Irish Research Council and European Southern Observatory partnership increases Irish astronomers’ access to resources and training

Posted: 8 July, 2019

The Irish Research Council signed a five-year Partnership Agreement with the European Southern Observatory (ESO) during the ESO Council Meeting at Farmleigh House, Dublin, in June 2019.  The agreement to support the ESO’s international studentship programme was signed by Peter Brown, Director of the IRC, and Xavier Barcons, Director General of ESO.

The goal of the ESO Studentship Programme is to connect PhD students and their advisors with the infrastructure and experts at one of the world’s foremost observatories. The programme offers an invaluable training opportunity for the next generation of Irish astronomers and users of ESO facilities. The agreement will enhance opportunities for Ireland-based postgraduate researchers to secure a one- or two-year studentship at the ESO’s headquarters in Garching (Germany) or at ESO’s base in Santiago (Chile). During the studentship, successful applicants will carry out research under the co-supervision of an ESO expert and their existing supervisor from their home institution.

Under the agreement, the IRC will fund up to ten one-year studentships or up to 5 two-year studentships over the term of this initial agreement. Successful applicants are selected by the ESO and approved by the IRC. In order to be eligible for IRC support under this competitive scheme, students must be enrolled in a PhD programme in astronomy or a related field at an eligible higher education institution in Ireland.

Welcoming this new partnership, Peter Brown said, “We are delighted to sign this agreement between the European Southern Observatory and the Irish Research Council. Now that Ireland has achieved national membership of ESO, the Council is keen to play its part in helping to bring the benefits of membership to our community of early-career researchers. This is a first step in this process. We look forward to the next five years of collaboration with the ESO and helping to build the pipeline of skilled talent in this exciting area of scientific discovery.”

Further information on this programme will be posted on the Irish Research Council website imminently.

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