CERN openlab Online Summer Student Programme 2021

  • Intern

Company Description

At CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, physicists and engineers are probing the fundamental structure of the universe. Using the world's largest and most complex scientific instruments, they study the basic constituents of matter - fundamental particles that are made to collide together at close to the speed of light. The process gives physicists clues about how particles interact, and provides insights into the fundamental laws of nature. Find out more on

CERN openlab is a unique public-private partnership that works to accelerate the development of cutting-edge ICT solutions for the worldwide LHC community and wider scientific research. Through CERN openlab, CERN collaborates with leading ICT companies and research institutes.

Job Description

One of CERN’s and CERN openlab’s key missions is education. Our professionals very much enjoy sharing their knowledge and expertise with students who are committed and passionate about their chosen field. And there’s no better way to learn than on-the-job: when that job happens to be in a world-famous research organisation and centre of scientific excellence, it’s even better.

Are you currently studying for a Bachelor or Master degree and have a strong IT profile? Are you looking for a training period during the European summer (June – September)? If so, this could be the opportunity for you: apply now for the CERN openlab Remote Summer Student Programme!

NOTE: owing to the ongoing global Covid-19 pandemic, driven by our commitment to enable students to take part in our unique CERN summer student programme, we propose a brand new framework for the 2021 edition with a completely online approach.

Diversity has been an integral part of CERN's mission since its foundation and is an established value of the Organization.

Read what some of the 2020 students who took part in the online CERN openlab learning initiative (following the cancellation of 2020 Programme due to the pandemic)  had to say about their experience:

 “Twice a week, I had online meetings with my supervisor to discuss the updates. We also communicated via email so it was possible to reach her anytime and set up an additional meeting if necessary. I also participated on the weekly students meetings together with PhD students and other summer interns. This was really interesting and made me feel more like a part of the group."

“I would say "do it". It's a beautiful experience, even if it's just online. You will learn a lot and, at the end, it's really satisfying to see the results.”

“A remote program can definitely be an educational and enriching experience.”

“It was great. We had meetings twice a week and I met many people that were working on very interesting things. I got the opportunity to have a sneak peek into how things are done in CERN openlab and how the scientific life can be. I have learned a lot of things!”


Take part in CERN openlab’s online Summer Student Programme! 

During two full months (9 weeks, June - August 2021), CERN openlab online summer students will work on an advanced IT project and will be given a series of IT lectures specially prepared for them by experts at CERN and other institutes. The students also have the opportunity to attend the main CERN online Summer student programme lectures, if they wish. A short presentation and a report on your work and project at CERN will be expected at the end of your studentship.

In order to qualify for a place on the programme you will need to meet the following requirements:

  • You are a Bachelor or Master student (not PhD) with a strong computing background and should have completed, by the European Summer 2021, at least three years of full-time studies at university level.
  • You will remain registered as a student during your studentship with CERN. If you expect to graduate during European summer 2021 (as of May), you are also eligible to apply.
  • You have not worked at CERN before with any other status (Technical Student, Trainee, User or other status) for more than 3 months and you have not been previously a Summer Student at CERN (please note that exceptionally, students who took part in the 2020 online learning initiative are eligible to apply).
  • You have a good knowledge of English; knowledge of French would be an advantage.

Candidates of all nationalities are welcome to apply for this Summer Student Programme.

CERN would very much like to benefit from your expertise, commitment and passion, and in return, will provide you with:

  • A contract of association of 9 weeks to work on an advanced IT project;
  • Participation at a distance in the real work in one of the groups at CERN, taking part in online meetings, conferences etc. Supervision by a CERN member of personnel;
  • An extensive IT lecture programme. Students will also be able to attend the CERN generic summer student lecture programme if they wish;
  • A modest stipend ( to be defined)
  • Virtual social events for all the participants in order to create the community of 2021 Remote Summer Students;
  • Virtual workshops

Possible start dates:

Every Monday from the start of June to the start of July namely: 7 June, 14 June, 21 June, 28 June and 5 July 2021.

Additional Information

This is how you can apply:

You will need the following documents, clearly labelled (e.g. “CV”, “Motivation letter”, “Academic transcript”, etc.) and in PDF format to complete your application:


  • A CV in either English or French.
  • A copy of your most recent academic transcript giving an overview of your marks (if you download it from your university portal please make sure the document is not protected so that we can open it).
  • Two mandatory reference letters (dated less than 12 months), from your lecturers and/or previous internships.

Please make sure you have all the documents requested to hand when you start your application on our career portal (only reference letters should be submitted afterwards).

Once your application has been submitted, you will receive a confirmation e-mail which contains a link. You must forward this link to your referees, so that they can upload their recommendation letter. Please note that this must be done before the application deadline (31 January 2021 at 12 am CET).

A few tips…

Ensure your CV is complete with all skills and experience that make you stand out as a candidate.

Be as clear and specific as possible in the application fields “Education” and “Experience” in order to increase your chances of being selected. Also, include in this section all the specific skills (e.g. programming languages, hardware, databases etc.) that you have acquired that will support your application. 

And last but not least, make good use of the ‘Motivation’ section to tell us why you’re a great candidate for CERN openlab!

Selection procedure

Candidates who meet the eligibility criteria and have completed their application before the deadline will pass to the next step of the selection process. The final results of the selection procedure will be communicated to candidates by mid-April at the latest.


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