Advert. No. 2017_0058
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 (ELT), 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 a fixed term Project Manager to work in the Project Management Department (PMD), within the Directorate of Programmes (DOP) at ESO's Headquarters in Garching, near Munich for the construction of the ESO ELT.

Project Manager


Vacancy closed on 05/01/2018

Deadline 05/01/2018

About the role:

The successful applicant will be assigned to the ELT Optomechanics project to support the ELT construction in the field of optomechanical systems and components manufacturing. This implies involvement in many phases of the project comprising e.g. procurement contracts preparation and follow-up, performance verification, acceptance, integration and commissioning. ESO runs a matrix organisation and the Project Manager is supported in her/his work by a team of engineers of the relevant disciplines from the ESO Directorate of Engineering (DOE).

The job holder will be mainly involved in collaborations with European and non-European companies or international consortia for the design and construction of opto-mechanical sub-units of the ELT. Frequent visits to contractors in Europe and ESO's observatories in Chile will be required to support contract follow-up, installation and commissioning activities. There may be an opportunity to temporality relocate to Chile during the final phase of the work.

Duties & Responsibilities:

  • The successful candidate will be a member of the PMD who has delegated authority from the higher level Project Manager for the delivery of a sub-system or a well-defined set of project tasks corresponding to a Work Package within the defined scope, cost and schedule.
  • She/He manages and follows-up the industrial contracts for components/systems to the ELT in close collaboration with the Project and Programme, the Contracts and Procurements Department and the Engineering team.
  • She/He organises the work packages execution throughout all development phases: procurement, design, manufacturing and tests, and delivery, where applicable.
  • Where applicable, she/he supports the teams in charge of integration and commissioning of the delivered products, either in Europe or at the Telescope site in Chile.
  • She/He organises staff working on the Work Package on a day to day basis as agreed with the higher level Project Manager and the ESO Functional Managers.
  • She/He ensures that the Project/Work Package execution respects ESO procedures and standards.
  • She/He seeks to resolve conflicts in her/his team, following ESO escalation procedures if required.
  • Where applicable she/he sets objectives and provide performance evaluation to the functional managers for the staff working for their Work Package.
  • When responsible the work package, approves the relevant procurement tasks (Purchase Request, Purchase Order, Invoices).
  • Work packages in the field of glass and glass ceramics production, and optical systems development, may be assigned.

Skills & Experience:

The successful candidate shall have a sound knowledge and experience of contract management and follow-up in particular in the area of high performance mechanical and electro-mechanical systems. A good knowledge in the field of optics and opto-mechanics is an asset. She/he should have 5-10 years' experience in similar positions. Good communication skills are expected with strong sense of team spirit and being used to work in an international team environment.


  • Project, Work package, and Contract management in the field of design and production of high performance mechanical and electro-mechanical systems.
  • Skills and experience in large serial manufacturing contracts management (several hundred products per year, with contract values exceeding 10 M Euro).
  • Experience in work and team organisation in relation with the other Project and Programme stakeholders: Programme Control, Programme and Systems Engineering, Quality and Product Assurance, Department of Engineering, Logistics. A good knowledge of the functions and responsibilities of these peripheric entities is required.
  • Skills and experience in work and resources planning.
  • Good communication, orally and in writing, and reporting. Both internally and as an ESO representative.
  • Capability to work in parallel for different projects, with different teams and within a matrix structure.
  • Work both on your own initiative and as part of a team, with autonomy and responsibility.
  • Good aptitude in negotiation and conflicts management.
  • Good competences in risk management.
  • Knowledge and experience in rigorous and strict application of change management, configuration management, compliance management, both at managerial and technical levels.
  • Knowledge and experience in the field of mechanics and electro-mechanics, and potentially in opto-mechanics.
  • Knowledge and experience in the field of glass and glass ceramics production would be an asset.


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

Language Skills:

A very good command of the English language (oral, reading and writing) is essential and a working knowledge of German or Spanish would be an advantage.

Reports to:

Head of the Project Management Department as functional manager. The ELT Optomechanics Project Manager will coordinate and request the tasks through the ESO matrix.

Remuneration and Contract:

We offer an attractive remuneration package including a competitive salary (income-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 day-care.

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

Starting Date:

As soon as possible

Duty Station:

ESO Headquarters in Garching, near Munich, Germany. During the final phase, a temporary transfer will be may be required for up to one year to Chile.

Career Path: V / VI


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 Your application must be completed in English and include a motivation letter and CV. In your CV you should provide us with the names and contact details of three persons familiar with your work and willing to provide a recommendation letter on request. Referees will not be contact without your prior consent.

Closing date for applications is 5th January 2018.

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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