Before a S'Cool LAB Day at CERN

Before a S'Cool LAB Day at CERN

Despite its name, a S'Cool LAB Day at CERN consists of several stages spread over several weeks and months.

On this page, you will find all the information you need to determine whether a S'Cool LAB Day is right for you; how and when to apply; and how to prepare your S'Cool LAB Day at CERN.


Key dates

The timeline of an application for a S'Cool LAB Day taking place in the academic year 2017/18 is described below. 

1 March 2017 -
3 April 2017: 
Interested teachers submit their applications via the S'Cool LAB website
3 April 2017
(14:00 CEST):
Deadline for teachers to submit their applications
14 April 2017: The S'Cool LAB team contacts all applicants with the outcome of the selection process
24 April 2017:  Deadline for selected applicants to confirm their participation
September 2017 - June 2018:  S'Cool LAB Days at CERN, taking place on selected Wednesdays and Fridays
April 2018 Information about S'Cool LAB Days to take place in the academic year 2018/19 will be published.

Eligibility criteria

Student age

Students must be at least 16 years old (i.e they must have completed their 16th year) at the time of their S’Cool LAB Day at CERN. 


Group size

The minimum group size is 12 participants. If you are not confident of being able to bring a group of at least 12 people, please do not apply.

The maximum group size is 36 participants (including all students and accompanying adults)

The recommended group size is 24 participants.


Group composition

There should be 1 accompanying adult per 12 students. At least 1 of the accompanying adults should be the physics teacher of at least some of the students.

Groups can be composed of students from a single class, or they can be from a mixture of classes, school years, and/or schools.


​School characteristics

Applications are welcome from all types of school, all over the world.

Places are limited: priority will be given to schools from CERN’s member states and associate member states.


​Language requirements

Guided tours of CERN and sessions in S’Cool LAB are delivered by volunteer tutors from CERN’s international scientific community. Every effort is made to recruit and train guides and tutors who speak a variety of languages, and to match them to the requirements of visiting groups. However, this is not always possible, so tours and workshops can sometimes be offered in English only.

The online preparation courses, physics education research questionnaires, and written instructions for the workshops are offered exclusively in English. Students should therefore be able to understand written and spoken English to at least B1 level.(link is external)


Application procedure

Online form

Physics teachers leading groups of students fulfilling the eligibility criteria listed above are invited to submit the online application form for a S'Cool LAB Day at CERN. Applications for S'Cool LAB Days at CERN taking place in the academic year 2017/18 will be open 1 March - 3 April 2017. Only complete, correctly-submitted applications made using the online form will be considered. 


Selection criteria

The online application form includes several questions for teachers about why they would like their students to participate in a S'Cool LAB Day at CERN. Applications are ranked based on their answers to these questions.

Priority is given to schools in CERN's member states and associate member states.

Teachers who have applied for S'Cool LAB Days at CERN in previous academic years, whether successfully or otherwise, are eligible to apply again. Previous applications are not taken into consideration by the S'Cool LAB team when deciding the allocation of S'Cool LAB Days at CERN.


Successful applications

​The S'Cool LAB team will contact successful applicants by email on or before 14 April 2017.

Successful applicants are requested to confirm whether or not they accept the offer on or before 24 April 2017.


Unsuccessful applications

​The S'Cool LAB team will contact unsuccessful applicants by email on or before 14 April 2017.

Important practical and logistical information


S’Cool LAB Days at CERN are offered free of charge.

However, travel expenses, accommodation and meals will not be covered by CERN. 

Teachers should not make firm financial commitments to travel or accommodation bookings until after their application for a S’Cool LAB Day has been approved and confirmed by the S’Cool LAB team, after the application period has ended. CERN will not be held responsible for any costs incurred by teachers who are not selected for a S'Cool LAB Day but who have made non-cancellable bookings on the basis of submitting the application form alone.



S'Cool LAB Days take place at the CERN site in Geneva, Switzerland. Once they have received an offer of a S'Cool LAB Day, teachers are expected to make their own travel arrangements to Geneva/CERN. 

A S’Cool LAB Day at CERN is a very full and stimulating programme, starting at 8:45 in the morning. Students are expected to be well-rested when they arrive. Past experience shows that over-tired students tend to under-perform in S’Cool LAB, and groups found not to be fully engaged with the activities on-site may see their programme shortened at the discretion of the S’Cool LAB team. Therefore, it is very strongly recommended to arrive in the Geneva area on the day before the S’Cool LAB Day.

The CERN visits service has published useful information on how to get to CERN.



Teachers are expected to make their own accommodation arrangements. Once teachers have received confirmation of their S’Cool LAB Day, they are encouraged to book their accommodation as soon as possible. Geneva is a relatively small city, but it is extremely busy in terms of travelers, and affordable options are often fully booked several months in advance.

The S’Cool LAB team can offer only minimal assistance in this regard. Some previous groups have used the Geneva Youth Hostel. Groups travelling with their own coach may also find options in neighbouring France convenient.



CERN unfortunately cannot offer school groups any space for pick-nicks. School groups taking part in S'Cool LAB Days at are expected to buy lunch in the CERN cafeteria, where there is a wide range of option to suit all tastes and budgets.

(link is external)


CERN in general, and the S’Cool LAB team and CERN visits service in particular, will make every reasonable effort to make S'Cool LAB Days at CERN as accessible as possible, and will be more than happy to discuss any particular requirements you or your students may have.



Part of the S'Cool LAB Day schedule includes walking outdoors between buildings for several minutes at a time. Teachers are expected to check the weather forecast for Geneva ahead of their visit and encourage their students to bring suitable clothing and/or equipment (especially regarding rainy or cold weather). In general, high-heeled shoes, open-toed shoes, flip-flops and sandals are not permitted on CERN visits.

There are no specific clothing restrictions for S’Cool LAB experiments: students should wear whatever makes them feel comfortable. Where specific personal protective equipment is required, it will be provided by the S’Cool LAB team.

Note: CERN does not allow visitors to bring luggage on-site. 


Additional CERN tours

A S'Cool LAB Day at CERN is part of a physics education research programme, which must take place in controlled conditions in order to generate meaningful data. As such, the S'Cool LAB team goes to great length to ensure as consistent an experience as possible for participating groups. Therefore, we ask that successful applicants for S'Cool LAB Days at CERN refrain from attempting to make additional visit arrangements at CERN for the same trip (with the exception of CERN's permanent exhibitions).

Student preparation

Research commitment

S'Cool LAB Days at CERN are a unique opportunity for school groups to get hands-on and spend a whole day at CERN. The programme is offered free of charge and organised primarily by PhD students in physics education. In return, participating teachers and students are expected to engage with our research projects. Specifically, we expect 90% of a group's students to complete all the questionnaires (including follow-up questionnaires within two weeks of the S'Cool LAB Day) and preparation courses.

Failure to engage with our research may result in a group's S'Cool LAB Day schedule being significantly reduced, at the discretion of the S'Cool LAB team. What's more, future applications to S'Cool LAB programmes by S'Cool LAB Day participants will only be considered if they have engaged fully with all the research aspects of the S'Cool LAB Day.


Online learning platform

About 12 weeks before a S'Cool LAB Day is due to take place, the S'Cool LAB team contacts the teacher with instructions for creating an account on our dedicated online learning platform. The teacher can see all the materials the students will receive, and plan their preparation time accordingly. Questionnaires take about 20 minutes to complete, while the preparation course lasts 2-3 hours on average.

About 6 weeks before the S'Cool LAB Day, the platform becomes available to the students, who create their own accounts and start completing the research questionnaires and following the preparation courses.

The teacher can keep track of their students' progress. 


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