A way back in: the CERN Post-Career Break Fellowship

Since 2014, CERN offers a professional opportunity for keen scientific or engineering talent with a common experience: a temporary absence from the field.

The way we see it:  

You were taking off.


…You had to take some time


...You're ready to take the leap again.

You were in the early days of a profession in science or engineering.

Or perhaps you were already steeped in and building up expertise.

You were in and you were making it, contributing to your field with passion.  But then…


Perhaps you started a family, perhaps someone in your family needed looking after.

Either way, a personal situation called upon you with its responsibilities, and for the time being, you had to step aside. But now…


Your situation has evolved, we hope for the best. You’re considering returning, more likely you never quite stopped thinking about it.

But the way back is a steep climb and we at CERN know that.

That’s why we’ve developed an opportunity to help you on your way...


„This fellowship changed my life!“


„CERN gives you the opportunity of a second chance“


„The Fellowship was a great opportunity for me to establish myself again in the research environment.“

Read on to learn more about our Post-Career Break Fellowship and what it offers, who we look for and how you can apply.

The program:

As a Post-Career Break Fellow, you might
Join a research project at CERN or create your own.

Within either contexts, there will be…
A lot of catching up on field developments you might have missed out on.

As well as…
The opportunity to publish those findings of yours!
The specifics and weight of each of the activities outlined above will vary from case to case. 

For how long?
One may only benefit from Fellow status at CERN for a maximum of 36 months. The minimum duration of a Fellow contract is 6 months.



The candidate:

The Fellow we are looking for…

  • Has been on a career break for personal reasons such as family, caring responsibilities or health issues for at least 2 years. Periods of unemployment do not count as a career break within this programme.
  • Has a BSc or technical engineer diploma with no more than 4 years relevant experience (Junior Fellow profile). Junior Fellows must be nationals of one of CERN's Member States.


  • Has a Masters level diploma or PhD with between 4 and 10 years relevant experience after the MSc (Senior Fellow profile), if you are applying in experimental or theoretical physics, you have a PhD (or are about to finish your thesis)

Please note: Candidates who are registered as CERN Users may be asked to justify how their status relates to their application.

Supported by COFUND – a European Commission Marie Sklodowska-Curie Action

CERN is proud to be involved in COFUND a European Commission Marie Sklodowksa-Curie Action to stimulate mobility and career development through fellowship programmes. 
Through the COFUND programme, we will be offering a limited number of 3-year Fellowships to top-ranked Senior Fellows.
Candidates meeting these requirements will be considered for a COFUND Fellowship.
One feature of the COFUND program is the possibility to spend up to 12 months of the Fellow contract at another institute, provided that the work still corresponds to your original project at CERN.

Find out further information on https://cern.ch/fell