CERN-Egypt Doctoral Studentship

  • Full-time

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

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

Job Description

This is a chance to carry out your PhD at the forefront of science. CERN is the largest laboratory for understanding the physics of our universe. With this program you have the opportunity to spend up to 24 months at CERN working closely with experts in a very diverse set of fields at the cutting edge of technology, including Physics, computer science and more.

Thesis: The search for Higgs boson pair production

One of the major priorities of the LHC physics program is the measurement, with increasing precision, of the properties of the Higgs boson. The Higgs boson is the only scalar particle in the standard model (SM), and this unique characteristic begs for exhaustive exploration of its properties. Deviations from its expected properties from the SM will provide a sign of physics beyond SM (BSM). For instance, one of the next big milestones at the LHC is the study of the Higgs self coupling, which is the cornerstone of the Electroweak symmetry breaking mechanism, and hence directly connected to the BSM physics.

To this end, the thesis will focus on the design and conduction of a search for Higgs boson pairs in the vector boson fusion (VBF) production mode using the upcoming LHC Run 3 data. The VBF production mode is a powerful probe of BSM physics, since even small modifications to the couplings of the Higgs boson to vector bosons result in significant deviations in the properties of the Higgs boson pair. The analysis will target Higgs boson pair production, where each Higgs boson decays to a pair of bottom quarks. This decay mode of the Higgs boson has the largest branching fraction between the possible Higgs decay modes corresponding to ~60% probability. The cornerstone of the thesis is the development of sophisticated analysis methods to separate the signal from the abundant background, and the development of a powerful bottom quark identification algorithm. In both cases state-of-the-art machine learning techniques will be critical to achieve the necessary sensitivity.

Become a CERN-Egypt Doctoral Student 

In partnership with Egypt, and with their financial support, CERN is launching a capacity-building studentship. This initiative aims to support doctoral students with exceptional potential to carry out research at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) and other CERN experimental facilities.

As a Doctoral Student you would benefit from exposure to world-class research and technology, and have a CERN supervisor to support you in your research and development, whether you already have a thesis subject defined with your home university, or are still looking for a thesis subject.

This is a chance to work on your doctoral thesis while spending up to two years at CERN, at the forefront of science, over a period of three years. If you are studying Physics, Engineering or Computer Science, this is an invitation to further your knowledge in a truly unique organisation, to get involved in world-famous experiments of unprecedented scale and scope, including the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), and to bring back to your university and country new skills and expertise.


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

  • You are about to start your doctoral-level studies;
  • Reflecting the objectives of the funding, you are an Egyptian national;
  • Your work envisaged at CERN is all or part of the thesis work required to obtain your PhD. Please note that while the daily co-supervisor during your stay at CERN could be a CERN Member of Personnel, the full PhD supervision and the award of the degree remains the responsibility of your home university.
  • You have a good knowledge of English.

Additional Information

During your studies, CERN will provide you with:

  • A first contract of association for 12 months;
  • A subsequent period of unpaid special leave to allow you to spend at least a year working at your home university;
  • A second contract of association for another period of up to 12 months may then be considered, depending on the availability of additional funding;
  • An allowance of 3719 Swiss Francs per month (net of tax) during your stay at CERN;
  • A travel allowance;
  • Depending on your personal circumstances, a supplement if you are married, in a registered partnership, and/or have children and these dependents will accompany you in your stay at CERN;
  • Coverage by CERN’s comprehensive Health Insurance scheme (the contribution will be automatically deducted from your allowance), during your stay at CERN;
  • 2,5 days of paid leave per month during your stay at CERN.

Please note that CERN cannot contribute to any tuition fees related to your home university, nor pay any allowance during the periods you will not stay at CERN.

This is how you can apply:

Required documentation:

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.
  • A letter of motivation, also mentioning the impact of obtaining this grant on your studies, your career, and capacity building in the academic community in your country;
  • A statement of research interest;
  • Two letters of reference, of which one from the university professor who would supervise your PhD studies. Once your application has been submitted, you will receive a confirmation e-mail which contains a link to the CERN reference letter submission form. Please forward this link to the two referees);
  • A letter confirming the interest of a university team active at CERN to accept to co-supervise your thesis work. This letter can be from one of your two referees;
  • A copy of your most recent academic transcript and your last diploma;
  • Proof of enrolment in a PhD programme at a university in an eligible country

You may upload the reference letter yourself, whilst submitting your application, or through your referee via the link you will receive shortly after submitting your application.

Your application, along with all supporting documents, should reach us no later than 15 December 2021. Please note that your application may be shared during the evaluation process with an external panel to help assess its capacity-building potential. Ultimately, it will be reviewed by a panel of CERN experts , with an expecting start date on February 1 at the earliest.

Your future Life @CERN

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