International programmes

The "Internships" programme

Each year, Inria welcomes students from all over the world for a research training experience through the Internships programme. Undergraduate, masters or PhD students come and spend a few months in an Inria research team. Two students, Michail Zervos and Nadia Khalfa, talk about their successful experience and offer advice to all those who may be interested in the Internships programme.

Code name: Internships

Each year, Inria welcomes students from all over the world in its research project teams. This is known as the Internships programme. The principle is that undergraduate, masters or PhD students come and spend between two and six months, depending on their level, in an Inria research team. Over the years, the Internships programme has grown continuously, from 39 interns in 2004 to 174 in 2009. Today, Inria has about 160 prestigious partner universities and research laboratories worldwide. Each of these 160 partners has its own local contact in charge of promoting Inria and selecting candidates. The most common exchanges involve Asian students, in particular from India. Other countries that are well represented include  Tunisia, USA and Argentina. Every new partnership with an establishment further extends our skills network.

Aim of the programme

The aim of the Internships programme is to strengthen Inria’s scientific partnerships by welcoming excellent students from partner institutions abroad and training them. It allows foreign students to work for several months within an Inria project team, providing them with financial support for their living expenses in France.

What is a partner institution?

A partner institution is a foreign university or research institution which has established a training-through-research partnership with Inria. This partnership may evolve over time as changes occur in the relations between the two partners and in the programme’s budget. The partner institution appoints a local contact person to liaise with the institute. This contact deals with all matters concerning the programme at local level, particularly the selection of interns. The partner institution is responsible for the student’s qualification and study programme. The list of partner institutions is not closed, and may be extended with any other partnerships suggested by Inria researchers or arising from trips abroad (see list of partner institutions).


How does the programme work?

In the fall, Inria's researchers propose research subjects open for internship application. These lists of subjects are sent to the partner universities and research laboratories, who then select candidates. In January, they submit lists of candidates and the researchers can start the recruitment process. In March, the final selection of candidates is made. The most outstanding students get an internship offer and financial support to cover some of their living costs in France. Everything is done to give them a taste for an international scientific environment and hopefully, they may come back to Inria to undertake a PhD or post-doctoral research.

Interview with Michail Zervos

Michail Zervos

Michail Zerv os is a Computer Science student in Athens. He is doing a six-month internship in the GALEN project-team, led by Nikos Paragios.

How did you find out about Inria?

One of my teachers at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, where I am studying Computer Science, was a researcher at Inria for 7 years. Before that, I had heard about it through a student at my university, who was very happy with his internship. So I spent some time finding out about the research done at Inria.

Why did you choose Inria for your internship?

The Inria research teams, such as the one I joined, are working on subjects that really interest me. Doing an internship at Inria was an opportunity to see how real problems can be solved using the latest methods and algorithms. Up to now, at university, we have focussed mainly on theory.

Is the experience living up to your expectations?

Actually, things are going even better than I had hoped. The project I'm working on requires both the theoretical study of algorithms and the use of one of the most promising new technologies, GPU programming. So I'm lucky enough to be learning some really useful things. Besides the project itself, the working atmosphere is even nicer than I had imagined, and I have quite a lot of autonomy.

Interview with Nadia Khalfa

Nadia Khalfa

Tunisian student Nadia Khalfa has spent six months in the ATSAC project-team.

How did you find out about Inria?

I've just started a research masters in Information Processing and the Complexity of Living Organisms at the National School of Engineering, Tunis (ENIT). I had heard of Inria during my studies on signal processing, dynamic systems, control and modelling… My teachers then told me that the institute took on interns.

Why did you choose Inria for your research masters internship?

It's a serious, competent research institute. It is used to welcoming young researchers and makes sure that its internships run smoothly and are properly supervised. My teachers were very positive about it: they said that the internships end well. It was sure to be a good experience.

What were your expectations?

To have a good internship, pass it and get a good grade in my degree. I got a 'mention très bien' (the equivalent of a distinction) and I liked the subject I was researching so much that I am continuing my research in this area with my supervisor at Inria, as part of a jointly supervised PhD. This will allow me to have a foothold in both Tunisia and France, and to continue in one country or the other. So I'm coming back for another six-month internship in the same team!