ATLAS,Personalities and History of CERN
The 2015 recipients of the ATLAS PhD Grant (pictured with certificates) were joined by some of the previous Grant students. From left to right: Danijela Bogavac (2014 Grant), Artem Basalaev, Silvia Fracchia (2014 Grant), Nedaa B I Asbah, Gagik Vardanyan (2013 Grant), and Ruth Jacobs. (Image: CERN)

At a small ceremony in CERN's Building 40, three young ATLAS students celebrated the start of their postgraduate studies at CERN. As the recipients of the 2015 ATLAS PhD Grant, Ruth Jacobs (Germany), Artem Basalaev (Russia) and Nedaa B I Asbah (Palestine) have received two years of funding for their studies, spending one year at CERN and another back at their home institute.

Now in its third year, the ATLAS PhD Grant awards talented and motivated doctoral students in the ATLAS experiment. This year, all three of the grant recipients are return-visitors to the ATLAS experiment, having first arrived at CERN during their university studies. "I'm excited to be back," says Ruth Jacobs, who is doing her PhD with the University of Bonn (Germany). "I first came as a summer student while working on my Master's thesis, and am looking forward to starting my studies here in April."

One of the great advantages of the ATLAS PhD Grant is its focus on encouraging student's stay at CERN. "The Grant is an excellent opportunity," comments Artem Basalaev, who is doing his PhD with the Petersburg Nuclear Physics Institute (Russia). "Without this support, I would not have been able to spend a full year based at CERN; I would have only had short visits. When based at CERN, communication is easier: you can go to Building 40, have a coffee, pass by some experts and just ask their advice. That's not possible when you are working remotely from your institute."

Nedaa B I Asbah is also looking forward to being based at CERN while she works on her PhD with DESY /Humboldt University Berlin (Germany). "I found out about the Grant initiative from my supervisor while taking part in the CERN Summer Student programme in 2013," says Nedaa B I Asbah. "I began my first year at CERN this month, working in the ATLAS' ttH (top quark pair and Higgs) group."

The ATLAS PhD Grant was established by former ATLAS spokespersons Peter Jenni and Fabiola Gianotti, who created the fund with Fundamental Physics Prize award money they received in 2013. Applications for this year's Grant are now open.

To sustain the programme over the coming years, the fund is also open to anyone interested in contributing. Visit the CERN & Society website to find out more.