Advert. No. 2017_0031
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 the Atacama Pathfinder Experiment (APEX) in Chile, ESO is opening an international Staff Member position as:



Senior Engineer/ Scientist - APEX Station Manager

Sequitor, San Pedro de Atacama

Vacancy closed on 14/08/2017

Deadline 14/08/2017

The Atacama Pathfinder Experiment is a collaboration between the Max-Planck-Institut fìr Radioastronomie (MPIfR), the European Southern Observatory (ESO) and Onsala Space Observatory (OSO). APEX operations in Chile have been entrusted to the La Silla Paranal Observatory (LPO) on behalf of the APEX Board. APEX employs around 20 staff members (engineers, scientists, and support staff) who operate this single-dish, modified ALMA prototype antenna, located on the high-altitude site (5.100m a.s.l.) of Chajnantor near San Pedro de Atacama, Chile. Main Duties and Responsibilities: The Station Manager will be responsible for the successful execution of the project within budget and schedule in accordance with APEX Board's decisions. Working closely with the teams from the APEX partner institutes and other external partners involved in the project, the successful candidate will be responsible for a broad range of scientific and operational matters including, but not limited to, the operation of the antenna and its suite of state-of-the-art facility instruments and its/their continuing upgrades, including preventive and corrective maintenance, as well as managerial logistic and other administrative aspects.

The main tasks of the successful candidate will include:

  • Managing technical and scientific operations and other operational issues of the antenna and its facilities;
  • Implementing overall Board science policies and strategic planning, and preparing reports required for the site's successful operations;
  • Participating in and supporting all installations at the telescope (facility and PI);
  • Participating in and supporting commissioning and science verification activities; performing acceptance reviews for all facility deliveries, provide acceptance reports for all facility deliveries to the Board;
  • Advising on and implementing improvements and optimizations of the sites' operations and its facilities through project follow-up;
  • Implementing and following-up safety issues as defined by the APEX Board;
  • Managing observing schedules, including technical time, and coordinating observing time;
  • Directing all aspects of the site's facilities ensuring full operability;
  • Managing personnel and budgetary matters, coordinating and optimizing the use of the manpower available at the site;
  • Regular reporting to the APEX Board and liaising with APEX partners and other interlocutors involved in the project.

Reports to:

S/he will report directly to the APEX Board and to the La Silla Paranal Observatory Director.

Qualifications and Experience:

University degree in Engineering or equivalent with five years of relevant "in the field" engineering and operation experience in competitive multi-discipline scientific or high technology projects. This position requires a comprehensive and in-depth understanding of submilimeter wavelength detector technology and engineering. Also, a thorough understanding of the operations of an astronomical submillimeter wavelength observatory, both from the engineering and operational point of view is essential. Experience in the management of collaborative international or inter-agency scientific projects would be an advantage.

Key Competences:

The position requires the ability to manage and prioritise a variety of technical, logistical, astronomical and practical aspects. S/he must be able to base and justify decisions on technical as well as astronomical judgments. Ability to effectively lead, supervise, mentor, develop and evaluate staff and design training/skills enhancement initiatives to ensure effective staff development. Excellent communication skills and a strong sense of team spirit are essential.

Language Skills:

The position requires a good knowledge of English. Working knowledge of Spanish or willingness to learn it.

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. 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 organizational requirements, and as defined in the applicable policies and staff rules and regulations. For any further information, please visit <>.

Duty Station:

The duty station is APEX site (Sequitor near San Pedro de Atacama). The working schedule is typically 8 days on duty followed by a 6 days rest period (8/6) with accommodation provided on site. The position requires regular duty travels to Europe. Place of residence shall be preferably Santiago.

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 at <>. Applications must be completed in English and should include a motivation letter and CV.

Starting Date:

As early as possible but no later than January 2018.

Closing date for applications is 14 August 2017.

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 United Kingdom, however, no nationality is in principle excluded.

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

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