Paris IAS “Dark Clouds” Programme Call for Fellowships

The Paris Institute for Advanced Study welcomes applications from high level international scholars and scientists in the fields of the humanities and the social sciences for a research stay of five or ten months, during the academic year 2020-2021.

The Paris IAS gives its research fellows the unique opportunity to work freely on the project of their choice. They will benefit from the scientific environment of the Institute and receive support for creating contacts with researchers in the academic institutions of Greater Paris. Each cohort of fellows includes about 20 researchers from all backgrounds, disciplines and nationalities.

In addition to the “Blue Sky” programme, whose themes are totally open, the IAS, aware that there are significant and urgent threats to the future of our societies, has decided to devote part of its resources to supporting work aimed at meeting these challenges. The “Dark clouds” programme, like the “Blue Sky” program, leaves the researcher complete freedom of choice of theme, on the sole condition that he or she responds to these vital issues with fundamental research.

Applicants may request a fellowship for one of the following periods:

  • September 1st, 2020 to January 31st, 2021 (5 months)
  • September 1st, 2020 to June 30th, 2021 (10 months)
  • February 1st to June 30th, 2021 (5 months)

The “Dark clouds” program

Projects supported in the “Dark clouds” program of the Paris IAS can be in any discipline and theme in the humanities and social sciences, and must have an interdisciplinary dimension.

The main selection criteria are:

  • the excellence of the project and the researcher;
  • the potential of research to deal with the “dark scenarios” of the evolution of our societies.

The programme aims foremost to support original projects (methods, interdisciplinarity, theoretical innovation, etc.) that significantly advance the state of the art.

The impact of research beyond the discipline and/or academic field will be taken into account.

Conditions of eligibility

Researchers from all countries are eligible.

This call for applications is open to:

  • Junior scholars with a position in a university or research institution, who have received their PhD no later than April 1st 2017. The applicants who have held their PhD for more than 9 years will be considered as senior researchers.
  • High-level senior researchers holding a permanent position in a university or research institution, or emeritus professors, having a minimum of 10 years of research experience after their PhD (received before April 1st 2009).

In both cases, candidates must be under contract with their institution for the duration of their stay at the IEA (sabbatical leave type).

Applicants who have spent more than a total of 12 months in France during the 3 years prior to the application (that is, between February 15th, 2016 and February 15th, 2019) are not eligible.

Criteria of selection

The main criteria of selection are:

  • the scientific quality of the project and its innovative character, its interest for the academic community and beyond;
  • the career path of the applicant;
  • the quality of the scientific contacts of the applicant in France, and the applicant’s capacity to collaborate with French scholars and research teams (organization of scientific events, participation in seminars, preparation of a joint research project for an application for international funding, etc.);
  • the potential of research to deal with "dark scenarios" of the evolution of our societies.

In its selection process, the IEA strives to ensure balanced and diverse promotions in terms of gender, origin and disciplines.

The application

The application, in English, must be submitted via an online application system ( Mail or e-mail applications are not accepted.

The application consists of an online form, including a summary of the research project for specialists and one for the general public (1500 characters maximum for each, spaces included), with the following attached documents:

  • a curriculum vitae (10 pages maximum) including a list of publications and a list of the 5 publications considered as the most important by the applicant;
  • a detailed research proposal (25 000 characters maximum, spaces included, bibliography not included). The proposal should include :
    • theme and research question
    • state of the art in the field, innovative character of the proposal
    • methodology or theoretical  framework, data/sources
    • expected outcomes for the discipline, other disciplines, and beyond the academy
    • work planning, timescales
    • existing or planned scientific cooperation and contacts in France
    • bibliography (books and articles cited);
  • a letter of cooperation signed by a member of a university or research institution based in France. Preference will be given to projects conducted in cooperation with the partners of the IAS (see list below). The planned collaborations may include the organization of conferences and series of lectures or the preparation of a research project to be submitted to an international funding agency (like the ERC or the EU Horizon Europe program);
  • in the case of Junior Fellows, two letters of recommendation from researchers of any nationality.


  • Application deadline: Monday, April 15, 2019, 3:00 pm (Paris, France time)
  • Preselection: May 2019
  • Final selection: October 2019
  • Notification of results: November 2019

Conditions of stay

The Paris IAS provides its fellows with housing and a monthly remuneration (or complement of remuneration). It also pays for their round-trip ticket to Paris.


The Paris IAS provides apartments in the Pavillon Victor Lyon at the Cité internationale universitaire de Paris. This building, entirely refurbished, offers 2-room to 5-room apartments, a conference room and other services.

Status and remuneration

Fellows who maintain their status in their home institution benefit from a stipend. For others, the Paris IAS proposes a short term research contract with salary. In all cases, the remuneration depends on the fellow’s personal and professional situation and on whether she or he continues to receive pay from her/his home institution. The benchmark pay scale corresponds to prevailing standards in French academia.


Travel costs from the fellow’s home to Paris and back are covered by the IAS (economy class).


The IAS’ fellows will need to get a personal insurance covering all risks during their stay, for themselves as well as the persons accompanying them.

Support for research

During their stay, the fellows will have an office in the premises of the Paris IAS, in the 17th century Hôtel de Lauzun, with a computer, internet access, and printer. The IAS provides meeting and conference rooms.

The fellows may receive financial support for their work and scientific activities, including the organization of events (colloquia, seminars, lectures, etc.). Help for the translation and publication of their research texts can also be proposed.

The Paris IAS and its partner institutions have signed agreements enabling the fellows to enjoy special access and borrowing privileges in the main Paris university-based research libraries. In addition, the fellows can have most books and documents delivered directly from the libraries to the institute.

Partner institutions

  • Sorbonne Université (formerly Université Paris-Sorbonne and UPMC)
  • Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne
  • Université Sorbonne Nouvelle-Paris 3
  • Université Paris Descartes
  • Université Paris Diderot - Paris 7
  • Université Paris-Ouest Nanterre La Défense
  • Université Paris-Saclay
  • EPHE
  • ENS
  • FMSH
Application date
5 or 10 months
Social sciences