The research studentship programme of the European Southern Observatory provides an outstanding opportunity for PhD students to experience the exciting scientific environment at one of the world's leading observatories for a period of up to two years.
ESO's studentship positions are open to students enrolled in a PhD programme in astronomy or related fields. Students accepted into the programme work on their doctoral project under the formal supervision of their home university, but they come to ESO to work and study under the co-supervision of an ESO staff astronomer, normally for a period of between one and two years. Studentships may be hosted either at ESO's Headquarters in Garching (Germany) or at ESO's offices in Santiago (Chile), where up to two positions per year are provided for students enrolled in South American universities.
Applicants and their home institute supervisors should agree upon and coordinate their research project jointly with their prospective ESO supervisor. For this purpose the ESO supervisor should be contacted well in advance of the application deadlines (31 May and 15 November 2017). A list of potential ESO supervisors and their research interests can be found at http://www.eso.org/sci/activities/personnel.html.
ESO Chile students have the opportunity to visit the observatories and to get involved in small technical projects aimed at giving insights into the observatory operations and instrumentation. Such involvement is also strongly encouraged for Garching students. In addition, students in Garching may attend and benefit from the series of lectures delivered in the framework of the International Max-Planck Research School on Astrophysics. ESO students have also the possibility to join in many outreach activities.
Students who are already enrolled in a PhD programme in the Munich area (e.g., at the International Max-Planck Research School on Astrophysics or a Munich University) and who wish to apply for an ESO studentship in Garching, should provide a compelling justification for their application.Depending on the number of available positions, there might be up to two application rounds per year, with closing dates for applications of 31 May 2017 and 15 November 2017. Review of the application documents, including the recommendation letters, begins immediately following the deadline. Incomplete or late applications will not be considered.
Candidates will be notified of the results of the selection process within two months following the deadline. Studentships considered in the May round will normally begin between August 2017 and March 2018; students for the November round in March-August 2018.
Please include the following documents in your application:
a cover letter;
a curriculum vitae, including a list of publications, if any;
copies of your university transcript and certificate(s) or diploma(s);
a summary of your master's thesis project (if applicable) and ongoing projects, indicating the title and the supervisor (maximum half a page);
an outline of the proposed PhD project (recommended one page, maximum two), containing a clear timeline including the start and expected end dates of the PhD, and the requested starting date and duration for the studentship at ESO. The candidate should also highlight in the project the advantages of coming to ESO;
the names and contact details of your home institute supervisor and the ESO local supervisor. They will be automatically invited to submit a recommendation letter, however, applicants are strongly advised to trigger these invitations (using the web application form) well in advance of the application deadline;
a letter from the home institute that: i) guarantees financial support (salary, health insurance and travel money) for the remaining PhD period after the termination of the ESO studentship; ii) indicates whether the prerequisites to obtain the PhD degree at the home institute have already been met.
All documents should be typed in English (but no translation is required for the certificates and diplomas).