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COFUNDing of the CERN Fellowship Programme 2012

Final Report Summary - CERN-COFUND-2012 (COFUNDing of the CERN Fellowship Programme 2012)

CERN's international Fellowship programme started in the 1960s. Scientists and engineers within ten years of finishing their Bachelor or Master degree may take up challenging opportunities to work in particle physics and in related fields of physics and engineering. The programme provides an excellent career development possibility to do work and carry out research in fields of science and technology at the highest level (

CERN-COFUND-2012 is the fourth COFUND grant to complement the CERN Fellowship programme. This allows CERN to offer three-year contracts instead of the standard two-year duration. Areas in which COFUND Fellows can be recruited include experimental particle physics, theoretical particle physics, astroparticle physics and cosmology, accelerator physics, detector technologies, information technology, data acquisition and controls technologies, magnet technology, radio frequency technology, electrical engineering, electronics, cryogenics and dissemination of scientific results and technology transfer.

A major feature offered to COFUNDed Fellows was the possibility of spending up to twelve months of the Fellowship at a university, research institute or an industrial company of their choice outside CERN while working on a topic that is still related to the original work at CERN; during this time, the COFUND Fellow remains under full CERN employment contract. The aim is to strengthen links between the researcher and academia or industry and to prepare for the next step in their career.

COFUND Fellows are the highest-ranked applicants. The possibility of spending time outside CERN fosters international cooperation and enables scientists and engineers to gain an insight into leading fields of knowledge of technology and science to become the innovators of tomorrow. Past experience has shown the usefulness of such a secondment with some COFUNDers having been recruited by the secondment host at the end of their Fellowship.

COFUND is open to all nationalities. Applicants must have a PhD or at least four years of experience after the degree which gives access to doctoral programmes and a maximum of ten years of experience after the degree which gives access to doctoral programmes. By the end of the reporting period, there were 52 Fellows on CERN-COFUND-2012, selected over four Fellow selection committees (one in 2013, two in 2014 and one in 2015) such that their three-year contracts finish by the end of the CERN-COFUND-2012 grant agreement. In addition to nationals from 13 EU member states, there are scientists and engineers from China, Lebanon, Russia, Switzerland and the USA.

CERN-COFUND-2012 continued with the feature introduced in COFUND-CERN-2011 of the position for a post-career break Fellowship. We are pleased to report that we have appointed two highly-ranked female researchers, one British/Algerian physicist in the field of accelerator physics and one Canadian/French fluid dynamics engineer, both of whom were returning to their research activities. A video “A Way back in: the CERN Post-Career Break Fellowship” was published on CERN’s Youtube channel in December 2016 to highlight CERN’s post Career Break Fellowships and featured two COFUND Fellows including one on CERN-COFUND-2012. File attached.

Following an assessment of its successful COFUND grants with the help of the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) in the United Kingdom, we started to develop new follow-up mechanisms to maintain contact with the COFUND Fellows as well as a new poster campaign and social media presence. In addition to the usefulness for CERN, it is worth noting that the STFC applied the assessment procedure to its own programmes and that the creator of the assessment was awarded a prize inside STFC for his innovation.

CERN produced a set of three A3 posters and A5 flyers to promote COFUND at CERN. About 300 copies were mailed to universities with whom CERN has contacts. The flyers are also used at recruitment fairs. Files attached.

At the end of 2015, a video “COFUND Fellowships at CERN” was finalized that contains interviews with three COFUND researchers about the impact on their careers. The video was premiered at the COFUND Conference in Luxembourg in December 2015 and was published on CERN’s Youtube channel in January 2016. One of the interviewees is on CERN-COFUND-2012. File attached. This video can also be seen on the COFUND project webpage of CERN’s EU Projects Office:
Following a monitoring visit by Alan Craig in October 2013, the COFUND Fellows had requested the organisation of an informal gathering to meet each other and exchange experiences. A drink was organised by HR in September 2016 in the main cafeteria at CERN. All COFUND Fellows were invited and around 60 attended. They were welcomed by James Purvis - Head of HR Department, Pippa Wells - AFC Chair and Katharine Thomas-Chevreux - Fellows Coordinator. We also invited our colleagues from the financial reporting group and the EU Office at CERN. The Fellows participated in a Q&A session and informal discussions. Photos attached.