A search for supersymmetry with R-parity conservation in proton-proton collisions at a centre-of-mass energy of 7 TeV is presented. The data correspond to an integrated luminosity of 35 pb(-1) collected by the CMS experiment at the LHC. The search is performed in events with jets and significant missing transverse energy, characteristic of the decays of heavy, pair-produced squarks and gluinos. The primary background, from standard model multijet production, is reduced by several orders of magnitude to a negligible level by the application of a set of robust kinematic requirements. With this selection, the data are consistent with the standard model backgrounds, namely t (t) over bar, W + jet and Z + jet production, which are estimated from data control samples. Limits are set on the parameters of the constrained minimal supersymmetric extension of the standard model. These limits extend those set previously by experiments at the Tevatron and LEP colliders. (C) 2011 CMS Collaboration. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.