Advert. no. 2016_0004
Working at ESO

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The European Organisation for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere (ESO) is the foremost intergovernmental astronomy organisation in Europe and the world's most productive ground-based astronomical observatory. ESO carries out an ambitious programme focused on the design, construction and operation of powerful ground-based observing facilities enabling astronomers to make important scientific discoveries.

ESO operates three unique world-class observing sites in northern Chile: La Silla, Paranal and Chajnantor (home to ALMA and APEX), and the ESO Headquarters are located in Garching, near Munich, Germany.

At Paranal, ESO operates the Very Large Telescope, the world's most advanced visible-light astronomical observatory. ESO is a major partner in ALMA, the largest astronomical project in existence. And on Cerro Armazones, ESO is building the 39-metre European Extremely Large Telescope, which will become "the world's biggest eye on the sky" and whose operations will be fully integrated into the Paranal Observatory.

ESO is looking for one International Relations Officer to work in the Legal and International Affairs team within the Cabinet of the Director General at the Headquarters in Garching near Munich, Germany.



International Relations Officer


Vacancy closed on 13/03/2016

Deadline 13/03/2016

Main Duties and Responsibilities:

You will be working closely with the members of Cabinet of the Director General. The main responsibilities will include:

  • Establish informal contacts, manage relations and communications with prospect Member States (pre-negotiation stage and support during negotiations), their institutions, as well as international organisations with which ESO entertains relations;
  • Support ties with ESO Member States, including relations with the Chilean diplomatic mission to Germany, and in fulfilment of assigned functions, participate in meetings with government officials and representatives of international organisations, prepare summary reports of various meetings and international conferences;
  • Monitor the evolution of the Organisation's international partners and prospect Member States and provide the Head of Cabinet with appropriate information and recommended actions, in particular support meetings and conferences, including proposing agendas, identifying participants, preparing documents and presentations, conducting research and carrying out analysis with a view to improving coordination and enhancing relations between Member States, and prospect Member States;
  • Liaise with relevant ESO departments to enhance coordination with regard to international relations, particularly with respect to the review and clearance of correspondence with Member States, prospect and non- Member States, international organisations and other counterparts for various conferences, meetings and reports, and to provide substantive input in developing action plans, strategies, instructions and documents regarding ESO's work;
  • Assist in identifying strategic priorities for ESO's engagement with other international organisations and institutions; prepare evaluations and recommendations to the Director General, to the Head of Cabinet and, via them, to management;
  • Prepare and coordinate international meetings and draft correspondence addressed to Member States, prospect Member States and international organisations;
  • Represent ESO at relevant events in Member States, non-Member States, at their institutions and at international organisations;
  • Provide support to the Head of Cabinet in all the activities connected with the coordination of ESO's participation in EIROforum;
  • Deal with the relations between ESO and the European Union and centrally manage all EU related matters, including advising ESO Management about EU policies, in particular with regard to R&D funding possibilities;
  • Prepare on a quarterly basis a summary of ESO's activities in the field of international relations;
  • Provide assistance to the Head of Cabinet in writing papers, summary documents, correspondence, presentations, and speeches, as appropriate;
  • Provide support to protocol activities, as needed.

Reports to:

Head of the Cabinet of the Director General.


At least five years of experience in the field of international relations, preferably in an intergovernmental organisation.

Key Competences:

Diplomatic skills and discretion are a must for this position. The successful candidate:

  • Provides clear, concise and timely oral and written communications, identifies the key issues, examines options and proposes the way ahead;
  • Is able to build strong collaborative working relationships with people from different cultural backgrounds and disciplines;
  • Is capable to work for different projects, also in parallel and under pressure;
  • Is flexible in adapting to changes of requirements and priorities as well as of assignments;
  • Monitors progress of own work and delivers to agreed deadlines and standards;
  • Constructively addresses disagreement and manages conflict;
  • Manages own emotions and demonstrates clear and positive thinking in stressful and ambiguous situations.


University degree in international relations or equivalent. Candidates must demonstrate capabilities in high-level negotiations. Familiarity with international scientific affairs, management of science and science policy would be an advantage.

Language Skills:

The position requires a perfect fluency of the English language. Working knowledge of other languages, in particular German and/or Spanish would be an asset.

Remuneration and Contract:

ESO offers an attractive remuneration package including a competitive salary (tax free), comprehensive pension scheme and medical, educational and other social benefits, as well as financial support in relocating family members and the possibility to place child/children in daycare.

The contract is for a fixed term duration of three years, and is subject to successful completion of the probation period. There is a possibility of extension(s) subject to individual performance and organisational requirements, and as defined in the applicable policies and staff rules and regulations. For any further information, please visit

Duty Station:

Garching near Munich, Germany with regular duty trips, mainly to candidate Member States.

Career Path:



If you are interested in working in areas of frontline technology and in a stimulating international environment, please visit (<>) for further details.

Applicants are invited to apply online via our recruitment portal Applications must be completed in English and should include a motivation letter and your CV.

Closing date for applications is 13 March 2016.

It is planned to have the interviews on 31 March 2016.

No nationality is in principle excluded however, recruitment preference will be given to nationals of Austria, Belgium, Brazil, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

The post is equally open to suitably qualified female and male applicants.

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