Shaw Visitor Scheme


The AAO's Shaw Visitor Scheme is funded by a generous donation from Professor John Peacock (Royal Observatory Edinburgh) and Professor Shaun Cole (Durham University) who were joint winners with Daniel Eisenstein of the 2014 Shaw Prize in Astronomy. This Scheme expands on the existing and highly successful AAO Distinguished Visitor Scheme. The Shaw Visitor Scheme supports visits to the AAO by researchers at UK institutions, in order to develop, continue and foster successful collaborations such as the original 2dF Galaxy Redshift Survey. The aims are to maintain and enhance links between AAO and UK astronomers providing both with opportunities to benefit from longer term collaborative visits. The AAO will typically award one Shaw Visitorship annually.

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

The requirements of the Shaw 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. Shaw Visitors will spend a minimum of one month at the AAO, with no fixed maximum visit extent. In practice, visits longer than about three 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 $10000 (for a Visit of around three months). 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, the Head of National Facilities Support and the Head of International Facilities Support, 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 Shaw Visitor.

Professor Elizabeth Stanway

Professor Elizabeth Stanway (University of Warwick)

Prof. Stanway (hosted by Stuart Ryder) will be working with AAO staff on the stellar populations of star forming galaxies, especially those with low chemical enrichment and with high star formation density. She will apply population synthesis models that account for binary stars (BPASS) to a variety of projects at the AAO, including examining the surviving companions of supernova progenitor stars to understand the survival rates and distributions of such objects, as well as engaging with survey projects including GAMA, SAMI and Taipan.

Professor Annette Ferguson (University of Edinburgh)

Prof. Ferguson (hosted by Daniel Zucker) will be working with AAO staff on the structure of our Milky Way Galaxy and the nearby galaxy M31, along with exploring the role of ultra-faint dwarf galaxies in our local group of galaxies to understand their stellar populations and evolution.

Dr Alastair Edge (Durham University)

Dr Edge (hosted by Sarah Brough) is the inaugural AAO Shaw Visitor. He will be working with AAO staff on the brightest galaxies in galaxy clusters, to understand their formation history, and the history of the clusters in which they live. He will be using data from the Galaxy And Mass Assembly (GAMA) Survey, and will also be collaborating with AAO staff on planning for the new Taipan galaxy survey.