Advert. no. 2018_0010
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 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 ALMA Regional Centre at the Headquarters in Garching near Munich, Germany, ESO is opening the position of

ALMA Regional Centre Scientist


Vacancy closed on 30/04/2018

Deadline 30/04/2018

The ALMA Regional Centre (ARC) department at ESO provides the interface between the European ALMA Users Community and the ALMA observatory in Chile. In collaboration with a network of ALMA Regional Centre nodes distributed throughout Europe, the ARC supports European ALMA users with the preparation of ALMA proposals and provides post-observation user support. Furthermore, it is involved in the operations of ALMA, helps building tools for users and the observatory, etc. The ARC, together with the Joint ALMA Observatory in Chile and the network of ARC nodes is also responsible for performing quality assurance on ALMA data for PIs from ESO member states. This quality assurance procedure consists of calibration, imaging, and packaging the data for delivery, and is currently a combination of manual and pipeline processing. The ARC is looking for a scientist to help with core ARC duties, and in particular with the quality assurance procedure and participate in the commissioning of the ALMA data reduction pipeline.

Main Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Execute the pipeline as part of quality assurance and check pipeline products;
  • Carry out manual calibration and imaging of 'non-standard' modes;
  • Provide scientific input into further development of the pipeline and quality assurance procedures;
  • General ARC duties, including Helpdesk staffing, astronomer-on-duty shifts in Chile, etc;
  • Conduct astronomical research for up to 20% of the time;
  • The tasks are not limited to the above and a flexible approach and willingness to adapt are required.

Reports to:

The post holder reports to the Head of the ALMA Regional Centre (ARC) Department. The ARC is a department of currently 14 people and is part of the ESO ALMA Support Centre division. The post holder may be requested to take duty trips to the Joint ALMA Office in Santiago, Chile for training and exchanging information. These would be visits of typically two weeks to one month.


We seek an astronomer or physicist with some experience in the analysis of astronomical data, not necessarily radio data, and understanding of the concepts of handling data/projects of large observatories. Basic experience with using the Linux or Mac OSX shell and standard networking tools is required.

Key Competences:

  • Knowledge of astronomical data analysis;
  • Being able to use project tracking and problem reporting software tools;
  • Precise communication and documentation skills;
  • Effective and committed team player;
  • Excellent organisational and time-management skills;
  • Flexibility in adapting to changes of requirements and priorities as well as of assignments.


A PhD degree in physics, astronomy, or engineering or a related field, or relevant experience after a Master's degree.

Language Skills:

The position requires an excellent working knowledge of English.

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 and the possibility to place your child/children in daycare.

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

Duty Station:

Garching near Munich, Germany with occasional duty trips to ESO/ALMA sites in Chile.

Career Path: V


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.

Also required are the names and contact details of three referees familiar with your work and willing to provide a reference letter. Referees will be automatically invited to submit their letter, however, applicants are strongly advised to trigger these invitations (using the web application form) well in advance of the application deadline.

Closing date for applications is 30.04.2018

Interviews are expected to start soon after this date.

No nationality is in principle excluded however, recruitment preference will be given to nationals of Australia, Austria, Belgium, 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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