Supporting the next generation of high-tech entrepreneurs

Supporting the next generation of high-tech entrepreneurs

Mon, 02/09/2019 - 09:01


By Silje Uhlen Maurset

On 21 August, the second CERN Entrepreneurship Student Programme (CESP) drew to a close with the 14 participating students presenting their final projects. After a unique five-week residency at the Laboratory, the students proposed new ventures based on CERN’s technologies and expertise and their applications to society.

Finding application areas and market opportunities for technologies developed for a specific purpose at CERN can be challenging. But with coaching from experts in technology and entrepreneurship, as well as mentorship from CERN’s Knowledge Transfer group, the students have developed four promising projects with the potential of becoming start-up companies in the near future.


CESP is a great opportunity to learn about entrepreneurship while working together with people from all over the world.

– CESP Student 2019

The first team presented a concept using the C2MON framework to use agricultural data to better predict and improve production in greenhouses. The second team wants to use CERN’s Structured Laser Beam for microplastics detection in wastewater, and are already in contact with potential customers and partners for further testing. Conversations about joint test projects are also ongoing for the third team, focusing on post-fire surveillance of wildfires using a flame detector developed at CERN. The final team presented a way to use CERN’s REMUS framework for industrial control and monitoring at construction sites.

CESP was organised for the first-time last summer, and is a part of CERN’s effort to foster a culture of entrepreneurship and nurture the next generation of high-tech entrepreneurs. It is supported by the CERN & Society Foundation, established to enhance CERN’s beneficial footprint on society. The programme is aimed at master’s level students with combined backgrounds in technology and entrepreneurship. Throughout the programme, the students explored and evaluated CERN technologies, looking for application areas outside of high-energy physics. The participants have the opportunity to come back to CERN, in order to continue developing their projects.



Thanks to this programme, I can make a difference by working on ideas that contribute to society.

– CESP Student 2019

In 2019, like in 2018, CESP was made possible thanks to the generous support from entrepreneur William Hurley, also known as ‘whurley’. Additional support was received from the Arconic Foundation. The highly competitive and popular programme will be arranged again in 2020 and 2021. The CERN & Society Foundation is looking for additional donors to expand the programme. Applications for next year’s edition will open in early 2020.