As part of the UNITA Alliance, 14 excellent Doctoral Candidates will enrol the CHORAL programme in Cultural Heritage.

Coordinated by the Université de Pau et des Pays de l'Adour, CHORAL (Cultural Heritage Outreach in RomAnce Languages) is a Horizon Europe Marie Skłodowska Curie programme co-funded by the European Union. It is tied to the Cultural Heritage Hub, an international research network within the Alliance, which structures its research ecosystem facing cultural related challenges.

CHORAL aims to train high-quality international researchers and to encourage the development of interdisciplinary, international and inter-sectoral research that addresses any aspect of Cultural Heritage.  

The successful candidates will enroll in PhD programs under joint supervision that will require an international mobility. Choral students will benefit from dedicated events and a tailored doctoral training programme.

Applications for the fist call are closed. Next call will open on November, 2024 for 14 grants on multiple PhD research topics in 7 universities of the UNITA Alliance for  fully funded  3-years PhDs, starting on fall 2024.

Why undertake a CHORAL PhD?

  • Get high quality training and research guaranteed by the expertise of the UNITA Alliance Research Laboratories within the dedicated Cultural Heritage Hub.

  • Collaborate with partners and international leaders in Cultural Heritage.

  • Enjoy dedicated support: from reception to professional integration.

  • To be a player in the social, economic and cultural transformation of rural and cross-border mountain territories.

  • Benefit from dedicated mobility and travel allowances and research costs support.

  • Graduated with a double degree from 2 different European Universities


Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or REA. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.

PhD research topics

Candidates cannot propose their own subjects nor write a proposal. Research topics have been proposed by habilited supervisors from the Doctoral Schools of UPPA and the implementing partners after a call launched towards the academic community of the programme. Candidates must choose among the subjects posted on the CHORAL interface. Each candidate can apply to 3 topics MAXIMUM.

CHORAL places cultural heritage and the cultural and creative industries at the very heart of the research programme. It is designed to train the future generations of Cultural Heritage experts in Europe, with the scope of covering all aspects of cultural heritage, with a special focus on remote or endangered areas

Research topics focus on the subjects studied on the Cultural Heritage Hub (CHH) comprised in the following themes:

  • Study and preservation of tangible CH: visual arts, monuments and buildings, archaeological sites, palaeontology, industrial archaeology, places of memory, museums and collections, art conservation and restoration, legislation for the protection of cultural and natural heritage

  • Intangible CH and identity narratives: oral traditions, romance languages and literature, performing arts (music, dance, drama), rituals, travels, cultural identity, religion, collective and individual memory, migrations, vulnerable communities, gender studies, transnational history, values, human rights

  • Enhancement and dissemination of cultural and natural heritage: tourism and valorisation, education, communication, heritage management, digitisation/digital tools, storytelling, institutions and heritage

  • Innovation policies for the development of marginalised areas: natural heritage and cultural landscapes, climate impact on mountain/rural areas, flora, agriculture, and landscape, culture and food, fauna, livestock farming and biodiversity sectors to ensure the economic strength of mountain regions and cross-border communities.


All the CHORAL doctoral candidates will be associated to 2 universities in the Alliance awarding the PhD double-degree complemented by short stays with associated partners. The proposed combination of secondments and short stays promotes mobility and exposes CHORAL doctoral students to different research environment. During the 36 months PhD programme, each doctoral candidate will have to spend at least 9 months outside the recruiting university, including at least 6 months in the co-supervising university. The other 3 months can also be spent in another entity, increasing the international exposure of the doctoral candidates.

Eligibility criteria

The candidate must respect the following eligibility criteria to apply for the CHORAL program:

  • Diploma: the candidate must be doctoral candidate, it’s to say not already in possession of a doctoral degree at the deadline of the call. The candidate must be in possession of a Master’s Degree enabling to do a PhD in Social Sciences, Arts, Architecture and Humanities applied to Cultural Heritage.

  • Seniority: Any candidate in possession of the required diploma can apply regardless of the year of the obtention of the diploma.

  • Mobility rule: Marie Curie Actions Rule: Researchers must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc) in the country of the recruiting entity for more than 12 months in the 36 months preceding the date of the call deadline. Compulsory national service, short stays such as holidays, and time spent as part of a procedure for obtaining refugee status under the Geneva Convention are not considered.

  • Nationality: The call is open to researchers of any nationality.

  • Language: Applicants whose first language is not English are required to provide proofs of proficiency of this required language skills, at least Cambridge First Certificate or equivalent.

  • Number of applications: Possibility to apply to 3 PhD research topics topics offered within a call for proposals.

  • The candidates have to make sure to be in possession of a visa to work in European Union.

  • Formal proposal criteria: application submitted before the deadline (all required support documents must be submitted online via the call website), completeness of the application, application submitted in English.

Application Requirements

In order to apply to the call, applicants must register on the CHORAL application platform and submit  a complete application composed by :

  • The candidate’s extended CV (PDF format – a template will be provided), which will contain information including identity, education background, research activities track record and a list of two referees (who will provide reference letters)

  • Ethics and security issues self-assessment

  • A personal statement (PDF format –  template  provided), including : general motivation letter for participation in CHORAL and the research topic, qualifications and achievements, career development objectives, collaboration requested beyond higher education sectr for short stays.

  • Reference letters : two reference letters must be included. Each referee will provide a letter concerning the applicant’s previous research activities, research capacity and work experience.

  • Copies of certificate of academic degrees and marks reports during the Master’s studies ; for candidates with a master degree in progress during the academic year of the call, marks and rankings corresponding to the first semester of the course.

  • Copies of certificates of English language : Cambridge First Certificate or equivalent, TOEIC, TOEFL, a certificate of your Master’s university attesting the English level.

  • Copy of a valid passport (for non-EU candidates)

  • A declaration on honour attesting all the information declared are true.

Training programme and career development


The CHORAL training programme offers a unique opportunity for young researchers to gain expertise in the field of Cultural heritage, Languages, Cultural management and digitisation. The program, based upon mobility, combines individual research projects, including secondments with a mandatory joint doctoral training programme and host institutions local courses. The joint doctoral training will be built on the activities developed within the Cultural Heritage Hub (workshops, thematic schools and lectures), as well as the training activities developed within the UNITA doctoral schools. CHORAL joint doctoral programme will be composed of 4 sub-training areas: research and cultural heritage, linguistic expertise, cultural management and digitalisation, complementary and transversal skills. 

Intersectoral exposure will also be fostered, doctoral candidates are encouraged to have short stays in non-academic organization relevant to their research project.  Training in non-academic specific transferable skills such as intellectual property, exploitation of results, ethics, etc, will also be delivered and completed by seminars involving non-academic associated partners as an opportunity for doctoral student both to gain knowledge in scientific and transferable skills.

The doctoral candidates will also increase their linguistic skills in English and be encouraged to develop their skills while working in a multilingual environment. During the mobility period, they will be expected to develop their reading skills in Romance languages spoken within UNITA alliance.

Personalised Support

Each doctoral candidate will have a Personalised Career Development Plan (PCDP) which is developed within the first 3 months of the fellowship. The PCDP will address research plan, publication strategy, and career development activities both with regards to scientific and non-scientific skills. CHORAL will help them develop a clear, explicit and relevant professional pathway towards a successful career as research leaders. The PCDP will be reviewed and updated on a regular basis through meetings with the doctoral candidate.

Career opportunities

CHORAL aims at enhancing the career perspectives and employability of the doctoral candidates, in line with the Europe Skills Agenda. CHORAL will help to the completion of a PhD in top-level research universities within the worldwide acknowledged MSCA program. CHORAL will give the opportunities to rely on international, intersectoral an interdisciplinary network for future collaborations and opportunities by pushing the doctoral candidates to go beyond their boundaries.

The programme includes training with non-academic partners which will ensures the alignment between employers‘needs outside academia and skills development. As a result, they will develop a realistic perspective on the requirements of jobs in such and gain an important understanding of how scientific, experimental knowledge can be applied in non-academic environments. This will contribute to broaden their scientific perspective, increase their skills and innovation capacity as well as their attractiveness towards the private sector.

Selection process

The selection process will follow the European Charter for Researchers and Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers. All evaluators involved in the selection will be independent, with no conflict of interest.

CHORAL selection process consists of three parts :

  • Eligibility criteria evaluation

  • Experts evaluation : a review panel with three external expert will evaluate the CV, personal statement, marks and referres letters. None of them will be affiliated to UPPA or CHORAL partners.

Evaluation of applicant’s credentials


Max. Score




●Qualifications ●Academic marks and rankings at the Master’s level of their academic cursus ●Research track-record ●Training ● reference letters

Leadership  Potential


● Suitability to the PhD topic ● Publications (if any) ● Ability to work independently and to take responsibility ● Diversity of dissemination and communication activities ● Previous/current partnerships and collaborations ● International experience ● Engagement with stakeholders ● Ability to forge beyond disciplinary specialisms.

Career development


● Relevance of the programme at this career stage ● Contribution to CHORAL strategy ● Commitment to interdisciplinary research ● Scope for new partnerships ● Profile development activity ● Potential contribution to international research community

The best-ranked proposals for each PhD topics will be short-listed for interviews, and applicants will be informed of the output of this step by the PM, via the online platform.

  • Interviews of the candidates : the selected candidates will be interviewed by a selection comittee. After all the interviews, a proposal ranking list for each PhD position will be issued, including a principal and a reserve list.

CHORAL will ensue a truly independant transparent, excellent and professional evaluation of all the applications submitted under the different calls. CHORAL will carry out an intensive campaign to find the best researchers and scientific professionals worldwide to take part in its review panel as external reviewers.

Selections will be made regardless of gender, nationality, religion, ethnicity and cultural background, but aiming for a good balance among the group.

Fellowship conditions

In each PhD position, the doctoral candidate is enrolled in two universities :  the recruiting  university and the co-supervising university.  Each doctoral candidate will be hired by the recruiting university for a 36-month Research work contract (doctoral contract), governed by the recruiting university national regulations.

In all cases, the employment conditions for doctoral candidates will follow the Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers. Doctoral candidates will be subject to employment conditions and entitlements similar to those of permanent researchers regarding working hours, paid annual leave, health care coverage, maternity/paternity leave, pension, and unemployment insurance. They may also be eligible for a family allowance depending on their individual situation. Gender equality will be guaranteed throughout the recruitment process. Support will also be provided to researchers with disabilities and researchers holding refugee status. Applicants having taken a career break may be eligible for the project, as long as they apply within three years from obtaining their Master’s degree.

CHORAL fellows will benefit from the following advantages:

The monthly gross salary will depend on the recruiting country. The following list presents an indicative gross salary after employers' taxation, provided as guidance. The salary gross amount may be subject to changes corresponding to taxes increases/decreases 

  • France: 2131,50€/month (approximative net salary 1713€/month over 12 months (further information
  • Italy: 2270€/month (approximative net salary 2005€/month over 12 months)
  • Spain: 2164€/month (approximative net salary 1701€/month over 12 months (further information
  • Romania: 2740€/month (approximative net salary 1603€/month over 12 months (further information

The net salary amount may be subject to changes and corresponding personal tax position.

Mobility allowance up to 4500 € over the 3-year period to partially cover travels, accommodation, etc. linked to secondments for the project duration.

Conference allowance up to 3500 € over the 3-year period of the PhD, to cover expenses related to the travel for attendance or participation to conferences, workshops.

 Gender dimension and other diversity aspects in research

The UNITA alliance has already launched by a program called « UNITA towards gender equality in research » that will be followed for the CHORAL project. Being aware of the difficulties that gender bias can represent at later stages of career, CHORAL will involve young researchers regardless gender as well as senior women researchers in management and research role which will greatly impact on the empowerment of high potential actors towards future leadership in Cultural Heritage. CHORAL will implement an equal opportunities procedure for the doctoral candidate’s selection, where excellence will be the main selection criteria, taking into account a gender mix. Based on the Gender Actions Plans of each hiring entity, CHORAL will promote equal gender participation defining special measures and targets to promote equal opportunities.

Cultural Heritage Hub

The CHORAL program will be overseen by the Cultural Heritage Hub develop within UNITA. The CHH has achieved to create an active network that promotes interdisciplinary approaches and facilitates collaboratives research with high scientific impact. The CHH comprises several disciplines and research groups – a community dedicated to the study and development of all aspects of cultural heritage as defined by UNESCO. It aims to provide one of the most attractive and innovative environments in Europe for researchers and students in Cultural Heritage, and to be an actor of socioeconomic vitality and diversification for mountain regions and cross-border regions, stimulating synergies with academic entities and socio-economic partners.


How many PhD positions will be awarded this year ?

For September 2024, 14 PhD grants will be awarded, following 2 rounds of selection.

Is it possible to apply to more than one research topic ?

Yes, PhD candidates can apply up to three PhD resarch topics, among those listed in the programme. 

Is joint supervision mandatory ?

Yes, all candidates will be enrolled in two universities.

Are there any prerequisites related to age or nationality?

There is no age or nationality requirement for applicants.