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Applied Physicist (Trigger and Data Acquisition) (EP-CMD-2019-115-LD)

Geneva (Switzerland)

  • Organization: CERN - European Organization for Nuclear Research
  • Location: Geneva (Switzerland)
  • Grade: Grade 6 - Professional roles - Only open to Nationals of all CERN Member States and Associate Member States - Mid/Senior level
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Statistics
    • Information Technology and Computer Science
    • Human Resources
    • Physics and Mathematics
  • Closing Date:

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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

Job Description


The Experimental Physics (EP) Department carries out research in the field of experimental particle physics, supporting several experiments at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN. CMS is a general-purpose particle physics experiment operated by an international collaboration ( The physics reach of the CMS experiment is determined by the capability of the trigger and data acquisition (DAQ) system to select and acquire the most interesting events. The EP-CMD group has major responsibilities for developing, operating and upgrading the trigger and DAQ system. Areas covered include custom electronics, use of advanced networking and processor technologies, distributed systems and software for acquisition, control and monitoring. Furthermore, the group has major responsibilities in the muon trigger. During the current long shutdown of 2019-2020, the group is preparing the upgrade of the trigger and DAQ system for the forthcoming LHC run-3, expected for 2021-2023. Furthermore, the group is preparing for the longer term major Phase-II upgrade of the CMS detector and its trigger and DAQ system, currently foreseen to start operation in 2026. The requirements for the Phase-II system are an order of magnitude higher compared to the existing system.


You will be working on the trigger and data acquisition system of the CMS experiment.

In particular your work will entail:

  • Implementation of improvements, maintenance and operation of the Global Muon Trigger for the upcoming run-3.
  • Contribute to the development of the Level-1 trigger for CMS Phase-2, including system aspects, implementation of firmware for high level algorithms and construction of prototypes.
  • Contribute to the overall development and operation of the CMS trigger and data acquisition system.
  •  Supervise and/or coordinate the work of students and other contributors.


Master's degree or PhD or equivalent relevant experience in the field of physics or a related field.


  • Extensive experience in development and operation of trigger and data acquisition for particle physics experiments, in particular with:

            -  system design of trigger systems, taking into account physics objectives.

            -  software development for configuration, control and monitoring of data acquisition systems.

            -  providing expert support for operation of the experiment.

  • Demonstrated experience with firmware development for advanced FPGAs.
  • Demonstrated experience of firmware and software development in a collaborative environment.
  • Initial experience in supervising students and coordinating activities in a distributed collaboration.

Technical competencies:

  • Simulation, design and development of trigger, data acquisition chains.
  • Design and simulation of FPGA-based electronics: VHDL.
  • Knowledge of programming techniques and languages: advanced level of C++, scripting languages.
  • Knowledge and application of software life-cycle tools and procedures: including integration, build and test.
  • Re-use, refactoring, integration and porting of existing software.

Behavioural competencies:

  • Achieving results: having a structured and organised approach towards work; being able to set priorities and plan tasks with results in mind.
  • Solving problems: producing workable and timely solutions that meet requirements.
  • Demonstrating flexibility: adapting quickly and resourcefully to shifting priorities and requirements: actively participating in the implementation of new processes and technologies.
  • Working in teams: working well in groups and readily fitting into a team; participating fully and taking an active role in team activities.
  • Learning and sharing knowledge: keeping up-to-date with developments in own field of expertise and readily absorbing new information: sharing knowledge and expertise freely and willingly with others; coaching others to ensure knowledge transfer.

Language skills:

  • English: proficient level / excellent command in spoken and written. Ability to draw-up technical specifications and/or scientific reports and to make oral presentations. 
  • French: elementary level or willingness to acquire it.

Additional Information

Eligibility and closing date:

Diversity has been an integral part of CERN's mission since its foundation and is an established value of the Organization. Employing a diverse workforce is central to our success. We welcome applications from all Member States and Associate Member States.

This vacancy will be filled as soon as possible, and applications should normally reach us no later than 16.12.2019.

Employment Conditions

Contract type: Limited duration contract (5 years). Subject to certain conditions, holders of limited-duration contracts may apply for an indefinite position.

These functions require:

  • Interventions in underground installations.
  • A valid driving licence.
  • Work during nights, Sundays and official holidays, when required by the needs of the Organization.

Work in Radiation Areas

Job grade: 6-7

Job reference: EP-CMD-2019-115-LD

Benchmark Job Title: Applied Physicist

Please make sure you have all the documents needed to hand as you start your application, as once it is submitted, you will not be able to upload any documents or edit your application further.

We do our best to provide you the most accurate info, but closing dates may be wrong on our site. Please check on the recruiting organization's page for the exact info. Candidates are responsible for complying with deadlines and are encouraged to submit applications well ahead.
Before applying, please make sure that you have read the requirements for the position and that you qualify.
Applications from non-qualifying applicants will most likely be discarded by the recruiting manager.

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