Advert. No. 2018_0006
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. 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.


For its Mechanics Group at the Maintenance, Support and Engineering Department (MSE) of La Silla Paranal Observatory (LPO), ESO is opening a Local Staff Member position as:

Mechanical Technician


Vacancy closed on 28/02/2018

Deadline 28/02/2018

Main Duties and Responsibilities:

The selected candidate as Mechanical technician within the Mechanics Group, in collaboration with a team of engineers and technicians, will be responsible of the following main tasks:

For the equipment under the responsibility of the Mechanics Group:

  • Support and perform preventive and corrective maintenance, troubleshooting and repair.
  • Ensure the availability and performance according to specification.
  • Interact with the Support and Quality Assurance group (planning, spare parts, Maintenance plan optimization, documentation and quality control).
  • Coordinate contractor activities in close coordination with the Outsource Contract Work Package manager.

Support activities:

  • Participate to the daily troubleshooting and corrective maintenance.
  • Participate to the implementation of approved changes.
  • Supports Instrumentation and Electronics Group in mechanical field.
  • Assembly, integration and verification phases of new systems.
  • On any LPO critical activities for which your competencies are required by your manager.
  • Perform operational tasks such as Telescope Start-up Support.

Reports to:

The selected candidate will report to the Mechanics Group Leader.


The ideal candidate has:

  • At least 5 years of experience in the field of advanced mechanical systems, preferably involving high precision mechanics and/or opto-mechanical systems.
  • Knowledge of pneumatic, hydraulics and air conditioning system.
  • Metrology knowledge and measuring capabilities.
  • Knowledge and experience on the maintenance of standard mechanical equipment (bearings, pumps, motors, compressors, bolted structures, etc), power transmission (belts, chains, gearboxes, rotating equipment), basic lubrication concepts, handling, rigging and lifting equipment (bridge cranes, mobile cranes, manlift).
  • Knowledge of safety rules and procedures.
  • Basic English knowledge, at least to properly understand maintenance job plans and safety procedures.
  • Capability to read and interpret mechanical drawings, knowledge of tolerance system.
  • Basic experience on Microsoft Office.
  • Basic knowledge of Autocad or Inventor software.
  • Basic knowledge on electrical installation and equipment.
  • Class D license, truck license, manlift license would be an asset.

Key Competences:

  • Experience working in a team with the ability to work effectively in a multinational and multi-cultural environment.
  • Be able to work with some independence and with a good self-organization; time management skills and good interpersonal communications are essential.
  • Be able to work in remote areas under tight schedules.
  • Be able to cope with time-critical and technically difficult situations, and be proactive in technical issues assessment.
  • Capability to report in written the activities performed, ideally in English.
  • Have a good versatility in the working frame and be able to handle tasks on a wide variety of topics and fields.


A technical degree in the Mechanical field, with experience in mechanical equipment and trouble-shooting of mechanical systems.

Language Skills:

Intermediate English Level: as a minimum English should be understood, be able to read and understand English texts and documentation, mandatory for safety related signals and documents. Spoken English is an advantage.

Remuneration and Contract:

We offer an attractive remuneration package including a competitive salary and medical, educational and other social benefits, as well as financial help in relocating your family. The initial contract is for a period of two years with the possibility of an indefinite extension, subject to evaluation. The title or grade may be subject to change according to qualification and the number of years of experience.

Duty Station:

Paranal Observatory, located 120 km south of the city of Antofagasta, Chile. The working schedule will be 8 days on duty and 6 days off duty (8x6) with accommodation provided on site.

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.

Closing date for applications is February 28, 2018.

No nationality is excluded, however non-Chilean applicants must have a permanent resident status according to Chilean regulations, at the time of the application.

The post is equally open to suitably qualified candidates irrespective of gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, race or religion.

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