FAQ: Graduates

General Information

What are the nationality restrictions on candidates wishing to apply for the Fellows Programme?

Junior Fellows must be nationals of one of CERN’s Member States. There are NO nationality restrictions for candidates applying for a Senior Fellowship. It is true that the majority of Fellows come from the Member States, but since CERN aims to attract candidates who are the best in their field, Fellows come from all over the world.

What are the contractual/financial conditions of a Fellow contract?

CERN Fellows benefit from attractive conditions including a regular employment contract with health insurance and pension contribution; the monthly stipend is paid net of internal taxation.

How often do the Selection Committees meet to appoint candidates onto the Fellows Programme?

There are two Committee meetings a year in May and November with deadlines in March and September respectively. You can check the exact dates on our website.

How much can I expect to be paid as a CERN Fellow?

The monthly stipend range is reviewed every year in January.  Fellows are classified according to their qualifications and years of experience. Currently monthly stipends range from about 5000CHF per month to 8000CHF. Health insurance and pension fund contributions are deducted from this stipend.

Is my spouse/partner covered by my health insurance?

Yes. Your spouse or partner can be covered by your health insurance at no extra cost according to certain criteria (such as he/she does not have a gross monthly income over a certain limit and he/she is not covered by a similar health insurance).

Will CERN cover my travel expenses when I start my Fellow contract?

Yes, if at the date of the selection committee, you did not have a contract of any type with CERN for more than 50% of your working time. If you are entitled to travel expenses, then you are also entitled to an installation allowance which is a one-off payment at the beginning of your contract to help you to settle in the local area.

What is the difference between the Fellows Programme and the Graduate Engineering Training (GET) scheme?

CERN is a world-class reference when looking for employment in the physics community. However, CERN also offers many opportunities in a wide variety of engineering fields. The GET scheme was introduced at the end of 2009 to encourage Fellowship applications from excellent engineers. This scheme has strong support from CERN Management and the Member States.
Applications from eligible candidates are automatically considered for both types of position. The GET scheme has been fully integrated with the Fellows programme in terms of application procedure, selection procedure, contractual conditions, etc.

Will CERN cover my removal expenses when I start my Fellow contract?

No. Fellows are not entitled to removal expenses.

What are the eligibility criteria for the Fellows and GET Programmes?

The eligibility criteria are the same for both programmes:

  • If you are applying in experimental or theoretical physics, you have a PhD (or are about to finish your thesis).
  • If you are applying in applied science, computing or engineering, you hold a university degree (BSc level or above) or a technical engineer qualification (or are about to graduate).
  • Candidates with an MSc or higher diploma should have no more than 10 years relevant experience (after the MSc).
  • Candidates with only a BSc or technical engineer diploma should have no more than 4 years relevant experience.

Application process

All my documents have now been submitted and I have received confirmation that my application is 'Complete'. What happens now? Is there anything else I need to provide?

Once you have received this message, you do not need to provide us with any more information and your application will be considered at the Committee as it is. If you wish to submit anything else, you can still do so but it is not obligatory. It is possible to update your curriculum vitae at any time. You will be informed by email in the days following the Selection Committee as to the outcome of your application, or you can phone or email us on the afternoon of the Committee to find out whether or not you have been selected.

I will be applying for the next Fellowship selection committee. When should I ask my referees to send their recommendation letters?

Your referees can submit their letters electronically as soon as you forward them the necessary link. You will have to register in e-RT and begin to complete the Fellow application form. In the "Specific Information" of the application form, a link to forward to your referees is available (you will also receive the link in the email of acknowledgment receipt). Your application does not need to be complete for them to submit their letters.

I have applied for the next Programme. When will I know whether or not I have been selected?

E-mails are sent out to all candidates to inform them of the outcome of their application within 10 days following the date of the Committee. If you need an answer urgently, you can find out whether or not you have been selected by e-mailing or phoning us as of the afternoon of the date of the selection committee.

I see that I have to provide 'Reports on candidate' to complete my application. How do I receive the link to send to my referees? And who should provide these references?

As soon as you have submitted your application form, an automatic acknowledgement email will be sent to you. This email contains the link that you will have to forward to 2 referees. It is your responsibility to make sure the reports are filled in by your referees before the deadline.
Referees should be Professors (past or present) or possibly someone who supervised you during a previous placement.

Is there a template for recommendation letters for fellowship applications?

No. Recommendation letters are usually written on headed paper and signed by the referee who then submits it himself/herself. Letters are only accepted in English or French and should be less than 1 year old.

My referee has given me the recommendation letter for my Fellow application. Can I upload it myself?

Yes. We do accept recommendation letters uploaded by the candidate.

I haven’t yet finished my degree. Can I apply for the next Committee?

Yes, you can apply as long as you meet the other eligibility criteria listed above. (Please note however that Fellows are expected to have successfully finished their degree/diploma by the time they take up their appointment.

I have finished my diploma but I do not yet have the final certificate from my university. Should I upload my marks and/or ask for a provisional certificate from my university?

Please upload your latest academic records.  We may also ask you to provide the official certificate at a later date.

I want to start my Fellowship in one year’s time. Can I apply for the next Committee?

Fellows are usually expected to start their contract within 6 months of the Committee. Start dates can be discussed on a case-by-case basis with the Fellow’s supervisor. Exceptions are made for Theoretical physicists who apply for the November committee to start the following autumn.

I have completed all sections of the online form and I have ticked the box 'Section complete' each time, but the status of my application is still 'incomplete'. Why is this?

When an application's status is incomplete, this means it has not yet been submitted even if all the sections have been filled out and saved. After everything has been correctly filled out, the button 'submit/envoyer' will appear and once this has been clicked an automatic e-mail will be sent to you to confirm that the application has been correctly submitted.

Interviews and beyond

I applied for the previous Fellow/GET committee but my application was not successful. Now I want to apply again for the next Fellow/GET round. Do I have to register with another username and password and do I have to send all the documentation again?

There is no need for you to register again since your profile will still be valid. All the details you entered last time have been saved and you can simply update the necessary parts of the application form.
We ask Fellowship candidates to provide THREE letters of recommendation in support of their application. If you applied for the previous committee, we can consider the letters provided in support of your previous application, but we recommend that you provide at least ONE NEW letter.

If I am selected at the next Committee, when would it be possible to start my Fellowship at CERN?

The earliest possible date for an appointed Fellow to start their contract is usually 6-8 weeks following the date of the Committee. For example, if the selection committee meets on 20 May, Fellows could start as of 1 July. Please note that it is only possible to start a Fellow contract on the 1st day of a month.

If I am selected, will I be able to choose where I work and/or my work project?

In your application form you have the possibility to indicate your fields of interest.
Fellows in engineering, computing and applied science fields cannot choose the work project. Selected Fellows are assigned to a specific project with a CERN supervisor. The details of the work project are discussed by the Fellow with the supervisor after the Committee before a final decision is made by the Fellow and by the supervisor.
Fellows appointed in experimental or theoretical physics have a free choice of which experiment they wish to join and their research/work project. They have the opportunity to meet with representatives from the CERN experiments. They have 3 weeks after the start of their contract to make a decision.

Technical information

I have asked my tutor to fill out a 'Report on candidate' form, but the link you sent me does not seem to lead to any such form.

Please make sure that you copy and paste the FULL link into your browser. Given that the link is a long line, it is often broken into two parts and you will need to copy it manually into the browser to access the form.