AAO Distinguished Visitor Scheme

The AAO's Distinguished Visitor Scheme aims to strengthen and enhance the AAO's visibility both locally and internationally, and to provide opportunities for AAO staff to benefit from longer term collaborative visits by distinguished international colleagues. The AAO will typically award a small number of Distinguished Visitorships annually.

The application deadline for AAO Distinguished Visitors is 31 March annually for Visits during the following July to June period.

The requirements of the AAO Distinguished Visitor Scheme, and the application process, are as follows:

  1. Applications must be emailed to the Head of Research and Outreach, with an annual deadline of 31 March, for visits in the following July-to-June period.
  2. Distinguished visitors will spend a minimum of one month at the AAO, with no fixed maximum visit extent. In practice, visits longer than about six months will require additional funding support from other sources. Matching funding from other sources will be viewed favourably in the ranking of applications.
  3. Each Visitorship will be worth a maximum of $20000 (for a Visit of around six months), or less if multiple Visitorships are awarded. This funding can be used to cover a round-trip economy air ticket and all or part of accommodation and living expenses. Since co-contributions are usually expected from other sources, the maximum rate of reimbursement for expenses other than the air ticket is restricted to $3500 per calendar month, averaged over the visit. Subject to this maximum reimbursement rate, the funds will be paid by way of reimbursement of expenses (receipts required) or, alternatively, in the case of accommodation and meal expenses by per diem. Booking and prepayment of the air ticket by the AAO may be possible.
  4. Each Visitor must give at least one colloquium at the AAO, and is strongly encouraged to give a colloquium at another astronomy research organisation in Australia. Visitors are also encouraged to give a scientific talk to the general public in Sydney. The AAO will assist in the organisation of public talks.
  5. Applicants must be sponsored by and agree to work with an AAO astronomer (or astronomers).
  6. Applications must include concise statements of the research to be undertaken by the Visitor and the tangible benefits to the AAO's research programs which will flow from the visit (1-2 sides of an A4 page), the Visitor's curriculum vitae, a budget with reasonable details of the funds requested, and a supporting statement written by the sponsoring researcher within the AAO (1 side of an A4 page). Applications must state the period for which the Visitorship is desired.
  7. Applications will be assessed by the Head of Research and Outreach and the Australian Gemini Scientist following input from the Executive Officer and Director, who will adjudicate in cases of conflict of interest. The rankings will be based on (i) the benefit to the AAO's research programs and status, (ii) the academic record of the applicant, and (iii) the significance of the proposed research, all approximately equally weighted. Some preference will be given to applicants supporting their visit through independent funding sources. No award will be made if no applications are of sufficient merit.
  8. If a Visitorship is not taken up within 3 months of the final date specified in the application, then the funding offer will lapse.
  9. The sponsoring researcher from the AAO will provide a report to the Head of Research and Outreach and the Newsletter Editor detailing the outcomes of the visit and the benefits to the AAO, within three months of the completion of the visit by the AAO Distinguished Visitor.

  • Dr Rubina Kotak, (Queen's University Belfast).
    Dr Kotak (hosted by Stuart Ryder) will be working with AAO staff on understanding the physics of supernovae, in particular those that interact with their circumstellar material before exploding.
  • Professor Daniela Calzetti, (University of Massachusetts).
    Prof. Calzetti (hosted by Andrew Hopkins) will be working with AAO staff on the star formation history of galaxies and star formation laws in galaxies, using data from the Galaxy And Mass Assembly (GAMA) survey and the SAMI Galaxy Survey.
  • Professor Simona Mei and Professor James Bartlett, (University of Paris D. Diderot).
    Professors Mei and Bartlett (hosted by Chris Lidman) will be working with AAO staff to study high redshift galaxy clusters (z>1.5) using data from the South Pole Telescope Spitzer Deep Survey, and the XMM XXL survey.

  • Professor Rogier Windhorst (link is external), (Arizona State University), visiting June-July 2013.
    Prof. Windhorst (link sends e-mail) (hosted by Andrew Hopkins) will be working with AAO staff on the lensing of galaxies using galaxy groups identified in the Galaxy And Mass Assembly (GAMA) survey, and taking advantage of HST imaging for a subset of these groups to develop the case for a large program of HST (and ultimately JWST) imaging to explore the significant role played by galaxy groups in modulating galaxy evolution.
  • Assistant Professor Marc Huertas-Company (link is external), (University of Paris 7 and Observatoire de Paris), visiting December 2013 to January 2014.
    A.Prof. Huertas-Company (link sends e-mail) (hosted by Chris Lidman) will be working with AAO staff on high redshift galaxy clusters from the HAWK-I High Redshift Cluster survey, and the measurement and evolution of galaxy morphologies in the Galaxy And Mass Assembly (GAMA) survey.
  • Dr Ignacio Ferreras (link is external), (University College London), visiting February-April 2014.
    Dr Ferreras (link sends e-mail) (hosted by Iraklis Konstantopoulos) will be working with AAO staff on understanding the mechanisms of star formation quenching in galaxies, looking in particular at galaxy environment (groups, clusters), and taking advantage of data from the Galaxy And Mass Assembly (GAMA) survey, along with the SDSS.
  • Dr Giovanni Carraro (link is external), (European Southern Observatory), visiting February 2014.
    Dr Carraro (link sends e-mail) (hosted by Gayandhi De Silva) will be working with AAO staff on high resolution optical spectroscopy of old star clusters, to measure detailed chemical abundances and constrain the formation history of these clusters relative to their environment in the Milky Way Galaxy.
  • Professor Chris Impey (link is external), (University of Arizona), visiting February 2014.
    Prof. Impey (link sends e-mail) (hosted by Fred watson) will be working with AAO staff on AAOmega measurements of supermassive black hole masses in the COSMOS field, to substantially increase the number of reliably known SMBH masses and explore SMBH accretion and feedback processes.

  • Professor Roger Davies, (Oxford University), visiting September-December 2012.
    Prof. Davies (link sends e-mail) (hosted by Matthew Colless) worked with AAO staff on the kinematics of galaxies through looking in detail at their rotation properties using multi-object integral field spectroscopy observations, expanding on the ATLAS-3D results with new measurements from SAMI.
  • Dr Mark Phillips (link is external), (Las Campanas Observatory), visiting April-September 2013.
    Dr Phillips (link sends e-mail) (hosted by Chris Lidman) worked with AAO staff on near-infrared observations of supernovae to improve their distance estimates, and the corresponding constraints on cosmological parameter measurement.
  • Professor Graeme Smith (link is external), (UC Observatories/Lick Observatory), visiting February-March 2013.
    Prof. Smith (link sends e-mail) (hosted by Gayandhi De Silva and Sarah Martell) worked with AAO staff on understanding stellar chemical abundances in globular clusters, using high resolution optical spectroscopy and the latest theoretical models to explain the two chemically distinct populations of stars present in these clusters.
  • Dr Vivienne Wild (link is external), (St Andrews University), visiting September 2012.
    Dr Wild (link sends e-mail) (hosted by Sarah Brough) worked with AAO staff on understanding the origins of galaxy bimodality, through exploring galaxy mergers, starbursts and feedback process with data from the GAMA, CALIFA, DINGO and SAMI surveys.

  • Professor Bon-Chul Koo (link is external), (Seoul National University), visiting March-May 2012. Prof. Koo (link sends e-mail) (hosted by Andrew Hopkins) worked with AAO staff on supernova remnants and luminous blue variable stars in the Milky Way and the Large Magellanic Cloud, using data from the IRIS2 instrument on the AAT.
  • Dr Francesca Primas, (ESO), visiting June-July 2012.
    Dr Primas (fprimas - @ - eso.org; hosted by Gayandhi De Silva) will be working with AAO staff on understanding stellar chemical abundances and their impact on planet formation within the Milky Way, using high resolution optical spectroscopy.
  • Associate Professor Christopher Stockdale (link is external), (Marquette University), visiting March-June 2012.
    A. Prof. Stockdale (link sends e-mail) (hosted by Stuart Ryder) worked with AAO staff on monitoring and understanding the origins of supernovae using observations from Gemini and ATCA.

  • Associate Professor Andrew Connolly (link is external), (University of Washington), visiting 23 July - 31 August 2010. Prof. Connolly worked with AAO staff on new techniques for the classification of spectra using spectroscopic survey data, and the creation of a simulation framework for designing future photometric and spectroscopic surveys.
  • Professor Richard Ellis (link is external), (Caltech), visiting 6-25 September 2010. Prof. Ellis engaged with AAO staff in a program of identifying which multiwavelength photometric and spectroscopic observables most strongly constrain the shape of the stellar initial mass function for star clusters, galaxies, and galaxy populations.
  • Professor David Koo (link is external), (UCO Lick Observatory, and UC Santa Cruz), visiting 7 July - 14 August 2010. Prof. Koo, who is a leader of the AEGIS multiwavelength survey, worked with AAO staff in comparing measurements from the AEGIS survey with those from the GAMA survey on the AAT, to explore evolutionary trends in galaxies spanning more than half of the age of the Universe.
  • Assistant Professor Kim-Vy Tran (link is external), (Texas AM University), visiting 3 July - 3 August2010. Prof. Tran collaborated with AAO staff on a project to spatially map the kinematics and stellar populations of Brightest Cluster Galaxies in the nearby Universe.