"CERN is ideal for entrepreneurship"

Meet Ranveig, CERN Fellow from Norway


Hi Ranveig, tell us a little about yourself and how you came to CERN.
I first came to CERN in 2015 to conduct market assessments based on CERN technologies, as part of the annual NTNU Screening Week. CERN immediately struck me as an interesting place, and when I got the chance to write my Master’s Thesis here, while working as an Administrative Student in the Knowledge Transfer group, I knew I had to seize the opportunity. Now, one year later, I just started a new contract as Entrepreneurship Development Officer – a Fellow position in the Knowledge Transfer group.

With a background in business development and entrepreneurship, people often ask how this is related to CERN. CERN’s mission is basic science, probing the fundamental structure of the Universe, while entrepreneurship, on the other hand, revolves around the creation of new ventures. These two fields are inherently different. However, I would claim that CERN is ideal for entrepreneurship: being a hub for top-notch, multidisciplinary scientists, engineers and professionals from all corners of the world, committed to advance their fields, to explore the unknown and to learn. Moreover, people come and go at CERN, always ready for their next career move. This combination of factors is also stimulating for the entrepreneurial spirit - giving CERN a great potential for entrepreneurship.

What is your role at CERN?
My job is to trigger the entrepreneurship potential described above, and this happens by different means. First of all, creating meeting places for aspiring entrepreneurs and curious souls at CERN is facilitated for by initiatives like the Entrepreneurship Meet-Ups (EM-Us). The EM-Us are meant as an arena where people can get together to learn about and debate topics relevant to entrepreneurship and innovation. Every other Tuesday, experts are invited to share their knowledge on a subject, followed by discussions and networking. (You can join the community here)  

Another part of the job is being a contact point for people at CERN, looking to start their own companies. Assisting future entrepreneurs at CERN includes helping them out with business modelling and their value proposition, directing them to relevant people at CERN and beyond, as well as informing them about available resources. An example of the latter is CERN’s network of Business Incubation Centres (BICs), established in nine European Member States. (Find out more).

What is working at CERN like for you?
Working at CERN is great for so many reasons. Continuously, I find myself in awe of the knowledge that lives within the hallways of CERN, the interesting people you meet here and the diversity of backgrounds making up the Organization. Moreover, working across cultures and nationalities teaches me important lessons every day. I realise more and more the value of these lessons, the opportunities and the network you can tap into at CERN. Moving to the area has also given me the opportunity to learn a new language. Previously being used to working with start-ups and entrepreneurial organisations, there has indeed also been many important lessons connected to working in a larger organisation.

At the end of the working day, Geneva, the Alps and the many beautiful places in almost immediate proximity to CERN lies there ready to be explored. The value of the area, and the fact that it lies in the heart of Europe, cannot be emphasised enough - especially for a person crazy about outdoor sports. It almost feels ridiculous having Chamonix (roughly) in the backyard for skiing during the winter, and the Italian Riviera just a handful of hours away for biking, swimming, pasta and wine during the summer months. C’est la belle vie!

What advice would you give to potential applicants?
For those who consider applying to a position at CERN: do it! Working at CERN is a unique chance – for learning new skills, for collaborating across cultures, for meeting inspiring people with a wide range of backgrounds, and for professional as well as personal growth. It is incredibly easy to get to know people, especially if you join the CERN clubs or attend some of the many events taking place here. In fact, it is so easy to integrate at CERN that my advice would simply be to get out of the bubble sometimes to meet other people in the area.

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