31 October 2018

Cristallographie et Grands Equipements

I gave the "Small-angle scattering" lecture of this school (organized by the SOLEIL synchrotron from 16 to 19 October.) My slides (and those of the other lecturers) are available here. Mine are partly in French (the first part, dealing with the form factor) and partly in English (the second half, on the structure factor.)

3 February 2018

The salary of CNRS researchers

UPDATE 03/02/2018:
  • The class and level structure has changed in 2017, so the discussion below is no longer up to date. However, the concrete difference in terms of remuneration should not be that large.
  • I updated the value of the index point.
  • I added at the end a graph summarizing the salary progression.
In a previous post I discussed the application process for tenured research positions with the CNRS. I did not go into the details on the remuneration, but I think this information could be useful. All CNRS personnel (researchers and technical staff) are state employees. The remuneration level is publicly available, but the information is mainly in French (see e.g. here), and not very legibly presented. Once again, this is my personal understanding and not the official position of the CNRS, I am not an accountant, use at your own risk etc.

First, a vocabulary point: The hierarchy is defined by three variables. They are given below starting with the most significant; their values are listed in order of increasing seniority.
  1. The rank (corps) : CR (chargé de recherche) or DR (directeur de recherche)
  2. The class (classe) : 2, 1 and (for DRs only) CE (classe exceptionnelle)
  3. The level (échelon): from 1 to 6 for CR2 and from 1 to 9 for CR1


Since the recruitment takes place almost exclusively at the CR (chargé de recherche) rank, this is what I will discuss in the following. The remuneration is expressed in index points. At the moment, one point is worth 56.2323 €: its value has increased very slowly over the last 12 years and does not compensate the inflation rate (see the graph below). The number of points is given in this table, to be used as follows:
  1. Each level (column 1) is reached after a seniority in that particular rank indicated in the fourth column (For CR2, use the number of years since the beginning of your PhD). The seniority is cumulative: to reach the 4th CR2 level you need 1+1+1 years of experience. The number of points corresponding to the level is given in the third column (indice majoré).
  2. Multiply this number by the value of the index point and divide by 12 to obtain the "gross" monthly salary (salaire brut mensuel).1 I use the inverted commas because this amount is after some contributions and taxes. In particular, this is not the total cost of employment!
  3. Multiply by about 0.83 to obtain the net salary (salaire net). This is the amount that you will effectively receive in your bank account every month. At this point, mandatory health insurance, retirement and all other contributions have already been subtracted, but you will of course need to pay income tax.
In the most common case (evoked by Julien Tailleur in a comment to the previous post), you will be recruited as CR2 with 5-7 years of experience (since starting your PhD). You'll get one year "extra" for the doctorate, so you'll probably be at the 6th CR2 level for four years, at an index of 564, corresponding to 2600 € gross and around 2200 € net.
    Note that the administration can take a few months to validate your work experience, time during which you will be paid a first-level salary. However, once the paperwork is done, you will retroactively receive the difference starting from your first day of employment.
      After four years you'll be promoted to CR1, directly to the 4th level, at an index of 623 (the top CR2 level corresponds to the 3rd CR1 level, but some of the seniority "carries over" from one class to the next).
        For your information, the remuneration level for all CNRS positions is also available.


        Aside from the basis salary calculated above, you can also receive:
        1. A statutory bonus: Automatically attributed to all researchers, it amounts to 340 € (CR2) or 450 € (CR1) twice a year.
        2. A performance bonus: Reserved to the best and brightest (as defined by the CoNRS committees).

        Extra income

        Researchers are allowed to supplement their salary within certain limits. The most common supplementary activities are teaching and consulting.


        As a concrete example, I show below the evolution of my net annual salary (in nominal euros and inflation-corrected), including the statutory bonus. It amounts to an annual raise of 1.4% (on top of the inflation). The 2006 value is above the 2007 one because I had received an amount that was due for 2005.
        Clearly, this increase is mostly due to the seniority progression (in level and class), as the base rate (index point) progresses embarassingly slowly (much more slowly than the inflation, for instance).

        1. The gross salary can also include a small residence bonus and a family contribution (depending on the number of children), but I neglected them in the calculation. See here for more details.

        20 January 2018

        What rank for Paris-Saclay?

        [UPDATE 17/08/2018: I added the Paris-Sud ranking for 2018 (Figure 1) and the discussion of the transition from UPMC to Sorbonne Universités.]
        The Paris-Saclay University was officially created on December 29, 2014, but in some shape or another the project had started as early as 2010 or even in 2008, depending on the point of view. Among the declared goals of this endeavour was improving (by the year 2020) the position of the new university in the Shanghai (ARWU) ranking with respect to the Paris-Sud University, which is the main partner to the project.

        It is then interesting to compare the current ranking of Paris-Sud University (blue dots in the Figure above) and the predicted ranking of Paris-Saclay (letters and red error bars).

        A) The first prediction was made in 2012 by Dominique Vernay, chair of the Foundation for Scientific Cooperation (FSC) Paris-Saclay Campus (top official of the project at the time), who was confident that the new institution would reach the top 10 "of the most attractive universities in the world" [1,2]. This declaration was generally understood at the time as referring to the ARWU ranking, where the size increase of the institution would have the largest effect.

        B) The 2017 objectives of Paris-Saclay are more modest, only aiming for the top 20 of the ARWU ranking. This estimation is supported by 2015 projections that predict a rank between 18 and 26 [1,2]. For reference, the same calculation for the COMUE Sorbonne Universités (resulting from the merger of Université Pierre et Marie Curie (UPMC) and Université Paris-Sorbonne) predicted the 40th place in 2016. Sorbonne Universités is finally ranked in the ARWU in 2018, at 36th place, see the Figure below. As expected, the improvement with respect to the position of the UPMC is minimal.