The structure of CERN

Find out how CERN is governed and organised; about its council, member states, and departments

The CERN council is the highest authority of the Organization and has responsibility for all-important decisions. It controls CERN’s activities in scientific, technical and administrative matters. It approves programmes of activity, adopts the budgets and reviews expenditure. The council is assisted by the Scientific Policy Committee and the Finance Committee. The Director-General, appointed by the council, manages the CERN laboratory. The Director-General is assisted by a directorate and runs the laboratory through a structure of departments.


CERN is run by 22 member states, each of which has two official delegates to the CERN council. One represents his or her government’s administration; the other represents national scientific interests. Each member state has a single vote and most decisions require a simple majority, although in practice the council aims for a consensus as close as possible to unanimity.

Scientific Policy Committee

The Scientific Policy Committee evaluates the scientific merit of activities proposed by physicists and makes recommendations on CERN’s scientific programme. Its members are scientists elected by their colleagues on the committee and appointed by council on the basis of scientific eminence without reference to nationality. Some members are also elected from non-member states.

Finance Committee

The Finance Committee is composed of representatives from national administrations and deals with all issues relating to financial contributions by the member states and to the Organization’s budget and expenditure.


Appointed by council, usually for five years, the Director-General manages CERN. A directorate assists the Director-General, who proposes its members to council. The Director-General reports directly to the council, and can also propose to council any adjustment deemed necessary to meet the evolving needs of the research programme.


Structure as of 2018


Director-General Fabiola Gianotti
Director for Accelerators and Technology Frédérick Bordry
Director for Research and Computing Eckhard Elsen
Director for Finance and Human Resources Martin Steinacher
Director for International Relations Charlotte Warakaulle

The biographies are available on this page

Heads of departments

Beams Paul Collier
Engineering Roberto Losito
Experimental Physics Manfred Krammer
Finance and Administrative Processes Florian Sonnemann
Human Resources James Purvis
Industry, Procurement and Knowledge Transfer Thierry Lagrange
Information Technology Frédéric Hemmer
Site Management and Buildings Lluis Miralles
Technology José Miguel Jiménez
Theoretical Physics Gian Francesco Giudice
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