Controls and Automation Engineer

Are you an engineer passionate for control systems as well as large and complex installations? Do you have a sound background on electro-mechanical engineering and knowledge of the hardware, firmware and software aspects of control systems? Do you like the challenging environment provided by sharing time between maintaining and operating existing control systems and also developing new systems for the future? Are you strong at testing and evaluating emerging technologies to be applied to the field of control and automation and assess their viability when balanced with classical, established solutions? Well, then apply for this post and take part !

Job Reference: EP-DT-DI-2016-186-LD
Publication date:
Closing date:

Controls and Automation Engineer in the Experimental Physics Department (EP), Detector Technologies Group (DT), Detector Interface Section (DI).


You will join:


  • The Experimental Physics Department (EP), which carries out basic research in the field of experimental physics. It aims at providing a stimulating scientific atmosphere and remains an important reference centre for the European physics community. It contributes to the education and training of young scientists.

  • The Detector Technologies (DT) group, which participates in the development, construction and operation of particle detectors for experiments at CERN. This comprises detector consolidation and upgrade projects as well as infrastructure for experiments.    

  • The Detector Interface Section (DI), which develops and maintains control and data acquisition systems for physics experiments.




As Controls and Automation Engineer, you will join a multidisciplinary team of engineers, physicists and technicians in charge of designing, constructing, configuring and operating a vast palette of control systems for experimental physics installations, ranging from small instrumented and motorized test-benches to large electro-mechanical equipment, such as the magnets of the LHC experiments. After an initial training phase you will:


  • Design and implement control systems for superconducting and warm magnets, vacuum systems, movable devices, process instrumentation such as temperature, pressure, flow, etc. The systems span from the capture of analogue and digital signals from the active devices, to the real time treatment of information up to the supervisory software layer.

  • Analyse and gather information on installations, the technologies in use, the designs and solutions adopted; exchange expertise across other domain specialists at CERN (electrical, cryogenics, cooling) in order to ensure that the control systems to be developed are in line with the surrounding infrastructure.

  • Write and maintain technical documentation.

  • Participate in 24/7 stand-by duty as well as the second/third line support of control and safety systems for physics experiments.

  • Take responsibility for existing control systems, ensure their smooth functioning; if appropriate, propose long term improvements or modernization paths.

  • Interact with the persons in charge of physics experiments in order to identify needs, constraints and timescales for the development and deployment of control systems.

  • Collaborate with engineers and technicians in the team in order to establish plans, installation layouts, quality assurance procedures, etc.

  • The functions may include the supervision of junior colleagues and students.

  • Optionally, you will have the possibility of contributing to the development of data acquisition systems for physics experiments.


Qualification required

Master's degree in the field of Engineering with specialization in Control Systems or equivalent.


Experience and competencies

The experience required for this post is:


  • Proven experience in the design and development of varied industrial control processes.
  • Demonstrated experience in the field of commissioning, maintenance and support of complex electromechanical equipment.
  • Demonstrating the following experience would be an advantage:
  • Experience in working on critical systems, reacting to incidents and performing urgent interventions.
  • Experience with procedures and techniques aimed at preserving equipment safety.
  • Basic experience in analogue and digital electronic circuit design for instrumentation interface.


The technical competencies required for this post are:


  • Overall architectural design of large control systems.
  • Configuration, programming and use of Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems.
  • Installation, maintenance & operation of control systems: preventive and corrective maintenance.
  • Design of LV network & switchboard: including the design of electrical circuits layout.
  • Installation and maintenance of basic process instrumentation (temperature, pressure, flow, level): motor and drives control (ac and dc motors, steppers), actuators (valves, electrical, hydraulic, pneumatic actuators).


The behavioural competencies required for this post are:


  • Managing self: working well autonomously; taking on activities and tasks without prompting; remaining objective, focussed and productive in a stressful environment; focusing on solutions rather than problems.
  • Solving problems: testing solutions for long-term suitability, cross-checking with all concerned before implementation; recognizing what is essential; discriminating between important and peripheral information and being able to see the whole picture.
  • Working in teams: working well in groups and readily fitting into a team; participating fully and taking an active role in team activities; cooperating constructively with others in the pursuit of team goals; balancing personal goals with team goals.
  • Demonstrating flexibility: adapting quickly and resourcefully to shifting priorities and requirements; readily absorbing new techniques and working practices; proposing new or improved ways of working.
  • Communicating effectively: ensuring that information, procedures and decisions are appropriately documented.


The language competencies required for this post are:


  • Spoken and written English or French: willingness to learn the other language.
  • Ability to draw-up technical specifications and/or scientific reports and to make oral presentations in at least one of the two languages.


Eligibility conditions

Employing a diverse and international workforce is a CERN core value and central to our success. We welcome applications from all Member States irrespective of gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, race, religion or personal situation.


This vacancy will be filled as soon as possible, and applications should normally reach us no later than 12.01.2017.


By applying here, you allow CERN to consider your application for any position it considers relevant with respect to your profile. Please ensure you update your profile regularly with any relevant information and that you inform the recruitment service if you wish your file to be removed from the database.


Note on Employment Conditions

We offer a limited-duration contract for a period of 5 years. Limited-duration contracts shall terminate by default on their date of expiry.
Subject to certain conditions, holders of limited-duration contracts may apply for an indefinite position.


These functions require:


  • Participation in a regular stand-by duty, including nights, Sundays and public holidays.
  • Work in Radiation Areas.
  • Interventions in underground installations.
  • A valid driving licence.

Benchmark Job Title:
Computing Engineer
Professional Category:
Computer Scientists
Career Level
Grade 6 or 7
Number of Posts
Duration: 5 year(s)

Application is closed for this job.