Winners of the 2021 Joint Committee ESO–Government of Chile funds announced

19 November 2021

As part of its long-standing cooperation agreement with Chile, ESO provides and manages an annual fund that awards projects dedicated to the development of scientific, technological and educational research and cooperation in astronomy throughout the country. Following two calls for proposals, the Joint Committee ESO–Government of Chile 2021 has now selected 22 national and regional projects fitting these criteria, awarding a total of 600 million Chilean pesos (about €650 000). 

The 2021 national call had 19 winning projects. The funds will support postdoctoral programmes and academic positions in astronomy in Chilean institutions, scientific visits by national and foreign researchers, the construction of technology for astronomy and related disciplines, as well as educational programmes for the teaching and dissemination of this science in Chile. 

Among this year’s winners, is a project to promote astronomy engagement amongst underrepresented and lower income communities in Cerro Navia, a municipality in the Santiago Metropolitan Region. In addition, the ESO—Chile Committee will continue to support the Chilean Astronomy Olympiad, which promotes astronomy education throughout the country.   

Starting this year, to the traditional national call that has been made since 1996, a regional call has been added focusing on the Coquimbo and Antofagasta regions. The idea of this new annual call is to promote and focus the role of astronomy as a development tool in the regions where all ESO observatories are located. 

The regional call had three winning projects. In the Antofagasta region, the Committee will finance the professional design of the "Photons Valley'' Astronomical Interpretation Center, an initiative promoted by the Likancabur scientific cultural group that seeks to build a space for visitors in the heart of the Atacama Desert. In Coquimbo, academics from the University of La Serena were awarded funds to investigate and share the knowledge and world view of indigenous and rural groups in the region. The third project, by the Central University of Antofagasta, aims to promote astronomy through the arts. 

The ESO—Government of Chile Joint Committee makes a sustained contribution to the development of astronomy in the country through annual competitive funds and is made up of representatives of ESO and the Government of Chile, through the Directorate of Energy, Science and Technology and Innovation (DECYTI) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and with the participation of the National Research and Development Agency (ANID) of Chile and board members of the Chilean Astronomy Society (SOCHIAS). For the regional call, the Regional Secretariats of the North Central and North Macrozones of the Ministry of Science, Technology, Knowledge and Innovation were included. 

The proposals of the Joint Committee of ESO–Chile 2021 awarded at the national level are:

Nombre de proyecto

Investigador/a principal


Uncloaking the Fossil Relics of the Milky Way with SDSS-V

José G. Fernández Trincado

Universidad Católica del Norte

Milliarcsecond-resolution observations of the dust-forming atmosphere and the circumstellar envelope of cool evolved stars

Keiichi Onaka

Universidad Andrés Bello

Dust Substructures in Protoplanetary Disks and their impact on Planet Formation

Laura Pérez

Universidad de Chile

Probing the circumnuclear environment of supermassive black holes

Claudio Ricci

Universidad Diego Portales

The Event Horizon and Environs Sample: beyond SgrA* and M87

Neil Nagar

Universidad de Concepción

Study of AGN with asymmetric, variable and/or strange Balmer emission lines.

Patricia Arevalo

Universidad de Valparaíso

A new doctoral program in Astrophysics and Astroinformatics at Universidad de Antofagasta

Médéric Boquien

Universidad de Antofagasta

Strengthening the new astrophysics group at Universidad Técnica Federico Santa María

Matthias R. Schreiber

Universidad Técnica Federico Santa María

Visit of Dr. Elena Redaelli to strengthen and boost the collaboration among MPE and Chilean Institutions

Stefano Bovino

Universidad de Concepción

Túnel Universo Accesible

Valeria Vera

Fundación Tiempos Nuevos

Club Observatorio Astronómico Comunal “Barrancas” en Cerro Navia

Guillermo Retamales Gonzáles

Municipalidad de Cerro Navia

“Round or Flat?” - Measuring together the Earth radius from Chile to Canada

Rodrigo Herrera-Camus

Universidad de Concepción

Equipo Pedagógico CIRAS: cerrando brechas entre la astronomía y el aula

Carla Hernández Silva

Universidad de Santiago de Chile

II National Conference of Astronomical Education

Angie Barr Domínguez

Sociedad Chilena de Astronomía

MOONS Software Integration and Commissioning

Manuela Zoccali

Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile

Two engineers for light-weight astronomical mirror development

Amelia Bayo

Universidad de Valparaíso

Education, Assessment and Modelling of Light Pollution in the vicinity of the major Astronomical Observatories in Northern Chile through a network of devices for Citizen Science

Guillermo Damke

Universidad de La Serena

Olimpiadas de Astronomía y Astronaútica

Marcelo Mora

Sociedad Chilena de Astronomía

Breaking the Barriers III (Rompiendo las barreras III)

María Fernanda Durán Sierra

Sociedad Chilena de Astronomía

The proposals of the Joint Committee of ESO–Chile 2021 awarded at the regional level are:

Nombre de proyecto

Investigador/a principal


Diseño del proyecto Valle Fotones

Eduardo Unda-Sanzana

Agrupación Científico-Cultural Likancabur

Astronomía y patrimonio cultural en la Región de Coquimbo

Rodolfo Barbá

Departamento de Astronomía, Universidad de La


Arte, teatro, música y astronomía

Paulina Troncoso

Universidad Central



Luis Chavarría
ESO Representative in Chile
Alonso de Córdova 3107, Vitacura
Santiago, Chile

Bárbara Núñez Jerez
ESO Regional Relations Officer 
Santiago, Chile

About the Announcement



Touching the Arc of Space
Touching the Arc of Space