European Southern Observatory (ESO), Studentship programme Europe 2019/2020

November 15, 2019

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PHD Fellowship & Research

Location (s):

  • Chile
  • Germany
Santiago, Garching


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. Direct your research at one of the world's leading observatories


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 doctoral project under the formal supervision of their home university, but they come to ESO to work and study under the co-supervision of an ESO staff astronomer, normally for a period of between one and two years. Studentships may be hosted either at ESO's Headquarters in Garching (Germany) or at ESO's offices in Santiago (Chile), where up to two positions per year are provided for students enrolled in South American universities.

Applicants and their home institute supervisors should agree upon and coordinate their research project jointly with their prospective ESO supervisor. For this purpose the ESO supervisor should be contacted well in advance of the application deadlines (next deadline is 15 November 2019).

ESO Chile students have the opportunity to visit the observatories and to get involved in small technical projects that equip them with hands-on skills and give them insights into the observatory operations and instrumentation. Such involvement is also strongly encouraged for Garching students. ESO students at both sites benefit from a vital collaborative environment among a multi-disciplined young generation. They stay in touch with the latest developments in science and have the opportunity to network with top researchers visiting ESO. 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 join in many outreach activities.

Students who are already enrolled in a PhD programme in the Munich area (e.g., at the International Max-Planck Research School on Astrophysics or a Munich University) and who wish to apply for an ESO studentship in Garching, should provide a compelling justification for their application.

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

Studentships considered in the November round will normally begin between March 2020 - August 2020. In exceptional cases, students could start their studentship at ESO later than these indicated dates. The justification for this deferred start should be well justified in the application and supported by the supervisors.

Opportunity is About:


Candidates should be from:

Description of Ideal Candidate:

  • ESO's studentship positions are open to students enrolled in a PhD programme in astronomy or related fields (observational, theoretical and fundamental astrophysics), preferentially but not necessarily in an ESO Member State.
  • Additionally, ESO will provide up to two studentship positions per year at ESO Santiago for students enrolled in Chilean universities.


Deadline: November 15, 2019

Cost/funding for participants:

  • ESO offers a comprehensive and competitive package of salary, allowances, grants and an attractive social security scheme. In addition, ESO aims to support members of personnel in maintaining a good work-life balance between their professional and private life.
  • The basic working schedule is 40 hours a week on average. The specific working schedule and hours of work may vary according to the duty station.
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