Advert. No. 2017_0023
Working at ESO

Are you interested in working in areas of frontline technology and in a stimulating international environment? Do you feel your profile matches our requirements? Learn more about our current vacancies and apply online. Read more..

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 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.

For its Mechanical Engineering Department at the Headquarters in Garching near Munich, Germany, ESO is opening the position of

Opto-Mechanical Engineer


Vacancy closed on 19/11/2017

Deadline 19/11/2017

As a member of the Directorate of Engineering the Opto-Mechanical Engineer works is a matrix structure and is assigned to the Structural Analysis Group in the Mechanical Engineering Department where s/he supports the ELT construction in the field of opto-mechanical engineering. This implies involvement in many phases of the projects including procurement contracts preparation and follow-up, performance verification, acceptance, integration and commissioning.

The Opto-Mechanical Engineer is mainly involved in collaborations with European and non-European companies or international consortia for the design and construction of opto-mechanical subunits of the ELT. Frequent visits to contractors in Europe and ESO's observatories in Chile are required to contract support follow-up, installation and commissioning activities.

Main Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Follow-up telescope opto-mechanical subunits developments throughout all design phases;
  • Support and follow-up ELT projects in the areas of opto-mechanical engineering, structural analysis, AIT and project reviews;
  • Technical responsibility for work packages and contracts can be assigned;
  • Follow-up CAD and opto-mechanical design of subunits to be developed by contractors;
  • Writing technical specifications by means of functional requirements;
  • Supervision of manufacture, integration and commissioning of opto-mechanical subunits up to on-site installation at observatories;
  • Following-up ESO projects developed internally or by external contractors including participation in technical reviews in the areas of mechanical engineering.

Reports to:

Head of the Structural Analysis Group of the Mechanical Engineering Department


  • Five to ten years of work experience in the development or integration of opto-mechanical subunits as well as in contract follow-up and management;
  • Good communication skills with strong sense for team spirit used to work in an international team environment;
  • Experience to work in parallel for different projects, with different teams and within a matrix structure;
  • Experience to work both on your own initiative and as part of a team;
  • Good working knowledge of a state-of-the art 3D CAD system and Finite Element program (knowledge of Inventor and ANSYS would be an asset);
  • Experience in using Matlab would be an asset.

Key Competences:

  • Basic knowledge of the design and understanding of opto-mechanical subunits, including their opto-mechanical engineering, precision mechanics and mechanisms;
  • Technical expertise to follow-up telescope opto-mechanical subunits developments throughout various design phases;
  • Experience in managerial follow-up of opto-mechanical subunit contracts;
  • Familiar with European engineering, drafting and engineering documentation standards;
  • Basic knowledge in other engineering fields like control and optics to be able to collaborate with specialists in those fields;
  • Willingness to acquire new skills, develop a system understanding, keep up-to-date with the tools used in the daily work.


  • University degree in Mechanical Engineering, Precision Engineering, Physics or similar engineering disciplines.

Language Skills:

The position requires an excellent working knowledge of English. German and Spanish would be beneficial.

Remuneration and Contract:

We offer an attractive remuneration package including a competitive salary (tax free), comprehensive pension scheme and medical, educational and other social benefits, as well as financial help in relocating your family and the possibility to place your 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

Career Path: V


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 at <>. Applications must be completed in English and should include a motivation letter and CV. Also required are the names and contact details of three referees. These referees may be contacted at the end of the recruitment process, but not without your prior consent.

Closing date for applications is 19 November 2017.

Interviews are expected to start soon after this date.

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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