Advert. No. 2020_0043
Working at ESO

Are you interested in working in areas of frontline technology and in a stimulating international environment? Do you feel your profile matches our requirements? Learn more about our current vacancies and apply online. Read more..


Studentship Programme Chile


Vacancy closed on 30/11/2020

Deadline 30/11/2020

Conduct your PhD research at one of the world’s leading observatories

The research studentship programme of the European Southern Observatory provides an outstanding opportunity for PhD students to conduct their research in the vibrant scientific environment of one of the world's leading observatories for a period of up to two years.

ESO is the foremost intergovernmental astronomy organisation in Europe. Its approximately 110 staff astronomers, 40 Fellows and 40 PhD students conduct frontline research in fields ranging from exoplanets to cosmology, offering one of the most collaborative and stimulating scientific settings anywhere in the world.

ESO's studentship positions are open to students enrolled in a PhD programme in astronomy or related fields (observational, theoretical and fundamental astrophysics). Students accepted into the programme work on their studentship project under the formal supervision of their home university, but they are expected to come to ESO to work and study under the co-supervision of an ESO staff astronomer, normally for a period of one or two years during which they are employed and paid by ESO. The candidates applying to the ESO Studentships in Garching are hosted at ESO's Headquarters in Garching (Germany).

Applicants and their home institute supervisors should agree upon and coordinate their research project jointly with their prospective ESO supervisor, and then can apply for one or two years of ESO Studentship. For this purpose, the ESO supervisor should be contacted well in advance of the application deadlines (next deadline is 30 November 2020). A list of potential ESO supervisors and their research interests can be found at

ESO students benefit from a collaborative, international, and multi-disciplinary scientific environment that values innovation and creativity. They stay in touch with the latest developments in science and have the opportunity to network with top researchers. Moreover, students have the chance to complement their scientific profile by volunteering as co-organisers of several regular science events like Journal Clubs, topical coffees and seminars. Students can be part of the SOC/LOC of conferences hosted at ESO and mentor master students, in collaboration with an ESO Fellow or Staff astronomer. In addition, students in Garching may attend and benefit from the series of lectures delivered in the framework of the International Max-Planck Research School on Astrophysics. ESO students have also the possibility to participate in many outreach activities.

If you are interested in enhancing your PhD experience in an international and culturally-rich environment, growing your network of potential collaborators and consolidating your scientific profile through an extended stay at ESO, then please apply by completing the web application form available at

Please include the following documents in your application:

  • a cover letter;
  • a curriculum vitae, including a list of publications, if any;
  • copies of your university transcript and certificate(s) or diploma(s);
  • a summary of your master's thesis project (if applicable) and ongoing projects, indicating the title and the supervisor (maximum half a page);
  • a short description of the general scientific plan for the PhD, indicating the tentative title and the supervisor (maximum half a page). The planned starting date and end date should also be included;
  • an outline of the proposed project for the Studentship (maximum one page), containing a clear timeline including the tentative start and expected end dates of the studentship at ESO. The candidate should highlight how the proposed project fits in the context of the overall PhD plan and what are the advantages of coming to ESO;
  • the names and contact details of your home institute supervisor and the ESO local supervisor. They 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 (can be done before the final submission of the application);
  • a letter from the home institute that: i) guarantees financial support (salary, health insurance and travel money) for the remaining PhD period after the termination of the ESO studentship; ii) indicates whether the prerequisites to obtain the PhD degree at the home institute have already been met. All documents should be written in English (but no translation is required for the certificates and diplomas).

Depending on the number of available positions, there might be up to two application rounds per year (with closing dates for applications 31 May and 30 November of the current calendar year). The coming round has a deadline for the submission of applications on 30 November 2020. Review of the application documents, including the recommendation letters, begins immediately following the deadline. Incomplete or late applications will not be considered.

Candidates will be notified of the results of the selection process within two months following the deadline. Studentships considered in the May round will normally begin between August the same year and March the following year. Studentships considered in the November round will normally begin the following year, between March and August.

Further information

For more information about the studentship programme please see: For a list of current ESO staff and fellows, and their research interests, please see: A list of PhD projects currently being offered by ESO staff can be found at: Details on the employment conditions and benefits are available at:

For further general information about studentship applications, please see our Frequently Asked Questions - FAQ: Questions regarding the studentship in Chile and not answered by the above FAQ page can be addressed to: Linda Schmidtobreick, email:

You can also attend a Guided Virtual Tour of the ESO sites, on 5 November 2020, 14:00 CET/10:00 CLT, on ESO Astronomy Facebook Page ( and/or YouTube channel ( .

You can also follow the #ESOstudentship hashtag on Twitter for more information about the programme.

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,

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