ESO Summer Research Programme 2024

ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT)
ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) observatory at Paranal, with the Moon, Venus and Jupiter glowing brightly overhead. Image credit: ESO/Y. Beletsky

For six weeks in the northern summer of 2024, the European Southern Observatory (ESO) will host the sixth Summer Research Programme. This fully-funded programme is an opportunity for university students from STEM fields who have not yet started a PhD programme and have completed at least two years of their degree, to obtain research experience alongside astronomers based at ESO Headquarters (HQ) in Garching, Germany.

The ESO Summer Research Programme will run between 8 July – 16 August 2024. It is an unparalleled opportunity to engage with ESO scientists on a cutting-edge research project, join exclusive behind-the-scenes tours of ESO facilities, and more. A poster advertisement can be downloaded here.

Please note that applications close on Wednesday 31 January 2024.

Please see this link for application instructions. ESO accepts applications from promising university students from any country, although priority will be given to students from ESO Member States, Strategic Partners (Australia) and the Host State (Chile). Students must be able to attend the full six week duration of the research programme.

Travel costs to/from Garching will be covered for participants of the programme. Accommodation will be provided free of charge in a shared apartment in Garching (with electricity, heating and internet all included). Students will also be provided with a modest stipend to cover living costs during the programme. Successful students have the responsibility to acquire any required visas to spend six weeks working in Germany under these conditions.

The Summer Research Program at ESO is an exceptional opportunity for students to work at an institute that is both the headquarters of the most productive observatory in the world and a top-class research organisation. People at ESO’s HQ maintain a very active research community and are also designing and operating cutting-edge telescopes and their instruments including the VLTALMA, and the forthcoming ELT, which will be the world’s biggest optical/near-infrared telescope. 

The applicants can choose between a wide range of research projects, covering many areas of astronomy from protostars to black holes. The ESO Summer Research Programme will also provide opportunities beyond research, including a series of lectures, a mini-conference, a planetarium visit, an ELT instrumentation visit, and many social activities. You should expect six weeks packed with new experiences, new networks and new friendships!  Potential applicants are encouraged to read the ESO Blog article on the 2022 edition of the Summer Research Programme, as well as the experiences of two Australian students (Matthew Wilkinson from UQ in 2019, and Katy Proctor from UWA in 2020/21) who have previously participated in the ESO Summer Research Programme.

For more information, please contact Dr Stuart Ryder, AAL Program Manager for ESO.

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