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July 3, 2024

What are the conditions and steps to become a Temporary Teaching and Research Attaché (ATER)?

Becoming a Temporary Teaching and Research Attaché (ATER) allows doctoral students at the end of their thesis, doctors or foreign teacher-researchers to acquire teaching experience and continue their research work. To access this status, you must meet certain eligibility criteria and follow a well-defined recruitment process. Let's discover together the conditions and steps to become ATER

Summary :

  1. Clarify the eligibility criteria for ATER status

  2. Detail the stages of the ATER recruitment process

  3. Understand the obligations and conditions for exercising ATER

  4. Know the duration of contracts and the possibilities for renewal

1- Clarify the eligibility criteria for ATER status

Be a category A civil servant preparing a doctorate

To claim ATER status, tenured civil servants or category A trainees currently preparing for a doctorate are eligible. This specific criterion allows these public agents to benefit from an adapted contract to carry out their thesis and a teaching activity at the same time.

Let's take the example of a tenured design engineer who is starting a thesis in economics. His status as a category A civil servant gives him the possibility of applying for an ATER position for a period of 3 years, renewable for one year. This will allow him to pursue his doctorate while gaining significant teaching experience.

It is important to note that only real category A civil servants, therefore excluding contract workers, are eligible for specific 3-year ATER contracts. This restrictive condition aims to target profiles that already have stable experience and status in the public service.

Be a doctoral student at the end of your thesis, doctor preparing for competitive exams, foreign teacher-researcher, ex-monitor or ex-research grantee

In addition to category A civil servants, several other profiles are eligible for ATER status. This is the case for doctoral students finalizing their thesis, for whom this contract can be an opportunity to complete their doctorate while acquiring initial experience. of teaching. Doctors preparing for higher education recruitment exams, such as qualification for lecturer positions, can also apply.

Let's imagine a doctoral student in biotechnology reaching the final year of her thesis. Becoming an ATER would allow him to benefit from additional funding to complete his research peacefully, while becoming familiar with the multiple facets of the profession of teacher-researcher. A valuable experience to prepare for your future academic career.

Furthermore, ATER status is open to foreign teacher-researchers wishing to teach in France for a fixed period. Former instructors or research grantees who have completed their doctoral contract are also concerned. For these different profiles, becoming an ATER represents an interesting gateway to an academic career.

Did you know that category A civil servants preparing a doctorate can benefit from a 3-year ATER contract renewable for 1 year, compared to a 1-year contract renewable for 1 year for most other eligible profiles?

2- Detail the stages of the ATER recruitment process

Apply for positions published by establishments

The first step to becoming an ATER consists of applying for positions published by higher education establishments. These offers are generally published on the websites of universities and schools, as well as on platforms specializing in academic employment.

Let's take the case of a doctor in political science aiming for an ATER position. She will have to regularly monitor the sites of faculties likely to interest her and subscribe to alerts from dedicated portals such as GALAXIE. By putting together solid application files highlighting their research work and teaching skills, they will maximize their chances of being selected.

Admissions managers can facilitate this step by communicating in a targeted manner about vacant ATER positions to relevant candidate pools, such as doctoral students and doctors. Setting up a simple and intuitive online application system also helps attract more applicants.

Be selected after advice of the scientific council and appointed by the president or director of the establishment

Once applications are received, the ATER selection process continues. The files are examined by the scientific council of the establishment, which issues an advisory opinion. On this basis, the president or director of the establishment makes a choice among the applicants and proceeds with recruitment by fixed-term contract.

Let's illustrate this with a foreign teacher-researcher applying to the IEP in Paris. After study of his career by the scientific council, the director of Sciences Po will decide on his recruitment as ATER for a period of one year. A tailor-made contract will then be established, specifying the expected teaching and research obligations.

To guarantee equal opportunities, it is essential that the criteria for selecting files are transparent and made known to the candidates. Communicating the results to applicants within a reasonable time frame also helps to strengthen the attractiveness of this recruitment process.

“The president or director of the establishment recruits ATERs by fixed-term contract, the duration of which varies depending on the category of ATER to which the candidate falls.”

For admissions managers, supporting this process is an integral part of academic excellence:


Key actions


Publication of positions

Disseminate offers on relevant channels (websites, academic job portals)

Attract quality candidates

Folder selection

Define and share transparent evaluation criteria

Guarantee equal opportunities

Communication of results

Inform candidates within a reasonable time frame

Strengthen the attractiveness of recruitment

3- Understand the obligations and conditions for exercising ATER

Provide a service of 128 hours of lessons, 192 hours of tutorials or 288 hours of practical work per year full-time, which can be reduced by half to part-time

As an ATER, you will be responsible for providing a consistent teaching service. Full-time, this represents 128 hours of lectures, 192 hours of tutorials or 288 hours of practical work per academic year. These volumes are established by regulation and are binding on all establishments.

Let's take the example of a doctoral student at the end of his thesis recruited as a full-time ATER. He will have to provide on average 4 hours of lectures or 6 hours of tutorials each week. In order to be able to prepare your courses and continue your doctoral research effectively, good time management and a sense of organization will be essential.

However, it is possible to perform ATER functions part-time, up to 50% of the work quota. In this case, the service obligations are reduced by half, i.e. 64 hours of courses, 96 hours of tutorial or 144 hours of practical work minimum. This possibility is particularly interesting for doctoral students wishing to devote more time to their thesis.

Participate in the various obligations linked to teaching: supervision, knowledge control, exams

Beyond the hours of face-to-face teaching, being an ATER involves taking part in the multiple tasks related to teaching. You will thus be required to supervise students, for example during tutored projects or internships. Preparing courses and designing teaching materials are also an integral part of the mission.

Let's imagine an ATER in law having to supervise an M1 class for their end-of-studies thesis. This will involve regular monitoring, with collective methodology sessions and individual meetings to guide the students' work. A time-consuming but rewarding investment.

In addition, you will participate in the control of knowledge, whether through continuous assessments, partials or final exams. Monitoring the tests and correcting the papers are the responsibility of the ATERs in the same way as the regular teachers. Finally, depending on needs, your presence may be required during juries deliberating on the admission of students.

To facilitate the distribution of ATER positions, Science Po Paris has deployed and configured a dedicated admissions platform. A tool that simplifies communication with relevant candidate pools.

Respect the rules for the accumulation of activities of public agents, with possibilities depending on the amount of work

Like any public agent, ATERs are subject to precise rules regarding the accumulation of activities. You must ensure that you respect them alongside your contract. The possibilities for accumulation depend mainly on your workload.

Let's take the case of a doctor in biology, part-time ATER and wishing to continue a consulting activity with companies. If he performs his service at 50%, this accumulation will be possible subject to compatibility with his university obligations. On the other hand, 100%, such ancillary activity will not be authorized.

For example, an ATER working full-time will not be able to hold another public job simultaneously. However, certain ancillary activities remain possible, such as expertise or research work, subject to the agreement of your employing establishment. For a part-time ATER, the regulations offer more flexibility in the authorized accumulations. It is therefore important to find out about your individual situation beforehand.

ATER work quota

Possibilities of accumulation


Limited accessory activities (expertise, research) with employer agreement

Part time 50%

Accumulation possible if compatible with ATER obligations

For admission managers, being well informed about these rules makes it possible to attract varied profiles to ATER positions.

4- Know the duration of contracts and the possibilities for renewal

Contract of 1 to 3 years depending on the profile, renewable for 1 year

The duration of ATER contracts is not unique but varies depending on the profile of the candidate recruited. For category A civil servants preparing their doctorate, the initial contract runs over a period of 3 years. It is renewable once for an additional year, bringing the maximum total duration to 4 years.

Let's take the example of a hospital engineer starting a thesis in public health. By being recruited as an ATER, she will benefit from this 3-year contract, real security to carry out her ambitious research project. If necessary, a one-year extension will allow him to finalize his thesis with peace of mind.

With regard to other eligible profiles (doctoral students at the end of their thesis, doctors preparing for competitive examinations, foreign teacher-researchers, former instructors or research grantees), the first contract is generally concluded for one year. It can also be extended by a one-year renewal. The cumulative duration cannot therefore exceed 2 years for these categories of ATER

Fixed and non-extendable maximum durations, even part-time

A fundamental point to remember is that the maximum durations of ATER contracts, as defined by regulatory texts, are fixed and non-negotiable. Whatever the profile concerned, it is not possible to obtain an extension beyond the planned limits.

Let's imagine a doctoral student in literature recruited as an ATER to prepare for competitive exams. His initial one-year contract is renewed once. At the end of his second year, he will not be able to request a new endorsement, even if he wishes to try his luck again in the competitions. The rules are strict and apply uniformly.

In conclusion, becoming a Temporary Teaching and Research Attaché (ATER) is an invaluable opportunity for doctoral students at the end of their thesis, doctors preparing for competitive examinations, foreign lecturers and civil servants. This status allows them to acquire significant experience in higher education while continuing their research work. To access this position, candidates must meet specific eligibility criteria, follow a rigorous recruitment process and respect the obligations and conditions of service specific to ATER

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