At CERN, we employ staff at all levels, from apprenticeship up to PhDs, and this in a wide variety of disciplines. Opportunities are open in diverse fields. Take part !
Applied Physics positions at CERN encompass work in all areas of physics that are required for the design, construction and operation of the world’s largest particle accelerator complex and its associated experimental detectors. This includes the development of new concepts, systems and components for upgrades to the existing facilities as well as for future accelerators and detectors for particle physics research. Physics graduates are typically involved with developments in areas such as particle detection techniques, charged particle beam dynamics, acceleration techniques, material science and ultra-high vacuum, lasers and plasmas, low temperature physics and superconductivity, electromagnetism and high voltage, particle-matter interaction and radiation effects. This work can involve building a theoretical understanding, developing or using simulation tools, constructing and testing prototypes and final devices, designing control and data acquisition systems, performing measurements and data analysis.
Analytics & Data Science
Analysing data collected by the big physics experiments has been CERN's bread and butter, and was done since its existence mainly with in-house tools. More recently, mainstream big data analysis tools are being used not only there but also in many other areas of CERN.
Health, Safety & Environment
Safety at CERN covers occupational health and safety, radiation protection, the protection of the environment and the safe operation of CERN’s installations. CERN’s HSE Unit has a broad mandate covering the establishment the Organization's regulatory framework in matters of Safety, the provision of advice and support in matters of occupational health and safety, radiation protection, as well as the monitoring of and reporting on the environmental impact of the Organization’s activities. The Unit also operates an Occupational Health Service and a Fire and Rescue Service.
People from many different countries, from varied backgrounds and domains of expertise, ranging from physics, engineering and computing to communication, administration and law work side by side in this diverse Unit: this provides graduates in STEM fields many different ways to participate. Take part!
Material and Surface Science
The choice, production and maintenance of surfaces with the suitable properties are crucial requirements for the successful operation of the accelerators of CERN. The beam of charged particles is circulating in pipes under very high vacuum, reaching an overall length of 130 km. To ensure this level of vacuum, all such surfaces are prepared with precision cleaning or etching in a plant with appropriate chemical baths and in some cases a further thermal treatment is necessary to reduce gas release. The properties of the surface are often modified by covering it with adapted thin films produced by wet chemical or physical methods. CERN has developed micrometre thick layers, which can contribute to pumping residual gases and improve the vacuum of the pipes. Other thin layers enable to operate with more stable beams and mitigate the emission of perturbing electrons from the walls in line of sight of the particle beam. In a further case, copper plating of the surfaces can improve the electrical conductivity. Last, but not least, specific analysis techniques, which can measure chemical composition and structure in the topmost layers of the materials, enable the quality control of the surfaces and diagnostics in case of non-conformities.
Software Engineering & IT
Software is instrumental in CERN's mission of producing particle beams for physics experiments. Particle accelerators are complex installations with thousands of devices of all kinds that continuously shape, steer, observe and measure the particle beams. They are coordinated by the "accelerator control system", a vast distributed software system that ensures that each device involved does the right thing at the right moment and thus contributes to producing the particle beam. Our Engineers develop software at all layers, from firmware and embedded real-time systems, over micro-service-based backend server software, with huge databases, all the way up to GUIs used the control room and public information systems on the Web.
We consequently use main-stream, non-proprietary, open-source software systems as the basis of our work and strive to stay up to date with technology. Here are a few examples of such technology to give you an idea of our choices. Linux with Ansible for automation, docker containers and Kubernetes as execution platform; Java, Python, C++ and Typescript as programming languages; Kafka, Hadoop, and Spark for data analysis; Oracle, HBase, Influx, OpenSearch for data storage; Spring boot microservices with REST endpoints as architectural building blocks; Gitlab CI, Artifactory, SonarQube for quality assurance.
The knowledge you acquire here is not tied to accelerators or CERN, but generally valid and transferable to many other employers in industry and high-tech.
Working at CERN as a Civil Engineer is the opportunity to interface with a variety of technical experts, scientific users, transverse technical and administrative services. Deeply involved in all phases of design, procurement and execution, civil engineers at CERN benefit from decades of experience and good practices on a variety of infrastructures such as tunnels, new machine and tertiary buildings, existing building’s refurbishment, transport infrastructures and much more.
At CERN we do new things, we innovate, civil engineers are involved at an early stage of projects concept’s definition integrating with all technical domains, they provide an important contribution to make impossible projects become possible. There is never a dull moment and you never know what challenge you will face next!
Electrical or Electronics engineering
Electronics and Electrical engineering are two key domains to build CERN’s highly complex scientific instruments such as the powerful particle accelerators or the huge detectors installed at each collision point. Hundreds of Electronics and Electrical engineers are daily contributing to their conception, implementation, test, and maintenance.
As a young graduate or professional, you will have the opportunity to work at the cutting edge of technology, as well as contribute and broaden your knowledge in areas as varied as:
Microelectronics design for harsh environments (ASICs and sensors), verification, testing and integration;
Hardware design of complex PCBs, simulation, and testing;
Firmware and Software design using most recent FPGAs and SoCs;
Signal processing based on DSPs and GPU acceleration;
Optoelectronic and Photonic components design (Silicon Photonics or high-speed optical devices);
System design, simulation and characterization of complex electronic and optoelectronic chains;
Low voltage power supply design for demanding detector instrumentation;
Computer system design based on large computer farms embedding custom electronics;
Implementation or customization of high bandwidth communication networks based on latest encoding and modulation techniques;
Design and implementation of the radiofrequency cavities in charge of particle acceleration;
High power electrical design and distribution to feed the huge needs in electricity required by the accelerators;
Design of state-of-the-art superconductive magnets for accelerators.
CERN is an engineering lab that produces physics research, so engineers of all types and with all qualifications are the life blood. We are a facility: building and maintaining the particle accelerators that are the tools of our trade.
Mechanical engineers are key to most parts of an accelerator, from the exotic such as the materials and fluids inside superconducting magnets operating at -270C, to impressive structures that support physics detectors weighing 14’000 tones with micron precision as well as the essential services to build and maintain all of our machines operating 24/7.
Many of the engineering skills you need here can’t be taught at college or university, so you don’t need to be an expert. Early career engineers here will always have projects to call their own, but with specialised training and support to make sure you develop and succeed in the fascinating, high-tech, multi-national world that is CERN.
Finance, Procurement and Logistics, Human Resources, Legal Services, Minute-writing and translation, Scientific information and document management, Audit.
Diplomatic and Stakeholder Relations
If you are passionate about diplomacy, science policy and partnership-building, then the Diplomatic and Stakeholder Relations group of the International Relations sector may be the place for you.
The group promotes support for CERN’s activities from Member States, Associate Member States and beyond, and builds strategic partnerships with other international organisations, CERN alumni, potential donors and a range of other stakeholders in support of CERN’s mission.
Bringing together professionals from a variety of backgrounds and fields (in science and beyond), we cover diverse and ever-evolving areas ranging from diplomatic relations with CERN’s Member, Host, Associate and non-Member States and international organisations (scientific, UN system and others) to the organisation of high-level visits, fundraising from private sources and alumni relations.
We welcome graduates with a background in Social Sciences or STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), and knowledge of the areas mentioned above.
More information here.
Education, Communications and Outreach
If you are passionate about communicating fundamental research through diverse channels, products and formats, then CERN’s Education, Communications and Outreach group (ECO) in the International Relations Sector (IR) may be the place for you.
In a fast-paced, diverse working environment with many exciting challenges, the ECO group is responsible for maintaining support for CERN's mission from all its stakeholders, generating public engagement with CERN’s activities and with particle physics, fostering community-building within CERN and the international particle physics community, and raising awareness of CERN’s societal impact.
We cover several areas, such as science and strategic communications (including internal communications), press and media relations, digital communications (including social media), exhibitions, event programming and organisation, education resources and programmes, arts and science, visits to the Laboratory.
The group is composed of professionals covering all its activities: writers and editors, media officers, graphic designers, web designers and developers, social media content developers, science education specialists, exhibition developers, photographers and video editors, event organisers and curators.
We welcome graduates with a background in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) or Social Sciences, and knowledge of the areas mentioned above.
More information here.