Doctoral Thesis

This funding aims to utilize the scientific capacity of Ph.D. students of Iranian universities and research institutes and foster healthy scientific competition to contribute to the development of science and technology. Funding for a Doctoral Thesis is provided in three categories:

  • Independent Doctoral Thesis: doctoral theses of university/research institute students, carried out in their respective universities and research institutes.
  • MoU-Based Doctoral Thesis: doctoral theses of university/research institute students carried out within the scopes of MoUs signed between INSF and universities/research institutes to provide balanced national support
  • Special Calls Doctoral Thesis: doctoral theses of university/research institute students carried out based on national priorities, in specified topics, and within a special timeframe announced on the INSF website

Terms and Conditions for Applicants 

  2. The doctoral student must be a full-time student at an Iranian university/research institute, having successfully passed the comprehensive exam.
  3. The proposal must be submitted in the format provided by INSF.
  4. The time elapsed from the defense date of the doctoral thesis topic to the date of proposal submission at INSF may not exceed one year.
  5. The time elapsed from the start of the doctoral program to the proposal submission date at INSF may not exceed three academic years.
  6. The topic of the thesis must be aligned with the research and technology priorities of INSF.
  7. The applicant may not be a scholarship holder or an employee in the public or private sector.
  8. The Doctoral Thesis proposal may not have been previously submitted by the advisor to INSF or other funding organizations as a research proposal.
  9. The advisor may not have an ongoing Doctoral Thesis at INSF.

Required Documents:

All documents are to be completed and uploaded electronically via the INSF Research Management System:

  1. Doctoral Thesis proposal including the implementation timeline
  2. The approval minutes for the doctoral thesis completed in the INSF required format bearing the university/research institute’s letterhead
  3. Doctoral level transcripts issued by the university/research institute
  4. Certification of success in the comprehensive exam issued by the university/research institute
  5. The list of internal and external thesis reviewers
  6. Applicant’s CV in the INSF required format
  7. The thesis advisor’s CV in the INSF required format
  8. Thesis advisor’s personnel order
  9. Two recommendation letters from faculty members of the applicant’s university/research institute having background relevant to the applicant’s field of study


INSF receives proposals for the Doctoral Theses funding three times a year through a call for proposals. Special Calls Doctoral Theses may only be submitted during the relevant call timeline.

Amount of Funding

Minimum and maximum funding for the Doctoral Theses and their allocation process are determined annually by the INSF Scientific Board while INSF Review Groups determine the specific funding amount for each approved proposal. 

The funding is allocated in three phases based on progress reports submitted to INSF. Part of the funding is allocated to the PhD student as a research grant and the rest to the supervisor to cover research costs. The funding may not be used for other purposes.

  • First Phase: 40% of the funding is paid as an advance after the signing of the contract with INSF.
  • Second Phase: 40% of the funding is paid upon the submission of a 50% progress report by the advisor and after receiving confirmation from the INSF assigned supervisor.
  • Third Phase: 20% of the funding is paid after the Ph.D. student defends the doctoral thesis upon the submission of the final progress report and proposal commitments by the advisor and after receiving confirmation from the INSF-assigned supervisor.

How to Submit Proposals

  1. INSF annually announces calls at three intervals according to the specified schedule. 
  2. After the deadline for each call, INSF reviews all proposals through its Reviews Groups and the Scientific Board.
  3. All proposals must be submitted by the advisor through the INSF Research Management System.
  4. Information regarding the proposal and the preliminary review results are communicated to the INSF Research Management System within one month after proposal submission.

Evaluation Process

All proposals will undergo the following process. Applicants can track every step of the process through the INSF Research Management System

  1. INSF officers assess proposals based on standards for proposal format and required documents submitted. In some cases, officers may ask for modification, or reject those proposals, which do not meet INSF standards.
  2. A relevant INSF Review Group does a review of a proposal.
  3. Proposals with positive reviews are sent to the Scientific Board. Review Groups suggest a supervisor for each project to the Board.
  4. INSF Scientific Board will determine the budget, supervisor, and commitments of each project.