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Doctoral - Prodoc - Postdoctoral



The PhD and the PostDoctoral Programmes of CHIPP

Ever since its creation in 2003 teaching and education was one of the main goals of CHIPP. The statutes of the CHIPP Association have taken up this thrust, which was already part of the CHIPP Constitution, and stipulate:

  • “The Association may formulate recommendations for the curricula in Switzerland at the level of the Bachelor, Master and Doctorate and helps to ensure that appropriate courses are taught at all Swiss Universities. In this context, the Association may propose common PhD teaching programmes.”
  • “CHIPP participates in the national and international efforts to promote public awareness of particle physics. In particular, it participates in the European outreach activities.”
A corresponding Doctoral programme has been set up and is running with good success.

A quantitative step forward has been made in 2008 with the ‘Swiss Centre of Advanced Studies in Particle Physics in the LHC Era’, which was funded by the Schweizerische Universitätskonferenz SUK and the ETH Council for the 2008-2012 period. These funds are supplemented by approx. 1.5 MCHF of Eigenleistungen (real money = additional funds or positions at a given institute, assigned to the Centre) from the three Cantonal universities involved. The Centre places emphasis on:

  • the development of a Centre of Excellence in high energy collider physics;
  • coordinating inter-institutional cooperation among the partners, including the CSCS Manno;
  • modernising research and teaching.

The Centre fostered the optimal exploitation and interpretation of the data, which are collected by the ATLAS, CMS and LHCb experiments, operating at the Large Hardron Collider (LHC) at CERN. In three worldwide competitions, 9 PostDocs had been selected to support the Swiss research groups active in the three LHC experiments. The Center was also part of a Swiss wide policy – reaching beyond particle physics – to promote the integration of, and cooperation between, the different types of Higher Education Institutions. The way it had been set up respects the unity of Teaching and Research and contributes considerably to consolidating the strong position of the participating institutes at the forefront of particle physics by adding value to the existing excellence.

The Centre comprised three Cantonal universities (Berne, Geneva, Zurich) and the two ETHs, but involved also the PSI and the Computing Centre CSCS Manno.

One important element for maintaining the high quality of the physics education in all Swiss Higher Education institutions active in Particle Physics over the next decade or so is to invest in Human resources and to make sure that the next generation of researches get the best possible education. The complete education process from Master to PostDoc should therefore be complemented by a coherent and well balanced set of programmes adapted to the individual needs and requirements of each education level.

In this philosophy, the institutes involved in CHIPP have agreed :

  • to continue the coordination of their PhD programmes and the master curricula in the framework of the Bologna process by expanding the Doctoral Programme with joint lectures, special courses and schools across Switzerland on all aspects of LHC physics;
  • to participate in the ProDoc Programme from the Swiss National Science Foundation SNSF which ended in 2012.
  • to join forces to create a number of additional Post-Doc positions in a PostDoctoral Programme.

Detailed information can be found in the CHIPP C15 Annual Reports: 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, Final report 2008-2012.

Doctoral programme :

The CHIPP Doctoral Programme is a framework for Swiss high-energy physics doctoral students to participate in doctoral classes throughout Switzerland. Any student of a participating institution may enroll in a class at any other participating institution. The participating institutions, with a link to their current class programs are:

University of Geneva & EPFL (3eme cycle)
University of Bern (Albert Einstein Center)
University of Zurich
Anastasiou/Gehrmann: Physics of Electroweak Symmetry Breaking
de Florian: Structure of the Nucleon
ETHZ / Astroparticle physics / General course on energy and environment / Medical imaging, particle physics

The CHIPP doctoral programme also includes the courses, schools, and workshops organized by CHIPP.

Video lectures and web forums from the Virtual Institute of Astroparticle Physics can accessed at

Coming events


Past events


  • The CHIPP Prize 2014 for the best PhD student in experimental or theoretical particle physics is awarded to Marco Peruzzi (ETHZ) for his dissertation (in prep.) on the development of novel topological algorithms to identify single photons in the CMS. The laudatio says: "For his original contribution to the development of novel topological algorithms to identify single photons in the electromagnetic calorimeter of the CMS experiment at the LHC and discriminate them against abundant background from neutral pions".
  • CHIPP Plenary and PhD/Postdoc days in conjunction with the SPS Annual Meeting 2014, 30 June - 2 July 2014, Fribourg
  • Zuoz Summer School: More than Higgs - Effective Theories for Particle Physics, 17-23 August 2014, Zuoz, Switzerland


  • The CHIPP Prize 2013 for the best PhD student in experimental or theoretical particle physics is awarded to Martin Fertl for his dissertation (in prep.) on the Hg co-magnetometer in the nEDM experiment at PSI. The laudatio says: “For his original contributions to the design and contribution of a new experiment planning to measure the electric dipole moment of the neutron at PSI.".
  • PSI2013: The 3rd Workshop on the Physics of Fundamental Symmetries and Interactions at low energies and the precision frontier will take place from 9-12 September 2013 at the Paul Scherrer Institute, Villigen, Switzerland.
  • XQCD13: This year's edition of the annual Extreme QCD workshops takes place from 5-7 August 2013 at the University of Berne.
  • The 2013 Annual Meeting of the Swiss Physical Society (SPS) will be organised for the third time together with our Austrian colleagues. It will take place from 3-6 September 2013 at the Johannes Kepler-University in Linz.


  • CHIPP PhD Winter School 2012, Engelberg, 22-27 January 2012
  • The CHIPP Prize 2012 for the best PhD student in experimental or theoretical particle physics is awarded to Franz Herzog from ETHZ for his dissertation (in prep.) on QCD corrections and non-linear mappings. The laudatio says: “For his contributions in developing a new method for NNLO perturbative calculations and its application to the phenomenology of the Higgs boson”.(more)
  • Integrated into the Annual Meeting of the SPS (21/22 June 2012 at ETHZ), the TASK Session (Astro, Nuclear, and Particle Physics) saw an incresing number of papers, presented either orally or as posters. Themes covered were the physics results from ATLAS, CMS, and LHCb, ultracold neutrons, neutrino experiments and the search for Dark Matter, particle physics theory, and progress reports from space-born detectors. The 100th anniversary of the discovery of Cosmic Rays by V. Hess was celebrated by a well attended public lecture by Samuel C.C. Ting. (full report see here).
  • PSI Zuoz Summerschool on Particle Physics 19-25 August 2012




ProDoc programme (2009-2012) :

The Swiss experimental and theoretical Particle Physics community has proposed to the SNF a ProDoc Educational Module for advanced studies in ‘Particle Physics in the LHC Era’ to create scholarships of highest international reputation, aiming to attracting the best young scientists worldwide to study in Switzerland. Existing graduate students in the collaborating institutions profit from this coordinated programme, which is complemented by ProDoc Research Modules at the individual institutes. The proposal has been accepted for the period 2009-2012 and 9 Doctoral students have been supported under the Research Modules. The fact that the ProDoc programme is discontinued by SNF places in the future an additional burden on the universities and ETHs, responsible for the PhD education.

This combined effort of all involved Swiss universities is essential to maintain a high quality of education for graduate students in a cost efficient way. Thus, the ProDoc organizes lectures and specialised courses for its members on all relevant aspects of LHC physics. The system conforms to the new PhD programmes of the participating universities in the Bologna system. The creation of such a ProDoc programme is in line with the aims of the CHIPP, which closely monitors the scientific quality and educational success of the programmes. They contribute to the implementation of the most important strategic direction of particle physics in Switzerland, as identified by the CHIPP roadmap in 2004.

The scientific responsibility for the programme lays with a member of the CHIPP executive board, who reports to the CHIPP Board and Plenary meetings regularly. The educational resources of the ProDoc primarily come from the doctoral schools of the participating institutions, as well as from existing CERN and PSI doctoral programmes; the research resources are provided by the SNF, the institutes concerned and CERN.

After the delayed start of the ProDoc educational programme in 2009, it is now well established as a Swiss wide educational programme in particle physics with special emphasis on the physics programme of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN. The five institutes involved at EPFL, ETHZ and the Universities of Berne, Geneva and Zurich have agreed to allow their students to attend any doctoral level course organized in the two regional sites (arc lémanique, Zurich region) and to get credit for their participation. For the academic year 2009/10, most of the PhD students made use of this Swiss-wide offer.

For the ProDoc Research Modules, which are individual for each of the participating institutes, a total of 9 ProDoc PhD students (list) have been selected and assigned to the three LHC experiments with Swiss participation (2 each in Berne, Geneva, EPFL, and ETHZ, 1 at University of Zurich). Many of them are supervised by PostDocs working under the PostDoctoral programme.

More information can be found in the ProDoc training module request.

Postdoctoral programme :

In a worldwide competition, the CHIPP institutes have filled 9 positions with outstanding PostDocs, selected from 106 applications. Six positions are attributed exclusively to data interpretation from the detectors, whereas three positions provide also IT experiment support and system administration and ensure the close collaboration with the Swiss Computing Centre Manno CSCS.

Updated : M. Türler, Dec. 2014