Collaborations with ESO

Science Collaborations

ESO has an extensive programme for Fellows (young astronomers with a PhD degree), PhD Students, and Master's Students, thus contributing to the mobility of European scientists. ESO also sometimes hosts externally funded fellows (e.g., Marie-Curie). Junior and senior scientists from the Member States and other countries work for periods of a few days to a few months as visiting scientists at the ESO sites. In addition, ESO maintains a vigorous programme of international conferences with themes in front-line astronomical science and technology and provides logistic support for the international journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.

Collaborations with Industry

In order to provide the user community with progressively better astronomical telescopes and instruments, ESO cooperates closely with a large number of European high-tech industries. European industry plays a vital role in the realisation of ESO projects. Without the active and enthusiastic participation of commercial partners from all of the Member States and Chile, such projects would not be possible. More information can be found under Doing Business with ESO.

ESO and the European Union

ESO is the foremost organisation for ground-based astronomy in Europe. Since its establishment in 1962 it has become the main developer and operator of the largest research infrastructure projects in astronomy but also, in line with the ESO Convention, played a major role in fostering and organising European co-operation in astronomy in general. ESO is thus well prepared to make an important contribution towards the creation of the European Research Area, an initiative of the European Union to bolster European R&D and to support Europe's efforts to realise the so-called Lisbon-goals. ESO’s interaction with the European Union comprises:

  • direct actions, conducted through the Framework Programmes;
  • participation in EU-funded networks, such as OPTICON and ASTRONET;
  • activities carried out in the frame of the EIROforum partnership.

While some activities are related to R&D and often linked to specific ESO projects, other activities concern public outreach and education.


In 2015 ESA and ESO signed a cooperation agreement between the two organisations at ESO’s offices in Santiago, Chile. There is considerable overlap of interests between ESO, pre-eminent in ground-based astronomy, and ESA, Europe’s leader in space research and technology. The agreement provides a framework for future close cooperation and exchange of information in many areas, including technology and scientific research.
More information:


ESO and the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) signed a cooperation agreement in 2015, providing a framework for future close cooperation and the exchange of information. The agreement addresses many areas, including scientific research, technology, and education and public outreach activities.
More information:

International Collaborations

ESO has been an observer in the United Nations Committee for the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNCOPUOS) since 2008. ESO is the only ground-based observatory part of the action team that deals with the potential threat from Near-Earth Objects (NEOs). Therefore, it has an important mission to facilitate the appropriate submission of observing proposals to make observations of potentially dangerous objects that require the use of large telescopes.