What makes ESO's Fellowship programme unique and attractive?

As the foremost astronomy organisation and the world's most productive observatory with three cutting-edge observing sites in Chile's Atacama desert, ESO is clearly a special place to work and to do astronomy. ESO offers many unique opportunities for Fellows that cannot be obtained elsewhere:

  • ESO Fellows have an opportunity to share a truly international environment where they work closely with people from different cultures and disciplines.
  • ESO Fellowships are well supported research positions that allow recent PhDs to blossom as scientists by developing their own independent programmes and to engage in fruitful scientific collaborations with other astronomers at ESO or the broader astronomical community.
  • ESO provides an innovative and creative environment where Fellows are empowered to make an individual contribution.
  • The inclusion of functional responsibilities opens career options for Fellows who want to explore alternative paths in astronomy such as working at observatories and combining research and functional duties. Former ESO Fellows have gone on to a wide variety of new positions, including professorships at universities, support astronomer positions at international observatories, science communication and public outreach positions, and senior management positions at national and international scientific organisations.
  • ESO is an intergovernmental organisation and offers an attractive tax-free remuneration and benefits package for Fellows, and relocation support for their families.

In summary, there are few other postdoctoral programmes in astronomy that offer the unique combination of professional and personal development that ESO's Fellowship programme does.

Reaching new heights!

ESO's Fellowship Programme is designed to have young scientists reach the next step of their career: for example a desired post-doctoral position or a more permanent position at a university, research institute or observatory.
With this programme ESO Fellows will:

  • Develop their scientific profiles, benefiting greatly from a rich scientific environment where they can interact with more senior scientists;
  • Work as independent and mature researchers who can/will develop their own research projects and contribute effectively to collaborative scientific endeavours;
  • Finally get prepared to take on higher scientific, administrative or managerial responsibilities in future positions.

ESO Fellowship in Garching

In Garching, the Fellowships are granted for three years, subject to satisfactory performance each year. While spending most of the time on their scientific research, the Fellows are expected to contribute up to 25% of their time on support or development activities in the area of instrumentation, operations support, archive/virtual observatory, VLTI, ALMA, ELT, public affairs or science operations at the Observatory in Chile. The ESO Headquarter in Garching near Munich, Germany, is situated in the immediate neighbourhood of the Max-Planck-Institutes for Astrophysics and for Extraterrestrial Physics and only a few kilometres away from the Observatory of the Ludwig-Maximilian University. ESO is also participating in the newly formed Excellence Cluster on the same campus.

Learn more about Munich:

ESO Fellowship in Chile

In Chile, the Fellowships are granted for four years, subject to satisfactory performance each year. During the first three years, the Fellows are assigned to one of the operations groups on Paranal, La Silla or APEX/ALMA. Fellows contribute to the operations at a level of 80 nights per year at the Observatory. During the fourth year there is no functional work and the Fellow may choose to spend the fourth year at any institute of astrophysics in an ESO member state, or at ESO offices in Santiago or Garching, or hosted by a Chilean institution (and will thus have access to all telescopes in Chile via the Chilean observing time). In Chile, Fellows have the opportunity to collaborate with the rapidly expanding Chilean astronomical community in a growing partnership.


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Fellowship Symposium

An ESO Fellowship Symposium is organized every year, alternating between Garching, Germany and Santiago, Chile sites. The Fellows from both Germany and Chile have the opportunity to meet, and to present the results of their research. In addition the Symposium is used to provide some research training sessions.