ESOcast 165: Fast Track Your Career with the ESO Fellowship Programmes

ESOcast 165: Fast Track Your Career with the ESO Fellowship Programmes

I really enjoy being at ESO because of the diversity of people and activities that I do here. ESO is a place where astronomers and engineers shape and design the future of our field. The doors open to me by ESO – I think there’s so many that I’m not even aware of all of them yet. Each year, several outstanding early-career scientists have the opportunity to further develop their independent research programmes at the European Southern Observatory. Fellowships are available both at ESO’s Headquarters in Garching near Munich, Germany and at ESO’s astronomy centre in Santiago, Chile. ESO Headquarters is situated in one of the most active research centres in Europe boasting one of the highest concentrations of astronomers in the world. High-calibre scientists, instrument experts, and other professionals within easy reach provide fellows with valuable opportunities for starting collaborations and learning new skills. ESO programmes helped me in my career as it brought me together with people that are very relevant for my field and essentially allowed me to start new research programmes. Being at ESO has helped my career because one of the opportunities that you get at ESO is exposure to experts in both the science as well as the technical side of things. The Garching fellowship programme is quite unique in many ways but mostly because of the environment we have here with the talent, people—hundreds of people— astronomers one of the biggest campuses in Europe and in the world, and the very, very strong support that we are bringing to these fellows for the three years they spend here. So the research setup here is quite rich. It goes from comets, exoplanets to star formation regions, protoplanetary disks, galaxies, cosmology, high-redshift objects. It really covers the whole set of topics that we have in astronomy. So if you are passionate about astronomy, come to ESO. It will definitely change your life. The ESO fellowship has been a fantastic opportunity for my career. It’s the first time where I’m truly independent in my research. I’m taking control of what I’m doing on a daily basis. I enjoy most about my fellowship that I can work in an extremely diverse and international environment and through my ESO duties I have access to instrumentation and to gaining a deep insight about the instruments and facilities. So what I really like at ESO is the possibility to be independent and at the same time to collaborate with people with different expertise. And also the possibility to really see the full scientific process, from the initial idea and how proposals are selected through the possibility to go to the telescope and see how the sky is observed, until the final publication. In addition to developing their independent research programmes ESO Fellows in Germany are expected to engage in so-called functional work for the organisation, for up to 25% of their time. Although initially perceived as a burden, the functional duties for specific ESO projects prove to be enjoyable and fulfilling, and have a very positive influence on fellows’ careers. So the functional work that the fellows are conducting here is a unique opportunity for them to connect to the ESO projects and to learn new skills. These will be super important when they go on with their career. My main part in this functional duty was looking at new algorithms. As functional work here, I’m going to Paranal three times a year to observe. That’s a great experience to understand how a telescope is working and how observations are carried out. During the fellowship, apart from research, I work in the user support department so I help the users to develop their observing programmes. I’m working with the new ESO Supernova centre which is a visitor centre and outreach centre that ESO is opening in 2018. I’m very passionate about outreach. In addition to the fellowships at ESO’s Headquarters, ESO offers a similar programme in Chile. The unique aspect of the fellowship in Chile is the opportunity to work so closely with instrumentation and state of the art telescopes. Being closer to the instruments, you learn how you can get the most out of it. We are looking for people who are passionate about observatories. You work for ESO 50% of your time for three years and then you have a fourth year, that you don’t have in Garching, totally free of duties. We can plan the duty work in a synergetic way to actually benefit the science and the development of the fellow. I love the combination of functional duties at the telescope and being able to concentrate on my science here. The functional part of the work — it can be tough! But it’s incredibly, incredibly rewarding, and incredibly enjoyable. The people here are really collaborative. I think that the team work is a must, for Paranal specifically. Usually you get some collaborations where you can discuss science in an informal way so this environment is very good for science. We have a small community. Fellows are working together and spend time together. We exchange information on science and then we have a great time together. That’s the part I enjoy the most. Regardless of which programme they chose, be it in Chile or Germany the ESO fellows are fully supported to conduct frontline research. At the same time, working at ESO equips them with essential practical skills for later in their careers. I’ve learned how to multitask. I’ve learned how to prioritise. I’ve learned a lot about instruments that maybe I wouldn’t have used in my own science beforehand, which now I’m thinking about. And of course both Germany and Chile offer great opportunities to have fun outside of work… For me one of the great things about working here in Garching is my ability to cycle everywhere. In my spare time I really, really enjoy travelling. South America is incredibly accessible from Santiago so I’ve had the opportunity to travel around South America as well. If you would like to become our next ESO Fellow and fast track your career apply to our Chile or German programmes and take into account the advice from our current or past fellows. ESO is a place for curious people, so if you are curious then just come here and explore all the possibilities that there are. Come to ESO and ask questions. I think I got the most out of ESO by just knocking on doors and speaking to all of the people. Come, visit, learn about what we do, and do great science because that’s the most important thing here. Transcribed by ESO; Translated by —

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About the Author: Oren Garnes


  1. Right, thanks for coming here, as my Danish mother deserves to be no laboural conflict, mine, her own freedom is just her own self occupation right, e.g. 'testify(!)' to being like a donkey, very stubborn, which proves that she can agee w. one thing that her incurable paranoia can exist as her own case, forever to be, so I can help you all w. – etc. etc., Peace, 'J.A.,' Sgo., Chile, The Danish Law, Buddha, Tachyons, Mars & e.g. My Semi-ac. Wendy. My phone is still: 0056965056701, my addr.: [email protected]

  2. Just 4 openings and a video for it, that's odd. I saw the vacancies over there but non for a Computer Engineer, would you guys have something for me? love your videos, bye.

  3. "I'm like a soldier in the middle of the battle without a gun"., because I'm really terrible in math, and that's the reason why i can't pursue my dream to become an astronomer, and give my contribution to these amazing field. But my curiosity about astronomy and space exploration with continue for as long as I'm live. Congratulations to ESO.

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