ESO’s Vision, Mission, Values and Strategy

ESO’s Vision

ESO’s vision is to deliver the Extremely Large Telescope (ELT), while keeping the Very Large Telescope (VLT), VLT Interferometer, and the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) at the forefront of worldwide astronomy.

ESO’s Mission

ESO’s mission was described in the “Convention Establishing a European Organisation for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere” (one of ESO’s Basic Texts), which entered into force in 1962. In today’s wording, ESO’s mission is twofold:

  1. Enabling major scientific discoveries by constructing and operating powerful ground-based observational facilities that are beyond the capabilities of individual member states
  2. Fostering international cooperation in astronomy

ESO’s Values

The continued success of ESO relies heavily on the support from its member states, the standing partnership with its communities and highly skilled and committed staff. ESO’s values define how we work together, are woven into our activities and projects, and form the basis on which our plans and their execution are built. They combine two complementary aspects: the organisational values that the Organisation, as a whole, exhibits, respects and promotes in all its activities; and the personal values that the individuals working at ESO follow in support of our overall organisational values.

ESO strives for excellence through innovation.

ESO provides outstanding services to its communities.

ESO fosters diversity & inclusion.

ESO believes in the key role of sustainability for its future.

These values of the organisation are realised and maintained by the people working at ESO.

Our efforts to achieve ESO's values are only possible on the basis of personal values and attitudes: respect, integrity, accountability, commitment, collaboration, and clear & open communication.


ESO’s Strategy

The ESO Council has adopted the following strategic milestones for ESO during the decade 2021–2030:

  • Implement and operate the ELT as the world-leading extremely large telescope
  • Ensure that the current facilities remain at the forefront of astronomical investigations
  • Ensure that the Organisation is prepared for future projects when financial projections so permit
  • Retain ESO’s leadership role in astronomy

The full strategy is described in greater detail in the Messenger article “ESO Strategy for the 2020s”.