Evaluation of Teachers’ Views on and Preferences for their Professional Development

Physics Education Research Doctoral Student Proposal


Every year, CERN offers numerous professional development programmes for in-service high-school science teachers to keep up-to-date with the latest developments in particle physics and related areas, and experience a dynamic, international research environment. All programmes are facilitated by experts in the field of physics, engineering, and computing and include an extensive lecture and visit itinerary (http://teachers.cern). However, in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, CERN’s teacher programmes were delivered in an online setting only and future developments of CERN’s teacher programmes foresee the instalment of hybrid teacher programmes. Here, teachers will follow lectures remotely leading up to an extensive on-site visit at CERN that will feature both visits and discussion sessions.

Therefore, the goal of this PhD project is to investigate teachers’ views on and preferences for professional development programmes in on-site and online settings to support the ongoing research-based development of CERN’s teacher programmes. Previous studies have already shown that teachers are essential for students’ success in formal education (Chetty et al., 2014) and that professional development programmes are foundational in reforming and enhancing teachers’ instructional practices (Capps et al., 2012). However, education research has also suggested that there exist discrepancies between the features of professional development programmes that the literature indicates to be effective and the features that teachers consider to be preferable (Owens et al., 2018). Therefore, the research aim of this doctoral research project is to contribute to narrowing this research-practice gap by virtue of empirical studies on the development and implementation of hybrid teacher programmes at CERN.

Training Value

The successful candidate will empirically accompany the development and implementation of hybrid teacher programmes at CERN. This project will allow the successful candidate to improve their skills in quantitative and qualitative physics education research while being actively involved in the management and delivery of CERN’s national and international teacher programmes.


Capps, D. K., Crawford, B. A., & Constas, M. A. (2012). A review of empirical literature on inquiry professional development: Alignment with best practices and a critique of the findings. Journal of Science Teacher Education, 23, 291–318.

Chetty, R., Friedman, J. N., & Rockoff, J. E. (2014). Measuring the impacts of teachers II: Teacher value-added and student outcomes in adulthood. American Economic Review, 104, 2633–2679.

Owens, D. C., Sadler, T. D., Murakami, C. D., & Tsai, C. L. (2018). Teachers’ views on and preferences for meeting their professional development needs in STEM. School Science and Mathematics, 118, 370-384.

Research Base

The successful candidate is expected to inscribe as doctoral student at a CERN Member State university (see the information below). The CERN PER Team has discussed this project and agreed to base it academically at Potsdam University. The successful candidate will be physically based at CERN in Geneva.

Application Information

Please find all information regarding the formal application below. Please mention “PER-TP” in your motivation letter, so that your application reaches us directly.

Please find all information on CERN’s DOCT programme at https://jobs.smartrecruiters.com/oneclick-ui/company/CERN/publication/682854a0-21d4-4d95-b293-c168408f8cf4?dcr_id=DCRA1