ESO Fellowship Programme 2012/2013 (Germany and Chile)



ESO Fellowship Programme 2012/2013 (Germany and Chile)

The European Organisation for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere awards several postdoctoral fellowships each year. The goal of these fellowships is to offer outstanding young scientists the opportunity to further develop their independent research programmes in the exciting scientific environment of one of the world's foremost observatories.ESO is the foremost intergovernmental astronomy organisation in Europe.

The ESO Headquarters is situated in one of the most active research centres in Europe, boasting one of the highest concentrations of astronomers. ESO’s offices are adjacent to the Max-Planck-Institutes for Astrophysics and for Extraterrestrial Physics and only a few kilometers away from the Observatory of Munich’s Ludwig-Maximilian University. Additionally, ESO participates in the recently formed ‘Universe’ Excellence Cluster at the Garching Campus, which brings together nearly 200 scientists to explore the origin and structure of the Universe. Consequently, ESO Fellows in Garching have many opportunities to interact and collaborate with astronomers at neighbouring institutes.

In Chile, Fellows have the opportunity to collaborate with the rapidly growing Chilean astronomical community as well as with astronomers at other international observatories located in Chile. The advent of the new ALMA building next to ESO's Santiago offices and the arrival of many astronomers and fellows working on the ALMA project have further enhanced the stimulating scientific environment available to ESO Chile Fellows.

The fellowships in Garching start with an initial contract of one year followed by a two-year extension (3 years total). In addition to developing their independent research programmes, ESO Garching Fellows will be expected to engage in some functional work, for up to 25% of their time, related to e.g. instrumentation, VLTI, ALMA, E-ELT, science operations support either in Garching or at one of ESO’s observatories in Chile, or public outreach. This provides the Fellows with the opportunity to get involved with ESO projects or operations, and to gather valuable insights and experience not available in any other setting.

The fellowships in Chile are granted for one year initially, with annual extensions for three additional years (4 years total). During the first three years, the Fellows are assigned to one of the science operations groups of Paranal, ALMA or APEX, where they will contribute to the operations at a level of 80 nights per year. During the fourth year there is no functional work and several options are provided. The Fellow may be hosted by a Chilean institution where she/he will be eligible to apply for time on all telescopes in Chile via the Chilean observing time competition. Alternatively, the Fellow may choose to spend the fourth year either at ESO's astronomy centre in Santiago, or at the ESO Headquarters in Garching, or at any institute of astronomy/astrophysics in an ESO member state. The programme is open to applicants who will have achieved their PhD in astronomy, physics or a related discipline before 1 November 2013. Early-career scientists from all astrophysical fields are welcome to apply. Scientific excellence is the prime selection criterion for all fellowships.

We offer an attractive remuneration package including a competitive salary and allowances (tax-free), comprehensive social benefits, and we provide financial support for relocating families.

If you are interested in enhancing your early career through an ESO Fellowship, then please apply by completing the web application form available at Reference letters to support your application should be sent to for Garching and for Chile.

Please include the following documents in your application:
– a Curriculum Vitae with a list of publications (ONLY published papers, NOT papers in preparation);
– a proposed research plan (maximum two pages);
– a brief outline of your technical/observational experience (maximum one page);
– three letters of reference from persons familiar with your scientific work.

The closing date for applications is 15 October 2012, and review of the application documents including the recommendation letters will begin immediately. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Candidates will be notified of the results of the selection process between December 2012 and February 2013. Fellowships shall begin in the year in which they are awarded.

Further Information:
For more information about the fellowship programme and ESO's astronomical research activities, please see:
For a list of current ESO staff and fellows, and their research interests please see:
Details of the Terms of Service for fellows including details of remuneration are available at:
For further general information about fellowship applications, please see our Frequently Asked Questions – FAQ:
Questions not answered by the above FAQ page can be sent to:
For Garching: Eric Emsellem, Tel. +49 89 320 06-914, e-mail:
For Chile: Michael West, Tel. +56 2 463 3254, email: