The Early-Career Scientific Visitor Programme at ESO Chile


To support short-term visits (minimum one month up to four months) by early-career scientists (PhD students and Post-Doctoral researchers up to three years from the PhD) of any nationality to spend part of their research experience at ESO. We aim at offering a flexible channel through which young astronomers can enrich their professional profile with short-term research experience in the vibrant scientific environment of one of the world's leading observatories. With this programme, ESO aims to promote scientific interaction with its community and research institutions worldwide and enhance ESO's role as an astronomical centre of excellence.

While working on their research project, there will be the opportunity for early-career astronomers to promote their research and look for new potential collaborators through this programme.

While visiting the ESO Chile, the early-career scientists have the unique chance to meet ESO experts who are deeply involved in the development and operations of the ESO facilities (La Silla Paranal Observatory, including APEX, and ALMA). The Office for Science is happy to help the visitor upon arrival and facilitate possible informal encounters with ESO experts. Such meetings will be offered on a best-effort basis and depending on the availability of the ESO resources.

Who is eligible

Through this programme, ESO accepts applications from students enrolled in a PhD in astronomy or related disciplines and from Post-Doctoral researchers up to three years from the PhD. No nationality is in principle excluded. However, 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, the United Kingdom and Chile irrespective of gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity or religion.

ESO has established diversity as an important value of the Organisation, is committed to providing an equal opportunities environment and is actively seeking to promote a diverse and inclusive workforce.

PhD students or scientists without an affiliation during the entire time of the planned visit cannot apply within this programme.

How to Apply

Eligible scientists who want to apply are kindly requested to complete the application form and send it by e-mail to the ESO Chile Visitor Selection Committee (VSC) ( Find the Form in the following links (Docx) (PDF)

Potential applicants are encouraged to directly contact any ESO staff member or fellow and coordinate their planned visit with them.  Alternatively, any potential applicant may contact the Visitor Selection Committee at ESO Chile ( to put them in contact with an ESO staff member in their field. 

Potential visitors are requested to submit their application at least four months before the planned visit for practical reasons.

The length of the visits can vary from one month to a maximum of four. Applications for shorter visits are handled directly by the Head of the Office for Science in Chile.

Selection Committee and evaluation process

The ESO Chile Early-Career Visitor Programme  is under the responsibility of the Office for Science in Chile. Applications to this programme are evaluated by the ESO Scientific Visitor Selection Committee, whose members and chair are selected from ESO astronomers in Chile, including at least one Fellow, and cover a broad range of scientific interests.  The chair is appointed on a yearly basis, the members generally rotate over a three-year period.

Current membership of the VSC are: Emanuela Pompei (chair), Elyar Sedaghati, Gautier Mathys,Martina Baratella, and Robert Klement. Paulina Jiron is the programme secretary (

Applications for the Early-Career Scientific Visitor Programme in Chile are accepted at any time. The VSC reviews incoming applications every 1-2 months and recommends visitors to the Head of the Office for Science. It follows the approved visits with the appropriate correspondence and arrangements and globally monitors the ongoing visits to make them successful.

The evaluation is done considering the candidate's scientific excellence and the scientific project proposed for the visit. Also, the project's feasibility in terms of goals against the requested time is taken into consideration. 

While synergies between the proposed work plan during the visits with the scientific interest of the ESO scientific community are not mandatory, ESO strongly encourages visitors to use this opportunity to interact and establish new collaborations with the community of ESO staff, fellows and students.

Support to and Duties of the Visitors

An Early-Career scientific visitor has the status of Unpaid Associate and receives a fixed allowance to cover living expenses while at ESO. Travel expenses to and from ESO Chile are also covered for visits longer than one month.

Upon his/her arrival, the visitor is supported by the secretary of the scientific visitor programme, Paulina Jirón (, on the administrative aspects of their visit. The contact person (the scientific collaborator at ESO or a member of the staff identified at the time of the invitation) has the task of introducing the visitor to the scientific life at ESO. An office is assigned to every approved visitor, as well as a computer terminal and an account.

All visitors are requested to give either a seminar or an informal discussion during their stay at ESO, and are expected to follow the ESO code of conduct.

Visitors are also requested to acknowledge support from the ESO Early-Career Scientific Visitor Programme in any publication(s) resulting from the visit.