Research aids for museum professionals
As stated in Article L. 441-2 of Book IV of the Code du Patrimoine, contributing to the progress of knowledge and research and to their dissemination is an essential mission of the museums of France. There are many national and international facilities to support museum professionals in their research projects.
The national and international arrangements for supporting museum professionals in their research projects are varied. We propose here a census:
- Residences dedicated to research
- Mobility aid for research
- Research support and mobility grants in France and abroad
- The prices
- The PhD as a method of validation of research
- Training leave
- The international programmes
- The CIFRE device in museum
- Carte blanche for art history
Residences dedicated to research
In partnership with the Service des musées de France (SMF), the Institut national d'histoire de l'art (INHA) welcomes every year professionals in a French museum (curators, attachés and conservation assistants, in charge of collections, etc.) for a research stay in Paris of a maximum of three months with the possibility of splitting this stay. Projects can take various aspects: studying collections, preparing an exhibition or a publication, or preliminary studies for the renovation of a museum or a museum route or the restoration of works. Invitations are made available and the INHA reimburses the local authority the staff member’s salary for the duration of his stay.
The call for applications is annual and open from September to November for the following year.
Each year, the INHA welcomes two state heritage curators for a period ranging from one to six months to carry out research in art history and archaeology. An agreement guarantees the discharge of the applicant’s service obligations and the maintenance of his remuneration.
Applications can be submitted throughout the year.
Mobility aid for research
The Institut national d'histoire de l'art (INHA) offers scholarships to support research stays in art history and archaeology in France and Europe. This aid of a maximum amount of € 800 is intended for researchers working in a professional setting and all professionals of the patrimony without condition of nationality.
The call for applications is annual and open between January and February for the current year.
Research support and mobility grants in France and abroad
Some research grants are specifically dedicated to heritage professionals:
Each year, the INHA and the Académie de France in Rome award two post-doctoral research grants of €3,000 each. They are intended for French and foreign researchers in art history, post-doctoral researchers, curators of heritage without age limit, wishing to go to Rome to carry out research in Roman or Italian institutions. The research projects must cover the modern and contemporary period (15th -20th century) and during the stay, of a minimum duration of one month, the fellows can be accommodated at the Villa Medici in Rome.
The call is annual and open from July to November for the following year.
Each year, the Carnot Foundation awards two research grants abroad in the amount of €6,000 each for young curators and restorers of heritage, graduates of the INP. This grant should enable them to carry out research in the country of their choice.
The call is annual and open until mid-November for the following year.
Funded by the Ministry of Culture, the Focillon Scholarship is awarded annually by the French Committee on Art History (CFHA) to a young researcher in art history under the age of 45 (alternatively to an academic and a curator holding a position), without exclusive domain or period. In the amount of €10,000, the scholarship allows the candidate to stay for three months at Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut.
The call is annual and open until June for the following year.
The INHA, Villa Finaly and the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz - Max Planck-Institut award two post-doctoral research grants each year for an amount of €3,000. They are intended for young French and foreign researchers in the history of art, PhD students, heritage curators under 45 years old, wishing to go to Florence to carry out research in local institutions. The winners are staying at Villa Finaly for a period to be determined.
The call is annual and open between February and March for the following year.
The Centre national des arts plastiques (CNAP) supports research projects carried out by restaurateurs in connection with a French or foreign institution. The aid is €4,000, renewable once for the same amount and is intended for recently graduated restaurateurs residing in France. Candidates can propose a free research topic on the theme of restoration techniques and preventive conservation of contemporary art works or respond to the call for projects of the National Contemporary Art Fund, placed under the responsibility of the CNAP.
The call is annual and open until October for the following year.
Other research grants are intended for young doctors in art history, but may also be of interest to heritage professionals with a PhD. Here are some non-exhaustive examples:
INHA partners with the cultural services of the French Embassy in the United States supported by the Ford Foundation (USA) and the FACE Foundation to propose the Beauford-Delaney Scholarship. This $12,000 annual scholarship funds original research on African-American art without any period restrictions (19th-21st century). It is open to researchers in art history who are independent or attached to institutions, who hold a doctorate or equivalent professional experience, on an alternating basis, regardless of nationality, either to students completing a Master’s or entering a PhD and to professionals under 30 years of age. The grant is intended for candidates active in France who wish to conduct research in the United States.
The call is annual and open in March-April for the following year.
For the third consecutive year, the Bibliothèque nationale de France and the Musée du Quai Branly-Jacques Chirac are offering two fellowships to promote the research of post-doctoral students andresearchers on the theme of history and the history of extra-European collections within the two institutions.
Projects must cover extra-European collections, collectors, or expeditions/missions in specific chrono-cultural collection contexts, involving the collections of the musée du quai Branly –Jacques Chirac and the Bibliothèque nationale de France. The ultimate goal is to map on a large scale the holdings of public institutions, making it possible to make a link between archives and objects, to better know the history of the collections.
French schools abroad also offer very interesting research grants. The best known for the history of art are those of:
The French School of Rome: https://www.efrome.it/candidater/dispositifs-daccueil-de-chercheurs
The French School of Rome and the Académie de France in Rome award eight scholarships each year for doctoral research on the art of the Renaissance to the present day (Daniel Arasse laureates in art history and visual culture). These grants are intended for French-speaking, doctoral or post-doctoral researchers in the history and theories of the arts wishing to travel to Rome to carry out research in Roman and/or Italian institutions on the modern and contemporary period. There are no nationality requirements. The grant amount is €1,000 per month.
The French School of Athens: https://www.efa.gr/fr/formation-a-la-recherche/bourses
La Casa Vélasquez de Madrid: https://www.casadevelazquez.org/la-casa/candidatures-chercheurs/
Since 2017, the Fabre Museum has kept a «François Daulte» collection consisting of the archive of the art historian, author of Frédéric Bazille’s first catalogue raisonné (1841-1870). To this fund is added an exceptional set of 76 autograph letters from Frédéric Bazille, 8 letters from his family and 30 letters from his artist friends: Claude Monet, Auguste Renoir and Edmond Maître in particular.
In order to make the most of this fund and François Daulte’s research, it was decided to establish an annual «François Daulte» grant of €10,000.
Thus, the «François Daulte» research grant will support research in the history and history of art in line with François Daulte’s fields of study.
The INHA and the German Centre for Art History (Deutsches Forum für Kunstgeschichte-DFK) offer a scholarship of €1,700 per month for one year. It is aimed at researchers in art history, PhD students and post-doctoral students at the beginning of their careers without nationality restrictions, wishing to conduct original research on the history of the art market in France under occupation (1939-1945). The fellows conduct their research in Paris within the framework of the two partner institutions.
The call is annual and open in July for the following year.
This scholarship, worth €24,000 for one year of research, is intended for French and foreign researchers in art history wishing to conduct research on «commercial art in the 20th century». The research should lead to a publication and possibly be the support for the realization of an exhibition at the International Museum of Modest Arts (MIAM) in Sète.
The call is open every other year from February to March for the following year.
This grant of up to €10,000 is intended for young researchers in the social sciences or art history (master, PhD or post-doctoral) which develop a research project directly related to the collections and/or archival holdings held by the National Museum of Modern Art (MNAM).
One to five scholarships are awarded each year to projects selected and supported by a MNAM curator.
Funded by the Terra Foundation for American Art at INHA, this scholarship is open to post-doctoral candidates who have completed a doctoral thesis on American art, written in French, at a university all over the world. The student bursary amount is $26,000, plus an additional $8,500 in travel expenses.
The call is annual and open from October to November for the following year.
The Thiers Foundation – Centre de recherche humanistes offers each year at least seven scholarships reserved for doctoral students under the age of 30 in the following disciplines: classics, modern French and foreign letters, philosophy, history, art history, archaeology, geography. These grants are intended to finance a pre-existing research project. They amount to €21,600, a sum paid in twelve monthly instalments of €1,800.
Under the aegis of the French Committee on Art History, the Fondation pour l'Art et la Recherche created in October 2021, for a period of five years (2022-2026), the Michel Laclotte Prize (1929-2021). Awarded in the amount of €2,500, this prize is awarded to two laureates and is intended to reward a heritage curator or conservation attaché in his research. Special attention will be given to the Conservatives and Territorial Civil Servants.
The call is annual and open until mid-February.
Housed by the Fondation de France, the Lucie and Olga Fradiss Foundation awards several prizes each year in the field of art history. Worth €7,500, this prize is intended to reward a young author under the age of 45 for the best French book on the history of art, in all disciplines and eras.
The call is annual and open until October for a book published during the past year.
The PhD as a method of validation of research
The School of Charters awards a doctorate on work for curators within the framework of two doctoral schools: ED 472 (EPHE and PSL) and ED 188 (Sorbonne-Université). It allows curators of heritage and libraries to formalize and deepen research conducted in the course of their duties. The doctorate is also open to foreign curators.
The duration of this doctorate is one year and the application deadline is set in June for the following year.
The University Research School «Humanities, Creation, Heritage», led by the Comue University Paris Seine, brings together the human and social sciences components of CY Alliance - CY Cergy Paris Université, the École nationale supérieure d'architecture de Versailles (ENSAV), the École nationale supérieure d'arts de Paris-Cergy (ENSAPC), the École nationale supérieure de paysage de Versailles (ENSP) and the Institut national du patrimoine (INP). Since 2018, she has been offering a doctoral thesis course through the project that can directly interest heritage and museum professionals. Two references are proposed: “Heritage conservation and restoration” and “Heritage studies”. The project’s research aims to integrate professional practice into the research process.
Registration is open every year between March and April for the next school year.
Training leave is not specifically dedicated to research, but it can help in the development of research projects.
Vocational training leave (CFP) enables full or contract staff members to complete their personal training by means of training courses of a professional or personal nature which are not offered to them by the administration.
The first year is entitled to a flat-rate monthly allowance and the duration of the leave may not exceed three years for the entire career.
State, territorial or City of Paris curators, after six years of exercise, may apply for training at the INP for one or more periods of a total duration of one year over their entire career.
During this training period, candidates retain the pay related to their rank.
> Status (Article 27): https://www.legifrance.gouv.fr/loda/id/JORFTEXT000027910443/2021-01-28/
> Territorial public service (Article 28):
> City of Paris (Article 24):
The international programmes
The international programmes presented below are not specifically dedicated to research, but they can make it possible to carry out research projects abroad.
Villa Albertine, a cultural institution of the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs, with the support of the FACE Foundation, offers the French Museums Next Generation Program, immersion program in the American museum ecosystem for young museum professionals in France.
With the ambition of participating in the renewal of the Franco-American dialogue on the challenges facing museum institutions on both sides of the Atlantic, the program will invite eight young French professionals each year from 2023 (curators, curators, curators, curators) to participate in a two-week immersion in the United States. It aims to renew the links between French and American museums, to familiarize professionals with the American museum ecosystem and to support them in developing a professional network capable of fostering new synergies within the Franco-American professional community.
Drawn from all the specialties of art history, the participants are selected on the basis of their scientific achievements (exhibitions, publications) and the conduct of innovative museum projects, on their ability to think about the museum of tomorrow and their interest in international and managerial issues.
The France-Canada Agreement on Cooperation and Exchange in the Field of Museums is an intergovernmental program of financial support for museums, French and Canadian universities and research or conservation centres to carry out cooperation and exchange projects in various sectors related to museums.
The call for proposals is annual and open from December to August for the following year.
The Franco-German Office for Youth (OFAJ) organises and subsidizes eight-week stays in German museums for young professionals (18-30 years) working in a French museum or cultural institution.
The program is annual and registration is open until December for the following year.
The VARI annually launches a call for applications for visiting faculty positions for periods of 3 to 12 months at the Victoria and Albert Museum. The call is open to researchers of all ages and nationalities, working in all fields, creative practices and research disciplines related to V&A collections.
Applications are open and reviewed throughout the year.
The CIFRE device in museum
The Industrial Research Training Agreement (CIFRE) is a contractual arrangement that allows the integration of a PhD student into a museum team.
Carte blanche for art history
The INHA offers a Carte Blanche to a consortium of art historians for the co-organization of one or more operations within the year. The €10,000 Carte Blanche is primarily intended for projects promoting collaboration between a university and a nearby museum.
The call is open every two years in March for the following year.