Advert. No. 2017_0033
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). The ESO Headquarters are in Garching, near Munich, Germany.


At our Headquarters in Garching within the Directorate of Engineering, we are opening the

ESO Engineering & Technology Research Fellowship 2018


Vacancy closed on 15/10/2017

Deadline 15/10/2017

The European Organisation for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere has as primary mission to build and operate state-of-the-art facilities for the advancement of astronomical research. A strong Research & Development (R&D) programme is therefore at the core of ESO's activities.

What are we looking for?

  • Early-career researchers with a PhD degree in an engineering related discipline or in physics / astronomy with a strong technology content. A Master degree with additional R&D experience in the industry or research organisations is considered equivalent.
  • An outstanding independent research plan with broad relevance to ESO R&D programme.
  • Dynamic young individuals ready to take an active part in the ESO R&D projects (see below) for a minimum of 50% of their time with a good deal of team spirit, curiosity and eagerness to learn.

What are we offering?

  • Engineering post-doctoral fellowships with an initial contract of one year followed by a two-year extension (three years total).
  • An international, multi-disciplinary environment, situated on the Garching science campus close to Munich, Germany, next to the best german universities and world-reknown research centers. Working in collaboration with ESOs partner institutes and high-tech industries in the ESO member states.
  • Three observatories at the forefront of ground-based astronomy and of technology: la Silla, Paranal and ALMA. And one of the most challenging telescopes under construction: the European Extremely Large Telescope.
  • An attractive remuneration package including a competitive salary and allowances (tax-free), comprehensive social benefits, and financial support for relocating families.

Current ESO active R&D projects

  • Advanced visible and infra-red detectors for astronomical instrumentation (modeling, testing, development of CMOS fast detectors, curved detectors...);
  • Sub-millimeter receivers, cryogenic first-stage amplifiers for ALMA (development & testing);
  • Adaptive optics and related components including laser guide stars, deformable mirrors, wavefront sensing, tomographic techniques, interactions with segmented mirrors...;
  • System simulation and modelling including deformable mirrors, telescope seeing effects, exposure time calculators, instruments, model-based system engineering;
  • Optical metrology and photonics for (sub-)micrometric large structure characterisation, interferometry;
  • Mechanics and cryogenics;
  • Real-time computing.

For more details and examples of research projects:


If you are interested in enhancing your early career through an ESO Fellowship, then please apply online via our ESO Recruitment Portal.

Include the following documents in your application:

  • a cover letter;
  • a curriculum vitae with a list of publications, if any, and including an outline of your technical/practical experience;
  • a proposed research plan (maximum of one page);
  • an outline of why you wish to join one of the above-mentioned ESO projects (maximum one page);
  • the names and contact details of three persons familiar with your research and/or engineering work and willing to provide a recommendation letter.

It is also recommended that you contact the EETRF programme coordinator, Francoise Delplancke-Ströbele, before the application closing date, to check the feasibility of your research plan within ESO infrastructure and possible support.

The closing date for applications is 15 October 2017.

Fellowships are expected to begin in the first half of 2018.

Further Information

For any additional questions please contact: Francoise Delplancke-Ströbele, Tel. +49 89 3200 65 10, email:

No nationality is in principle excluded however, recruitment preference will be given to nationals of Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom irrespective of gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, race or religion.

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