoral candidate at one of the partner institutions,
  • have a doctoral project that fits into the thematic field of the doctoral college,
  • are participating in the programme of the doctoral college,
  • have a basic knowledge of German and French.

As a rule, the start of doctoral studies should not be longer than three years ago.

The following documents (in German or French) must be submitted for the application:

  • Letter of motivation (1-2 pages),curriculum vitae,
  • Copy of the acceptance letter as a doctoral student,
  • Exposé of the dissertation project,
  • Work plan for stay in the partner country (3-5 pages),
  • Language certificate.

The application procedure is a competitive procedure. A binational commission decides on admission to the doctoral college.

Programme chairpersons

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Nicole Saenger
Hochschule Darmstadt

Prof. Eric Chatelet
Université de technologie de Troyes

Central programme coordination