Distinguished visitor scheme - info

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.