The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) is the UK Research Council responsible for the provision of major Physics and Astronomy laboratory facilities around the UK, and also for the UK’s participation with CERN, home of the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva. CERN is the world’s largest science experiment, a collaboration of Physicists, Engineers and Technologists from all over the world, and the UK is a major contributor to the experiment. On the day when Prof Peter Higgs has received the Nobel prize for Physics for the Higgs boson recently discovered at CERN, the STFC’s collaboration with this project is even more important.
The main opportunities are as follows:
Technical Studentships – These are work experience placements, normally of one year, although students can apply for shorter periods. The majority of placements are in Computing (over 50%) and Engineering, with some placements in Applied Physics. The placements are generously remunerated, and offer the chance to work in an inspiring international environment on truly cutting edge projects.
Doctoral Studentships – These are three year funded projects for students wishing to complete their PhD at CERN. To make the most of these opportunities University departments need to work with the STFC and with CERN to identify suitable research projects in Physics and Engineering.
Fellowships – These are two year employment contracts for graduates. All graduates can apply, but in subjects like Physics normally a PhD is
required, while for Computing and Engineering subjects graduates may have a Masters qualification or a BEng/BSc. Again, these posts are very generously remunerated, and offer graduates the chance to build an impressive CV because of the innovative nature of CERN’s work and its international culture.
The main opportunities at undergraduate level are not in Physics, but in Computing and Engineering. It is not necessary for students to speak French – the working language in most technical environments at CERN is English.
There are two recruitment rounds each year at CERN, and the next application deadline is January 2014 for students wishing to start any time from April to July 2014. The norm for undergraduate students is to start in June and work for one year in Geneva.