Fellow contracts (FELL)

The category of employed members of the personnel known as "Fellows" (acronym FELL) is defined in paragraph 8 of Administrative Circular No. 11.

Fellows are graduates with a higher education degree, appointed by the Organization to obtain practical experience while contributing to the work of a research, development or applied sciences group. This allows them to pursue their career development while performing functions within the Organization.

Fellows are employed members of the CERN personnel (MPE), which means that they hold an employment contract.

1. Description of the Fellowship Programme

1.1 Fellows are classed in one of two categories according to their diploma and number of years of experience

  • Junior Profile 

Junior Fellows must hold a diploma ranging from a technical engineering diploma or Bachelor's degree to an engineering degree. They must not have acquired more than 4 years' relevant professional experience after obtaining their diploma. They must be nationals of a CERN Member State or an Associate Member State.

  • Senior Profile 

Senior Fellows must hold a PhD or have acquired more than 4 years' experience after obtaining a diploma giving access to doctoral studies (e.g. MSc). In all cases, Fellows may not have acquired more than 10 years of experience after obtaining a diploma giving access to doctoral studies.

To clearly distinguish different fellowship profiles the choice was made in 2018 to publish the opportunities as different jobs e.g. senior research fellows, senior fellows, junior fellows, Post Career Break fellows as well as specific administrative or technical fellowships.

N.B.: General principles of the classification of Fellows are that years of PhD studies are counted as relevant experience and the years of experience are counted from the date the Fellow obtained his/her highest relevant diploma (giving access either to the Junior or Senior Fellowship programme) until the date of the selection committee.

1.2 Various programmes are available to Fellows (Junior and Senior)

a)"Standard" Fellowship Programme, intended for graduates with a higher education degree (from a university or technical school) wishing to join a CERN research group.

b) GET (Graduate Engineer Training) Scheme, designed to offer attractive training and work experience opportunities in engineering fields at CERN. The aim of the scheme is to encourage Fellowship applications from talented engineers, who benefit from the same conditions as the standard Fellowship Programme.

c) Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions, for young researchers starting out on their careers. Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellows come from all over the world to do research at CERN in the framework of training programmes coordinated by the European Commission. They may be:

  • Early Stage Researchers (ESR) - with a profile similar to that of the Junior Fellow, i.e. holders of a university degree giving access to doctoral studies in the country where they obtained their degree. They may have completed less than four years of full-time research but must not have a PhD at the time of selection.
  • Experienced Researchers (ER) - with a profile similar to that of the Senior Fellow, i.e. with a PhD or university degree, having completed more than four years of research after obtaining a university degree giving access to doctoral studies, including the time spent on doctoral studies.

1.3 Eligibility

The conditions of eligibility for the different types of Fellowship can be consulted on the careers website and in the Memo DG/DI/2013-045 (clarification of Fellowship eligibility criteria).

2. Employment conditions

Employment conditions Additional information:

Duration of the contract

Fellows are initially appointed on the basis of a contract of between six months’ and two years’ duration, which may be renewed or extended. The maximum duration of employment as a Fellow is three years (except in exceptional circumstances, as described in the paragraph "contract expiry, maternity leave").
N.B.: The contracts of "Experienced Researcher" (ER) Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellows run for a maximum of two years.


Probation period

Fellows must complete a probation period of six months, which may be extended by a maximum of three months in exceptional circumstances.

Probation period for fellows


Fellows are entitled to training to help them to develop their skills. The cost of all authorised training is covered by the Organization, either fully or partially.

Learning and development programmes - Training requests


Fellows are entitled to different types of leave.

Leave at CERN: Overview

Working conditions Additional information:

Working hours

The reference working hours are 8 hours per day Mondays to Fridays, i.e. 40 hours per week, starting at 8.30 a.m. and finishing at 5.30 p.m., with an hour's break for lunch. The Director-General may allocate different working hours to Fellows.
Any overtime, work on official holidays or the equivalent, Sunday work, night work and stand-by duty performed by Fellows gives them entitlement to compensation in time only.

Working hours

FAQ: Working hours


The possibility of teleworking is open to all staff members and fellows, subject to approval by the Organization of a duly substantiated application.

Social conditions Additional information:

Family benefits

Fellows are entitled to the family benefits specified in the Staff Regulations (family allowance, child allowance and infant allowance), of which the amounts are laid down in Annex R A 3.

Change of family situation


Education fees

Under the conditions laid down in Annex R A 4, the Organization pays Fellows education fees for each dependent child aged three or more attending an educational establishment.

Payment of education fees: summary

FAQ: Education fees and language courses

Social protection

The Organization takes the requisite measures to protect Fellows against:

  • the financial consequences of illness and accident. This social insurance cover is provided by a health and accident insurance scheme known as the CHIS (CERN Health Insurance Scheme).

    N.B.: the family members of Fellows are automatically covered by the CHIS.

  • the financial consequences of old age and disability. This social insurance cover is provided by the old age and disability scheme of the CERN Pension Fund.

Health insurance cover is extended in the event of maternity leave that would last beyond the end of the contract, as explained in the paragraph "contract expiry, maternity leave".
- the Organization does not take measures to protect Fellows against the financial consequences of unemployment.

CERN Health Insurance Scheme (CHIS)

Financial conditions Additional information:


Throughout their contract Fellows are paid a stipend, the amount of which is determined according to their experience and qualifications at the time of recruitment, within the limits laid down in Annex R A 6, of the Staff Rules and Regulations. Any financial benefits of a similar nature received from a source outside the Organization are deducted from this amount.

If the contractual working week is less than 40 hours, the amount of the stipend is reduced proportionally.

Contributions to the health and accident insurance scheme and to the Pension Fund are automatically deducted from the stipend.

Payment of remuneration

Management of bank details

Travel expenses

Fellows may be entitled to the payment of travel expenses incurred on taking up their functions and on termination of their contract.

Payment of travel expenses on taking up appointment

Payment of travel expenses on termination of contract

Installation indemnity

On taking up their functions Fellows who are entitled to the payment of travel expenses may be entitled to an installation indemnity, in accordance with the calculation method and conditions laid down in Annex R A 9 of the Staff Rules and Regulations.

Installation indemnity


Procedure updated on: