CERN Non-Member State PhD Studentship Scheme


The non-Member State (NMS) PhD Studentship Scheme provides young, high-calibre PhD students with the opportunity to participate in the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) experiments, in addition to other scientific and technological activities in the CERN programme. The scheme offers students in particle physics, applied physics, information technology (IT), computing and engineering from NMS a unique chance to deepen their knowledge in a truly unique organisation. They will get involved in world-famous experiments and accelerator projects of unprecedented scale and scope and will bring new skills and a range of expertise back to their home countries and regions.

How it started:

The original programme, the “ATLAS PhD Grant Scheme”, was founded in 2014 by Fabiola Gianotti and Peter Jenni, former ATLAS spokespersons, who donated the Fundamental Physics Special Breakthrough Prize awarded for their leading role in the discovery of the Higgs boson. Now, after many successful years, and thanks to the pilot scheme for doctoral studentships for students from CERN NMS, the programme has evolved into this new initiative.

The Studentship Scheme:

Selected candidates receive a studentship to work towards a PhD thesis while spending up to two years at CERN, at the forefront of science, over the full period of their PhD studies.

Our objectives:

  •  Provide opportunities for young, high-calibre PhD students in particle physics, applied physics, IT, computing and engineering to obtain world-class exposure, supervision and training in CERN experiments and accelerator projects.
  • Deliver on CERN’s capacity-building target by providing training in the fields of particle physics and related areas.
  • Give students the chance to bring new skills and a range of expertise back to their home countries and regions.
  • Boost participation in the LHC/High-Luminosity LHC and future major projects at CERN.
  • Give students in countries with limited exposure to CERN the chance to become CERN ambassadors.

Eligibility and qualifications:

All NMS nationalities are eligible to apply to the NMS PhD Studentship Scheme; you can find the list here.

Since diversity and inclusion are an integral part of CERN’s mission and are established values of the Organization, priority will be given to students studying in developing countries or regions and to those studying in countries and regions with developing particle physics communities.

To qualify for a place, PhD students will need to meet the following requirements:

  • Be enrolled in university and have completed at least one year of PhD studies.
  • Have already have agreed on their thesis subject with their home university or are looking for one.
  • Have a good knowledge of English and/or French.

Responsibility for full PhD supervision and awarding of the degree lies with the home university; daily co-supervision while at CERN is by a CERN staff member.

Application period:

Please note that the application period has expired on 30 August 2023 CEST .

The programme for PhD students from non-Member states is only possible thanks to generous donations from individuals, companies and foundations.

Support the scientists of tomorrow by making a donation now!