TNO Trainee Programme, starting 1 September 2021

How do you envision the world in 10, 30 or 50 years’ time? As a trainee at TNO, you’ll work on the future of both yourself and society. Alongside fellow trainees, you lay the foundation for your further development within a challenging R&D environment.


Den Haag

Education type

university (wo)



Hours a week

Fulltime – 40


Apply now


What will you be doing?

Using cryptography to exchange information without sharing sensitive data and securely encrypting financial transactions using quantum mechanics. Using AI to predict the behaviour of fugitives. Developing a social robot that gives playful support to children with diabetes. Testing innovative energy concepts so that we can charge our devices in a more sustainable manner. Can you envision it? These are just a few of the topical themes on which you can get to work at TNO (check out our website to see what else is possible). The TNO Trainee Programme is an amazing opportunity to get a taste of the different domains and roles that interest you and discover what suits you best.  

What does the TNO Trainee Programme entail? In short: you will work for a maximum of two years in various roles – such as researcher, consultant, project leader or as an entrepreneur in (the preparation of) a TNO spin-off – on challenging assignments within three departments. You will change departments every eight months. The specific departments depend on your interests, educational background and the available slots for trainees. 

You will work five days a week during the Trainee Programme. A working week consists of the following three components: 

Watch the video on our trainee page and learn more about what it's like to be a trainee at TNO. 
  • Work within the department: you will work three and a half days per week on research projects in one of TNO’s departments. Roles could include project leader, business developer, consultant or researcher. Our aim for every project is to create impact for society. They might mean a prototype, proof of concept or process recommendation for public authorities, companies or sectors, for example. In these projects, you work together with experienced project managers and senior researchers. 
  • Trainee activities: one day per week, you will engage in activities focused on personal development and professional skills. You will take part in monthly trainee meetings, workshops, training sessions, peer review sessions and individual coaching. We have a dedicated trainee manager who will challenge and support you throughout your traineeship. 
  • Internal strategic projects: half a day per week, you will work alongside fellow trainees on TNO-wide internal strategy projects. Together with senior management, you will tackle a challenging issue which we are facing and, as a result, dive into the dynamics of our extensive organisation and get to know TNO in its entirety. 

During the Trainee Programme, you will gain a better understanding of your talents and strengths, and will be able to visualise your next step at TNO. You will then be ready to choose a role in which both you and TNO can benefit from your talents. The programme has been around for ten years and aims to accelerate the development of trainees towards key positions in the organisation. Take a look at how Mathieu now works as Energy & Sustainability programme manager in the Corporate Real Estate & Facilities department following his Trainee Programme. Who knows, you might follow in his footsteps! 


What do we require of you?

Being able to set your own path in a large organisation like TNO is a great opportunity, but also requires certain personal responsibilities. The ideal TNO trainee has the following qualities: 
  • You have a broad range of interests and a knowledge base and you want to contribute to the world of tomorrow. You already have some idea of the direction(s) you want to take, but you enjoy trying out different roles and disciplines in order to discover what suits you best.  
  • If you already know which direction or subject you want to specialise in as a researcher, a junior position as scientist innovator would be ideal for you. Read more about your possibilities in the FAQs
  • You are driven by knowledge and you love to translate this into practice. 
  • You want to innovate and you look beyond the status quo. You are bold when it comes to generating new ideas and identifying new developments. And that's not all, you are entrepreneurial and turn ideas into projects and applications. 
  • You have strong communication skills. This enables you to connect with the people around you and to collaborate on new solutions. 
  • You want to stand out, you like a challenge and you’re keen to take on responsibilities. You take control of your work and your own development. 
  • You are resilient and can adapt well to new situations. 
You also meet the following four criteria: 
  • You have recently graduated (MSc) from a STEM study (a degree in science, technology, engineering or mathematics). Read more about the relevant fields of study in our FAQs
  • You graduated no more than two years before 1 September 2021, the starting date of the programme. 
  • You have broad interests, as evidenced by the extracurricular activities which you undertook in addition to your studies. 
  • You live within Europe. 

What can you expect of your work situation?

At TNO, we innovate for healthier, safer and more sustainable living, and for a strong economy. Since 1932, we’ve been developing knowledge and technology for the common good. We connect with one another through our sense of wonder and ingenuity and are passionate about pushing boundaries. There’s plenty of room and support for your talents and ambitions. You will work alongside people who are a good match with you, who inspire you and who want to learn from you. Our state-of-the-art facilities are there to help you realise your vision. What you do at TNO matters: impact makes all the difference and every innovation you make contributes to tomorrow’s way of life. 
Read more about TNO as an employer  

As a trainee, you will be part of the trainee group that consists of about 22 (international) trainees. This group serves as a sounding board, sparring partner and source of knowledge and experience which is of great value to your Trainee Programme. 

What can TNO offer you?

First and foremost: challenging and varied work. Not to mention plenty of opportunities as you are largely in control of your own career at TNO. In addition to a gross monthly salary of between €2,950 and €3,400 (depending on your knowledge and experience), holiday pay and a thirteenth month, you will be given every opportunity to develop yourself. Maybe you want to progress into a project manager role, immerse yourself more in business development or make a career as a consultant for customers. At TNO, you can also put together a ‘menu’ of employment terms and conditions that suit your personal situation. You can also expect: 
  • A large organisation which is full of possibilities. TNO has 60 departments and 33 locations worldwide.  
  • A highly professional, inspiring work environment with leading experts as colleagues.  
  • 28 holiday days and 5 ATV days. 
  • A commuting allowance. 
  • Fun activities with your team, the location and TNO as a whole, such as monthly drinks. This way, you can get to know a lot of people quickly. 
  • The possibility to follow courses, training and workshops and congress visits. 
  • Access to the great activities and network of Jong TNO
  • Coaching, mentoring and peer review. 
  • A good pension scheme. 
Click here to discover which terms and conditions of employment you can choose from.  

Application process

You can apply till 16 May 2021.

When you’re interested to become a TNO trainee, then apply via the registration form. Here you upload your CV, motivation letter, list of grades and video in which you tell us about "what makes you tick".  

Please note: We will not accept applications if any of the above four elements are missing. 

  • About the video:  
  • Upload the video as an "additional document 
  • Our recruitment system supports MP4, MOV, WMV, MPG and MPEG. A video in another file type cannot be uploaded. 
  • The maximum size for the video file is 5 MB, which is a short video of about 30 seconds. There are several online tools available to compress your video if needed. 
Good to know: one of our largest clients in the security domain is the Ministry of Defence. If you have an objection to working as a client of the armed forces, please indicate this in your motivation letter. 

For this vacancy it is required that the AIVD issues a security clearance after conducting a security screening. Please visit for more information the AIVD website

If you would like to know more about the TNO Trainee Programme, the criteria and the procedure, take a look at our FAQ

Has this vacancy sparked your interest?

Then please feel free to apply on this vacancy! For further questions don’t hesitate to contact us.

Recruiter: Anna Herder
Mobile phone: +31 (0)6-219 15675

Hiring manager: Hella Petit
Phone number:

Note that applications via email and third party applications are not taken into consideration.


Apply now



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