ESO Fellowship Scheme 2019/2020
Fellowship 3 years Garching or Santiago, Worldwide
Uploaded 19 Aug 2019
Reach new heights at Europe's leading astronomy organisation
The European Southern Observatory (ESO) invites applications for the ESO Fellowship Scheme 2019/2020. The scheme is designed to help young scientists to develop their independent research programmes and successfully reach the next step of their scientific career by
- Developing their scientific profiles, benefiting from a rich and structured scientific environment where they can interact with more senior scientists;
- Becoming mature and independent researchers who will develop their own research projects and contribute effectively to collaborative scientific endeavours;
- Getting prepared to take on higher scientific, technical or supervisory/managerial responsibilities in future positions.
Fellowships are available both at ESO's Headquarters in Garching near Munich, Germany, and at ESO's astronomy centre in Santiago, Chile. ESO Fellows are expected to actively participate in ESO's scientific life by proposing and getting involved in the organisation of scientific workshops, co-supervising PhD students, coordinating thematic research groups, joining scientific committees, organising seminars, writing competitive grant and telescope proposals, etc.
For more information about the fellowship programme and ESO's astronomical research activities, please see ESO Fellowship Scheme.
The ESO Fellowship Scheme: ESO-Garching
The ESO Headquarters is situated in one of the most active research centres in Europe, next to the campus of the Technical University of Munich (TUM), boasting one of the highest concentrations of astronomers. High calibre scientists, instrument experts, and other professionals are all within easy reach, providing fellows with valuable opportunities to start collaborations and learn new skills. ESO's offices are adjacent to the Max Planck Institutes for Astrophysics and for Extra-terrestrial Physics and close to the observatory of Munich's Ludwig-Maximilian University. On the Garching campus, ESO also participates in the ORIGINS Cluster, which brings together nearly 200 scientists, and the IMPRS scheme for PhD students. For a list of current ESO staff and fellows, and their research interests please see ESO Scientific Staff in Garching.
The ESO Fellowship positions in Garching are 3 years in duration. In addition to developing their independent research programmes, ESO Garching Fellows are expected to engage in functional work for 25% of their time. During this fraction of time, Fellows are trained in crucial areas of high-level technology and/or actively participate and contribute to ESO projects which they select from activities proposed by different departments. Details on the nature of the projects are available at Fellows and ESO Projects.
The ESO Fellowship Scheme: ESO-Chile
The ESO Vitacura Office, in Santiago, is the neuralgic science centre where ESO Fellows have the possibility to interact with Instrument and System Scientists, and Science Operations Managers from Paranal, ALMA, La Silla, and APEX Observatories. There is also a continuous flow of visiting astronomers and observers that allows scientific interactions with the international community. ESO Chile is an excellent place to increase collaborations with the Chilean astronomical community and with astronomers at other international observatories located in the country. The Joint ALMA Observatory, also located at the Vitacura campus, with its many astronomers and fellows, further enhances the stimulating scientific environment available to ESO Chile Fellows. For a list of current ESO staff and fellows, and their research interests please see ESO Scientific Staff in Santiago/Chile.
ESO Fellowships in Chile are granted for 4 years. During the first three years, the Fellows are assigned to one of the science operation groups of Paranal, ALMA or APEX, where they will contribute at a level of 80 nights per year. For Fellows with duties at ALMA a fraction of their duties can alternatively be spent on data processing, participation in the ALMA review process as technical experts, software testing, optimisation and extension of the array capabilities. At Paranal, Fellows have the opportunity to join an Instrument Operations Team (IOT). In the role of Instrument Fellow, they gain an in-depth knowledge of different aspects of a given instrument such as engineering and technological characteristics, operations and data reduction. They further develop useful skills in project management, team coordination, and communicating in a multidisciplinary environment. This unique mix of technical knowledge combined with close contact with the science carried out at the Observatories, allow ESO Chile Fellows to build a solid research programme that can boost their future career.
ESO Chile Fellows may choose to spend the fourth year either at ESO's astronomy centre in Santiago, at ESO Headquarters in Garching or at any astronomy/astrophysics institute in an ESO member state. There are no functional duties during the fourth year, except in the case that the fourth year is spent at ESO Chile, where Fellows are expected to carry out functional work for up to 25% of their time. Under certain conditions, the Fellow may also be hosted by a Chilean institution where they will be eligible to apply for time on all telescopes in Chile through competition for Chilean observing time.
The programme is open to applicants who will have achieved their PhD in astronomy, physics or a related discipline before 1 November 2020. Early-career scientists from all astrophysical fields are welcome to apply.
Observational, theoretical and computational astrophysics are all areas where ESO Fellows can benefit from one of the most vibrant and stimulating scientific settings anywhere in the world.
Remuneration and Contract
We offer an attractive remuneration package including a competitive salary and allowances, comprehensive social benefits, and we provide financial support for relocating families.
Details of the Terms of Service for ESO Fellows including details of remuneration are available at
If you are interested in enhancing your early career through an ESO Fellowship at the most advanced ground-based observatory in the world, then please apply via the ESO Recruitment Portal.
Candidates are asked to include the following material as part of their application:
The names and contact details of three persons familiar with your scientific work and willing to provide a recommendation letter. Referees 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.
Recruitment Process: Timeline
Depending on whether you are applying for the ESO-Garching or ESO-Chile Fellowship, the schedule of the recruitment process will follow a slightly different format and timeline.
In all cases 15 October 2019 is the closing date for applications. Incomplete or late applications will not be considered.
October - November 2019: review of the applications. The Fellow Selection Committee (FSC) composed of ESO Faculty astronomers and one or more senior ESO Fellows will approve a short list of candidates;
Mid-November 2019: short listed candidates are invited to the ESO Fellows Science Workshop and to the interviews;
9-13 December: ESO Fellows Science Workshop: short listed candidates are invited to give an online 20-minute science talk by video, followed by 10 minutes of questions. All ESO Staff astronomers, Fellows and students are invited to attend the talks. Candidates will also be invited to a 1-hour video interview with the FSC;
End of December 2019: offers are sent by the Chair of the FSC to the top ranked candidates. Candidates on the waiting list and unsuccessful applicants will also be notified;
15 February 2020: deadline for successful candidates to provide their final reply to the Chair of the FSC. Early replies are appreciated.
October - November 2019: the applications are reviewed by the Fellow and Student Selection Committee (FSSC) composed of ESO Faculty astronomers and one or more senior ESO Fellows. The FSSC will approve a short list of candidates;
Mid-November 2019: short listed candidates are invited to the interviews;
Mid-December: candidates will be interviewed by the FSSC in video conference. Applicants will have the chance to show their scientific knowledge, technical skills, career goals, and their personal motivations, and potential contribution and interest toward ESO;
End of December 2019: offers are sent by the Chair of the FSSC to the top ranked candidates. Candidates on the waiting list and unsuccessful applicants will also be notified;
15 February 2020: deadline for successful candidates to provide their final reply to the Chair of the FSSC. Early replies are appreciated.
Please find at the following link the contact details for questions related to the ESO Fellowship Scheme.
No nationality is in principle excluded however, recruitment preference will be given to nationals of Australia, Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom irrespective of gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, race or religion.
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