54 thesis proposals for 2020!
This year, IRSN is proposing 54 topics in all scientific disciplines, for PhD theses that will start in October 2020. A full description of each thesis project is available online, in the "Theses" section of the IRSN website, enabling applications to be filed directly with the thesis supervisor.
More than 100 doctoral students work
continuously in its laboratories, covering a wide range of scientific
disciplines, in innovative areas of physics, biology and social sciences,
helping protect the population and the environment from nuclear and
radiological risks. Each doctoral student benefits from specific training to
master the intricacies of writing a scientific article or dissertation, learn
about networking, open access and eco-design practices, familiarize him/herself
with good intellectual property practices, or be informed of openness to
Every year, doctoral students practice presenting their research work to their
peers as part of a four-day residential seminar called "Thesis Days."
During this convivial event, doctoral students discuss and present the state of
their research as they would at a conference. They can put their ability to
summarize to the test during the "3 minutes for a thesis"
competition, IRSN's own version of "My thesis in 180 seconds." The
competition's participants also have the opportunity to work with a cartoonist
to transpose their research in the form of a comic strip.
Lastly, the Ad'i[N] and ASTHEC doctoral student associations enable students to
establish strong ties and create professional networks through the organization
of scientific, cultural and sports events.
To receive funding for a thesis, applicants must have a Master's or equivalent
degree allowing them to enroll in a doctoral school before October of the
current year. In cases of diploma equivalence, authorization to enroll in the
doctoral school associated with the topic shall be verified before the
application is put together. Unless an exception is granted, applicants must be
under 26 years of age when submitting their application and have graduated with
For each thesis topic, additional information – description, tutor,
laboratory, etc. – is available by clicking on the topic. The first step in the
application process consists in sending a CV and cover letter to the thesis
tutor (address in firstname.lastname@example.org format).
Final selection of the topics and
applicants will take place in May-June 2020.
The 20th issue of Aktis, IRSN’s scientific newsletter, is available
The twentieth English-language issue of Aktis, the quarterly newsletter on IRSN's research, is available on a HTML and PDF package. Aktis is published only in a digital version and available in HTML or text format for e-mail, RSS and pageflip PDF.
In this issue, focus on the key to explosion risks in ITER facility : Dust behavior in the tokamak. Aktis n°20 also treats of rivers and sea contamination in Fukushima. As well, it deals with Metabolomic, transcriptomic and epigenetic effects of uranium at low doses.
The subscription for the English and French versions is complimentary. To read this issue or subscribe, go to www.irsn.fr/aktis-EN.
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PublicationPublication of the book "Elements of Nuclear Safety - Research Reactors"
2019/11/12IRSN is publishing a new book in its Science and Technology Collection, entitled "Elements of nuclear safety - Research reactors". He reported on the progress of IRSN's research and development work in the field of nuclear safety on research reactors.
ation gives a global overview of the diversity and complementarity of research rea
ctors, some of which have been or are still being used to conduct experiments that are essential for the development and operation of nuclear power reactors, including in relation to safety issues. This work highlights the many uses of
these reactors, which have very different designs, use highly varied quantities of radioactive substances with varying levels of risk for safety and radiation protection, and which — in many cases because they are old or have been shut down — require appropriate measures to control the ageing or obsolescence of some of their equipment, as well as, on an organisational and
human level, to ensure that they continue to be operated safely. For some research reactors, safety and radiation protection aspects must be considered, taking into account that two types of operators are present at the same time within these reactors: reactor operating personnel and operators in charge of experimental devices using neutrons from the reactor for fundamental or applied research purposes. There are two specific chapters on the safety standards established under the aegis of the IAEA for research reactors and on serious accidents, notably those involving criticality and reactivity, in research reactors.
The second part of the work focuses on French research reactors, including the regulations and official documents applicable to these reactors, on lessons learned in France from significant events and accidents — as well as abroad, such as the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident in 2011 — on the consideration of reactivity accidents in the design of
French research reactors, and on the ten-yearly safety reviews carried out in France.
The book is available, free of charge, in printable (B&W) and non-printable (colour) PDF formats as well as in e-pub format, accessible in the Science and Technology Collection. It is also possible to order a paper copy. To find out more about the Science and Technology Series To download the unprintable, in colour, PDF book
IRSN doctoral student receives a Young Investigator Award from the European Radiation Research Society
Rémi Guédon, a doctoral student at IRSN’s Laboratory for Radionuclide Ecotoxicology (LECO), received one of the 15 Young Investigator Awards presented by the European Radiation Research Society at the International Congress on Radiation Research 2019, held in Manchester from August 25 to 29, 2019.
Rémi Guédon’s thesis, begun in 2016, is entitled ‘Contribution of epigenetic processes in the sensitivity and heritability of the response of Caenorhabditis elegans to chronic exposure to ionizing radiation’. The research is partly funded by ANSES. It aims to identify the molecular mechanisms responsible for a drop in reproduction when animals are subject to chronic irradiation. Rémi Guédon’s work focuses on analysis of the transcriptome (which contains all the RNAs from the transcription) to identify a molecular signature for chronic irradiation, which is transmissible down the generations.
The involvement of epigenetic mechanisms (heritable and reversible changes in the regulation of gene expression, without DNA sequence modification) in the transmission of this phenotype is also addressed in this thesis.
The European Radiation Research Society promotes research in the nuclear sciences by organizing conferences and awarding prizes such as the Young Investigator Awards.
ANR, INCa, Inserm and Anses calls for proposals: seven projects involving IRSN selected
IRSN is involved in seven of the projects selected during the latest calls for proposals by the French National Research Agency (ANR), the French National Cancer Institute (INCa), Inserm and the French National Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety (Anses) in the fields of cancer, health protection against ionizing radiation, and radioecology. Four of these projects are led by IRSN.
Of the projects selected by these institutions, six relate to human health and are directly aligned with IRSN’s work. They include research to limit the side effects of radiotherapy, one of the main cancer treatments, which often severely affects the quality of life of treated patients. There are two projects in this research area, in the spirit of the Cancer Plan: the OPENN project, selected by the ANR, to develop patches for local treatment of the colon after irradiation; and a project on molecular homeostasis in myotubes following exposure to ionizing radiation, selected by INCa, to gain a better understanding of post-irradiation musculoskeletal disorders.
Other important research areas in the health field are: optimizing the use of ionizing radiation and assessing the associated risks. The THIDOS project, which IRSN is involved in, was selected by Inserm under the Cancer Plan and aims to optimize individual patient dosimetry when radioactive iodine is used to treat thyroid disorders. As regards evaluation, the second project selected by INCa is ‘Estimating cancer risk following CT scan exposure in childhood’. It aims to gain a better appreciation of the risk-benefit ratio when CT scans are used for children.
One of IRSN’s missions is to prepare for and improve the medical care given to people who are accidentally exposed to ionizing radiation, either in the workplace or in a nuclear or radiological accident, or as a result of a malicious act. The Napeauli project selected by Anses, which ams to develop an experimental model to study how to decontaminate skin contaminated by metallic nanoparticles, will contribute to this mission. Meanwhile, the INTRUST project selected by ANR-Astrid (which gives special support to innovative research in the defense field) aims to develop a therapy based on innovative biomaterials to treat the gastrointestinal syndrome caused by exposure to very high doses of ionizing radiation, which has hit a therapeutic wall.
Finally, IRSN’s TRAJECTOIRE project was selected by the ANR in the environmental field to analyze radiological archives on river sediments and identify the anthropic components associated with new technologies.
In addition to their scientific value, these projects tie in with IRSN’s aim to strengthen its research partnerships so that it can respond in the most relevant way to the scientific challenges posed by radiation protection, as described in particular in its Scientific Strategy and Performance Target Agreement with the government. The themes of these projects are directly aligned with IRSN’s research, in which it can now make quicker progress through the addition of its partners’ expertise. Finally, these projects help to forge links with the academic sector through the hosting of post-doctoral researchers at IRSN. This not only increases IRSN’s research capabilities but also means that greater use is made of its experimental facilities and technical platforms.
Award for best oral poster presentation given to IRSN doctoral student
Marine Boudias, an IRSN and ESPCI doctoral student working in collaboration with the Subatech and TrisKem laboratories, has won first place in the poster pitch presentation awards at the Euroanalysis Conference, which took place from September 1 to 5, 2019, in Istanbul (Turkey).
Begun in 2018, the thesis is entitled “Development of highly selective sorbents for studying migration processes of radioactive contaminants (226Ra, 137Cs) into the environment”. The aim is to develop an analytical method that will make it possible to study radium and cesium chemistry in volumes of a few microliters, which is how they may occur in pore water in soils and sediments.
The principle involves the use of ion-imprinted polymers (IIPs). These polymers mimic the molecule recognition processes present in nature: they contain “cavities” specific to an ion, which allow selective recognition of this ion. In order to create a cavity, a complex is formed between the target ion and appropriate monomer-ligands, followed by polymerization in the presence of a cross-linking agent around this complex. The target ions are then eliminated by using washing solutions to free up the specific ion “cavities” or binding sites. Marine Boudias has compared different synthesis conditions to develop specific IIPs for radium and cesium, which are two radionuclides of interest when evaluating radiological impact.
These IIPs will make it possible to study the biogeochemical dynamics and the processes through which these radionuclides are transferred between the various compartments of the biosphere, despite the low sampling volume. Further work is needed to refine the synthesis and extraction conditions to maximize selectivity, and to compare the performance of the IIPs to other existing resins before miniaturizing them in a capillary or on a lab-on-a-chip.
The Euroanalysis poster pitch presentation awards aim to showcase the work done by doctoral students and encourage them to share their discoveries.
Marine Boudias during her thesis presentation.
© Valérie Pichon
Find out more about Marine Boudias's thesis (link to be inserted)
Find out more about the LELI laboratory
Find out more about the Euroanalysis Conference
IRSN researcher wins best poster award in radiobiology
Olivier Guipaud received a best poster award in radiobiology at the ENLIGHT (European Network for Light ion Hadron Therapy) annual meeting, held on July 1–3 in Caen.
The poster, entitled Molecular profile of human primary vascular endothelial cells exposed to high doses of carbon ions in comparison to photon irradiations, focused on work carried out by the Radiobiology of Medical Exposure Laboratory (LRMED)* under the
France Hadron platform and IRSN’s
The study compared the cellular and molecular effects produced in vitro by exposure to carbon ions—with irradiation performed at the GANIL heavy ion accelerator in Caen—to those produced by exposure to photons traditionally used in radiotherapy (with irradiation performed at IRSN using a LINAC). More generally, the work aims to develop ways to assess the impact of radiation or a specific irradiation method on vascular endothelial cell function. The irradiation of these cells—in both normal and cancerous tissue—causes them to malfunction, resulting in early and late tissue damage. The study is also helpful in reviewing the concept of relative biological effectiveness (RBE), a radiobiology tool used to assess the risks of new radiotherapy techniques (“flash” radiotherapy, hypofractionation, hadron therapy, etc.) and help adapt the associated radiation protection guidelines.
* Part of the Department for Research in Radiobiology and Regenerative Medicine (Seramed) – IRSN Environment and Health Division
Find out more about the ENLIGHT annual meeting
Find out more about LRMED
Event - AwardThe IRSN recognized at the last SFRP conference
The French Radioprotection Society (SFRP) conference was held from June 18-20 in La Rochelle and was a great success! The IRSN played a key role in the event by presiding over nearly half of the sessions and co-leading four of the nine tutorials. Two researchers from the institute were presented with an award, specifically the first and second place awards for the Henri Jammet Prize.
Every two years, the SFRP conference provides all professionals who are involved in the protection against ionizing and non-ionizing radiation in the fields of research, medicine, manufacturing, and nuclear electricity with an opportunity to present their latest work and views.
Annaïg Bertho, a doctoral student at the
, won the Henri Jammet Prize for her thesis on pulmonary lesions resulting from stereotactic irradiation. Her research combines preclinical modeling with the acquisition of radiobiological data using various types of pulmonary cells and will contribute to science's understanding of the risks and effects of stereotactic irradiation on healthy tissue. As the winner of the award, Annaïg Bertho will be invited by the SFRP to attend the international IRPA conference, which will take place in Seoul, South Korea in May 2020. There, she will take part in the "Young Professional Awards" and follow in the footsteps of Nadia Bendabdallah
, an IRSN colleague who won the previous edition of the awards. The second place award of the Henri Jammet Prize was presented to Tiffany Beaumont, a researcher at the LAMIV2 who
also recently won the Pheniics Award
for her presentation on the contribution of 3D printing to the production of calibration phantoms designed for personalized internal dosimetry measurements.
Every two years, the Henri Jammet Prize recognizes young professionals or scientists for the quality and originality of their radioprotection research. This year, the jury included:
- Bernard Le Guen, President of the SFRP and the jury (EDF);
- Florence Ménétrier, representative of the "Radioprotection" Journal Commission (CEA);
- Sylvain Papin, representative of the Young SFRP Member Club (SPRA);
- Didier Gay, SFRP board member and president of the program committee (IRSN);
- Pierre-Yves Hémidy, member of the SFRP, environment section (EDF);
- Martine Souques, member of the SFRP, non-ionizing radiation section (EDF);
- Valérie Chambrette, Director of the SFRP.
The SFRP also designated Yann Billarand as its newly elected president during the La Rochelle conference. Yann Billarand is a manager under the IRSN Environment Director within the Health and Environment Division. He will take office during the next conference, which is scheduled to take place in Dijon in 2021.
1. Medical Exposure Radiobiology Laboratory, Health and Environment Division2.
Measurement Laboratory, Health and Environment Division
Find out more about Annaïg Bertho thesis
Find out more about Tiffany Beaumont work
Find out more about SFRP
An IRSN doctoral student wins a Young Scientist Award
Alexia Lapière, a doctoral student at the Radiobiology of Medical Exposure Laboratory (LRMed)*, won the third Young Scientist Award during the 13th International Probiotic Congress (IPC) held from June 17-20 in Prague, Czech Republic. This was the fourth award presented to the doctoral student since the beginning of her thesis.
Her presentation focused on her thesis research and was entitled, "Faecalibacterium prausnitzii Treatment Reduces Radiation-Induced Colorectal Injury: Application to the Management of Pelvic Radiotherapy Complications". Her work focus on the effects of a probiotic, Faecalibacterium prausnitzii, on delayed onset colonic lesions, which can occur up to 10 years after pelvic radiation therapy. This research, carried out in collaboration with INRA (French National Agronomic Research Institute) aims to assess the efficacy of this probiotic, which is administered preventively before radiation therapy, to reduce lesions in healthy tissue. Its effectiveness has already been proven in pre-clinical studies, where it was used to treat other inflammatory pathologies of the colon, such as Crohn's disease.
Alexia Lapière accepts her award. © IPC
The Young Scientist Awards, which are presented during the IPC, recognize young scientists at the start of their careers who are conducting excellent work in the fields of basic or applied research regarding probiotics and prebiotics.
*From the Health and Environment Division (PSE) of the IRSN
Find out more about IPC
The 19th issue of Aktis, IRSN’s scientific newsletter, is available
The nineteenth English-language issue of Aktis, the quarterly newsletter on IRSN’s research, is available on a HTML and PDF package. Aktis is published only in a digital version and available in HTML or text format for e-mail, RSS and pageflip PDF.
In this issue, focus on whether the vascular endothelium is a key target for improving radiotherapy treatments. Aktis n°19 also treats of Fukushima Daiichi decommissiong and also of links between radiation-induced effects, heredity and epigenetics. As well, it deals with nuclear safety regulation from 1945 to the present.
The subscription for the English and French versions is complimentary. To read this issue or subscribe, go to
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Reduction of the side effects of aerodigestive tract radiotherapy on bone tissue. Launch of the IXBONE project
The IRSN has launched its IXBONE project, which aims to develop a new cell therapy strategy to limit induced side effects on bone tissue following radiation therapy used in the treatment of cancers of the upper respiratory and digestive tracts.
The project receives funding from the ANR (Agence nationale de la recherche) obtained under the 2018 call for projects PRCE "Projet de recherche collaborative-Entreprise".
The aim of the IXBONE project is to develop a protocol for a cellular and matrix therapy based on the use of mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) in a biomaterial matrix, to help regenerate bone tissue damaged by radiation therapy in ENT. This four-year project is coordinated by the RmeS laboratory (INSERM U1229, University of Nantes-Oniris), in partnership with the Laboratory of radiobiology of medical exposures (LRMed) of the IRSN and the company OTR3.
The fourth most common cancer in humans in France, squamous cell carcinoma accounts for 90% of cancers in ENT. When treated with radiotherapy, 5% of patients develop a serious side effect called mandibular osteoradionecrosis (ORN), a necrosis of the jaw that can lead to fractures and serious disorders of swallowing and phonation (production of the sounds of spoken language).
The principle of the IXBONE project consists of local injections of bone marrow MSCs, protected by a hydrogel matrix (hydroxypropylmethyl-cellulose – HPMC) and associated with synthetic molecules, RGTAs (Regenerating Agents), which increase the therapeutic efficacy of MSCs. This principle has already been used successfully in the development of a new therapeutic strategy aimed at relieving the side effects of abdominal and pelvic radiotherapy (the
ANTHOS project). MSCs are known to act effectively in the regeneration of tissues and bones as a result of the activity of certain proteins they release.
Thanks to the development of a biomaterial intended to serve as a matrix for the MSCs as they are injected, the IXBONE project will eventually propose an effective therapeutic strategy for patients developing ORN, with the aim of a future clinical trial involving human patients suffering from ORN.
Find out more about the IXBONE project
Find out more about the Agence nationale de la recherche (ANR)
Find out more about the involved IRSN laboratory
The IRSN strengthens its commitment towards open science
The IRSN's scientific publications will now be automatically uploaded to
the French national open archive HAL
(Hyper articles en ligne), which was created in 2001 by the CNRS's Center for Direct Scientific Communication (CCSD). Anyone can now access the IRSN's digital research articles for free in accordance with the distribution rights specified by the publisher.
Over the past several years, the IRSN was been working to promote open access, particularly through the HAL platform. The institute
signed an agreement
to develop the platform in 2013. Using a new service that automatically publishes its scientific articles on HAL, the IRSN is strengthening this partnership. This decision also helps reach the goals regarding the publication of scientific knowledge and expertise sharing expressed in the
French National Plan for Open Science
and an initiative launched by Science Europe named
(1). The aim of both of these plans is to ensure that 100% of all new French scientific publications are made available on an open-access basis. The IRSN is also planning on publishing all the scientific articles written by the institute since its founding in 2002 on the HAL platform by 2021.
Jean-Christophe Niel, Director General of the IRSN, inaugurates a new service that will publish all IRSN publications on HAL. Audrey Legendre, Knowledge Engineering Manager, stands at his side. © Sandrine Marano/IRSN
By making its scientific publications available in this way, the IRSN helps to share and distribute research findings, thereby increasing the visibility of French research. The institute supports knowledge sharing in the radiology and nuclear science industries.
The IRSN receives a number of benefits by granting free access to its publications, including limitless archival storage on HAL, increased visibility of its research (complete article and full citation list), accessibility (digital and free), and distribution in accordance with the copyright limitations set by publishers.
(1) The S Plan, an initiative launched by Science Europe to promote open access to scientific publications, is supported by the European Research Council and the research funding agencies of 12 European countries.
Go to HAL portal of the IRSN