Joining LACITO

Would you like to work at LACITO, and explore with us the diversity of the world’s languages? This page provides an overview of what we do. There are four ways to join our department:

  • as a researcher through the CNRS’ annual “concours”;
  • as a professor through our university partners;
  • as a postdoc with external funding;
  • or as a doctoral student supervised by one of our members.

Opportunities to join us open up at least once every year; for details, see below.  (For more general details in English on the process of applying for an academic position in France, see this useful document.)

How can I join LACITO as a researcher?

Joining LACITO as a researcher offers benefits that are quite remarkable in a global perspective. To a very large extent, you get to propose your own research program within the wide framework of LACITO’s core mission: the documentation and description of unwritten languages within their cultural contexts. Apart from an initial trial period, your position will be permanent (equivalent to tenure). Your primary responsibility will be to do research – to discover and publish new findings. Teaching is possible, but not required. Fieldwork is strongly encouraged, and internal as well as external funding is available for it. Based in Villejuif just south of Paris, you will have easy access to some of the world’s greatest libraries.

To join LACITO as a researcher, you have to go through the organisation to which we belong: the CNRS (National Centre for Scientific Research). Every year, the CNRS recruits a certain number of researchers through a competitive admissions process, outlined in English at the CNRS website “Concours chercheurs”. To join LACITO through this process, you apply to fill an opening within Section 34 (“Language Sciences”) or Section 38 (“Anthropology”), and name LACITO as your preferred lab within the application. The number of positions available each year fluctuates, but is usually low — typically between 4 and 10 research positions in section 34, to be shared across all 48 linguistics labs of CNRS nationwide. Anyone, irrespective of nationality, can apply for these positions, which makes the competition even more intense. You apply in different categories depending on your level of experience, from starting-level CRCN (“chargé de recherche, classe normale”) up to DR2 (“directeur de recherche 2nd class”, empowered to be the primary supervisor of a doctoral thesis).

As an example, the openings offered nationwide in Linguistics (Section 34) in Nov 2017 are as follows:

  • 34/014 positions as Senior scientists, 2nd class, or “DR2”.
  • 34/024 positions as Associate scientists or “CRCN”. including 1 position with the special profile « Phonologie: Théorie, Universaux, Interfaces »

You do not have to be a speaker of French to apply, and you will not be required to publish in French. However, a knowledge of French will be helpful later on in your career. This page of Section 34’s blog provides instructive statistics on the diversity of candidate profiles in last year’s competition – with observations on gender, age, nationality, etc.

CNRS researchers have the status of public servants in France, a status which comes with considerable job security. Salaries are determined by national regulations (more here).

If you want to apply, please contact our director [lacito.direction@cnrs.frbefore the end of November to discuss how your research fits with LACITO’s. You will need to start work on the application around then, if not earlier, since its deadline is right after Christmas. Those who make it through the preliminary selection process are invited to auditions in Paris in late March, for positions starting in October. LACITO welcomes applications from all over the world by people passionate about documenting and understanding the diversity of human language.

How can I join LACITO as a university professor?

If you want to maintain a healthy balance between teaching and research, joining us as a university professor can be an effective solution. LACITO has two university partners, both based in Paris: Université Sorbonne Nouvelle, with a strong linguistics program including typological and phonetic components, and INALCO (Institut national des langues et civilisations orientales), specialising in the languages of the world outside of Western Europe.

To join LACITO as a university professor, you need to apply for a teaching position at one of these two, and name LACITO as your preferred lab.

The availability of positions in LACITO’s domain varies from year to year. Vacancies are usually advertised in February each year, both on the universities’ homepages (see Sorbonne Nouvelle and INALCO), and on the national online system for University positions, called Galaxie. Candidates then have about a month’s notice to prepare their application. They may then be accepted for an audition, which takes place in April/May in Paris. The expectation is that the successful candidate will start their teaching in September of the same year, but some negotiation about date adjustments may be possible. University positions, again, belong to the public sector and are therefore permanent (effectively, tenured). Salaries follow nationwide regulations slightly different from CNRS (more info here).

University teaching in France takes place primarily in French, so you will need to speak French from the start to avail yourself of this option. Complete fluency, however, is not a requirement, as long as you can commit yourself to improving your fluency within a reasonable time.

How can I do a doctorate, or a postdoc, at LACITO?

To do a doctorate at LACITO, you first need to find a potential supervisor who is a member of LACITO and contact them. This page, under “PhD supervision”, lists all the members of LACITO in a position to supervise a PhD.

LACITO itself cannot fund the salary of doctoral students; however, funding for doctorates is available from a variety of sources, many of which are listed at the sites of Sorbonne Nouvelle and INALCO. At Sorbonne Nouvelle University, doctoral contracts in linguistics are handled specifically by Ecole Doctorale 622. In the field of language documentation, some international funding sources also exist, notably the ELDP.

Likewise, several institutions inside and outside France provide funding opportunities for a postdoc. Should you be successful in applying for funding, you should be able to base your doctorate or postdoc at LACITO, provided it fits well with our research agenda. While salaries have to be secured externally, we at LACITO do fund fieldwork for our PhD students and postdocs, provide recording equipment, and help with expenses related to conferences. We also provide a warm and stimulating environment for undertaking research on language and cultural diversity in the world.

updated 12 Apr 2024.