Advert. no. 2018_0008
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 Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) is the world's preeminent facility for millimeter and submillimeter-wave astronomy with transformational capabilities to study the origin of galaxies, stars, and planets. The ALMA observatory is fully operational, with all 66 antennas dedicated to science, and equipped with receivers covering atmospheric windows between 30 and 950 GHz. The ALMA observatory is located on the Chajnantor plateau, 5000 meters altitude in northern Chile.

The ALMA Observatory, an international astronomy facility, is a partnership of the European Organization for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere (ESO), the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF), and the National Institutes of Natural Sciences (NINS) of Japan, in cooperation with the Republic of Chile. ALMA is funded by ESO on behalf of its Member States, by NSF in cooperation with the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) and the National Science Council of Taiwan (NSC), and by NINS in cooperation with the Academia Sinica (AS) in Taiwan and the Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute (KASI). ALMA continued development and operations are led by ESO on behalf of its Member States; by the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), managed by Associated Universities, Inc. (AUI), on behalf of North America; and by the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ) on behalf of East Asia.

The Joint ALMA Observatory (JAO) provides the unified leadership and management of the continued development, enhancement, and operation of ALMA.


The Joint ALMA Observatory invites applications for the position of:

ADE ESG Manager (Engineering Services Group Manager)

OSF, San Pedro de Atacama

Vacancy closed on 25/03/2018

Deadline 25/03/2018

The Joint ALMA Observatory (JAO) is seeking a senior engineer/manager to become the Manager of the Engineering Services Group (ESG) in the ALMA Department of Engineering (ADE). This group provides engineering services and technical leadership to the ADE groups at the ALMA observatory, and it supports the interaction and communication with the regional partners. The successful candidate will lead a group of approximately 15 people, and will be responsible for ensuring a cohesive, focused and consistent array engineering approach to the observatory. The position reports directly to the Head of the ADE.

Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Oversee the status and application of the established work- and configuration management processes, suggesting corrections and improvements where necessary, and developing new tools and activities according to the department's strategic goals;
  • Lead the ESG effort to develop the engineering tools and processes supporting trend analysis and put in production to optimize the maintenance plans for the stable array operation in collaboration with other ADE group managers and Integrated Engineering Team members at the East Asian, Europe and North American Executives;
  • Monitor and steer the problem reporting and investigation process, and lead Continuous Improvement Process Projects within the ADE to optimize workflows and efficiency;
  • Identify, with the other ADE group managers and the technical leads, the technical training needs to raise staff multidisciplinary capabilities;
  • Provide engineering support for commissioning and acceptance tests of new hardware form the ALMA development and upgrade programs;
  • Fully develop and monitor the department's key performance indicators (KPIs), and elaborate operational procedures with relevant KPIs to allow long-term follow-up of operational systems;
  • Manage all ESG personnel, including hiring activities, staff evaluations and professional development strategies;
  • Interface with Science Operation (DSO) and Computing (ADC) departments for operations and maintenance planning and coordination;
  • Ensure the due maintenance and improvement of the CMMS and PRTS platforms, among others, in order to allow for effective operations support as well as permitting the extraction of according statistics in an efficient manner;
  • Manage the execution of the ADE infrastructure related projects and the implementation of the upgrade projects on site.


Minimum requirements (must have):

  • University degree in Electrical/Electronics or Mechanical Engineering, or demonstrated equivalent work experience.
  • Minimum 5 years of experience in of managing industrial maintenance and/or astronomical observatory maintenance programs and strategies.
  • Must possess a valid driver's license.
  • Fluency in English (oral and written) is required.

Desirable Requirements (an asset if present):

  • Applied knowledge in Systems Engineering and/or Quality Management would be considered an asset;
  • Postgraduate studies in a related field would be an asset.
  • Experience in project- and/or contract management concepts are considered and asset.
  • Spanish - intermediate to advanced level or a willingness to obtain a basic level of the language would be an advantage.


  • A strong ability to lead a team and mentor staff.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills, high ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships in a multi-cultural environment.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills are mandatory.
  • Actively supports and promotes changes as an opportunity for development for self and the organization.
  • Constructively addresses disagreement and manage conflict.
  • Sets clear performance standards and provides regular and constructive feedback to own staff/team.

Duty Station / Location of Position

  • The position is based at the ALMA Operations Support Facility (OSF) near San Pedro de Atacama, at 2900m, working 75% of the time at the site.
  • Physical health compatible with high altitude conditions. A successful High Altitude Medical Exam is a necessary condition of employment.
  • Work is performed in an administrative environment, with frequent on field visits and inspections, both indoors and outdoors.
  • The candidate will be expected occasionally to travel nationally and internationally for both short and extended periods for meetings, training, etc.

Starting Date

As soon as possible.


The successful candidate may request contract offers from any or all of ESO, AUI/NRAO and NAOJ.


The remuneration will be negotiated between the selected candidate and the employing Executive, according to the relevant rules and regulations. If applicable, an expatriation allowance and other allowances will be provided.

How to apply

  • Cover Letter addressing the requirements detailed above;
  • Curriculum Vitae;
  • Research interest statement and list of publications;
  • Three reference letters.

Qualified engineers with extensive relevant experience are invited to apply by submitting an application to one of the ALMA Executives. Applications must be written in English and include: Applicants submitting their application to ESO are invited to apply online at Reference letters should be sent to

Applicants submitting their application to AUI/NRAO are invited to apply online at Reference letters should be sent to Candice Waller at

Applicants submitting their application to NAOJ are invited to send their application and reference letters to

The initial deadline for receipt of applications to be considered for the position is March 25th, 2018. However, applications will continue to be accepted until the position is filled.

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