Advert. No. 2018_0023
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.


The Office of the Director General at ESO is opening the position of



Vacancy closed on 31/08/2018

Deadline 31/08/2018

The Ombuds shall provide independent and confidential assistance to the informal resolution of work-related inter-personal disputes. The Ombuds shall serve all members of personnel of ESO. In addition, any person working at or on behalf of ESO has access to the Ombuds, if it is compatible with the individual status and employment relationship of the person concerned.

The Ombuds shall identify and assess any broad systemic issues within the Organisation, and shall give reports on them to the Director General along with recommendations to improve the policies, procedures, systems, and structures, without breaching the strict confidentiality.

Main Duties and Responsibilities

Following these principles, the activities and functions to be undertaken by the Ombuds at ESO will include:

  • Listen to and understand issues as reported by individuals while remaining neutral with respect to the facts.
  • Assist in reframing issues and developing and helping individuals evaluate options.
  • Guide or coach individuals to deal directly with other parties, including the use of formal resolution resources of the organisation, in which the Ombuds shall not be involved.
  • Refer individuals to appropriate resolution resources.
  • Assist in bringing issues to formal resolution channels.
  • Facilitate informal resolution processes; help to resolve issues between parties through various types of informal mediation.
  • Identify new issues and opportunities for systemic change for the Organisation; prepare yearly reports on the activities of the Ombuds.
  • Conduct activities at ESO with the aim of raising awareness of the services provided by the Ombuds and provide training for managers and employees in conflict resolution, negotiation skills and related topics.
  • Consult with managers to develop cooperative strategies for complaint resolution.
  • Make appropriate recommendations for policies and practices that would reduce or eliminate recurring grievances.

Reports to:

The Ombuds will have a direct line of communication to but will not report to the Director General or any other party within or external to the organisation.


Extensive previous experience in similar positions in international environments.

Key Competences:

  • Skills in problem solving and mediation. Ability to intervene in interpersonal and group problems, bringing people together.
  • Ability to work and communicate with individuals in personal crises and in confrontational situations with empathy and compassion. Capacity to remain respectful of others in all situations.
  • Capacity to maintain integrity, confidentiality and remain neutral on each case.
  • Multicultural view and open minded. Ability to work and communicate effectively in an international environment, interacting and collaborating with people from different backgrounds and cultures.
  • Ability to interact and communicate with all levels at the organisation.
  • Interviewing skills. Active listening skills and ability to ask questions and facilitate others to understand the context, finding facts and feelings in their situations.
  • Ability to analyse and gather information and to exercise independent judgment.
  • Good understanding of decision-making processes and ability to help others to understand their options to handle their situations.
  • Ability to conduct training when needed and to make presentations taking the audience into consideration.
  • Good writing skills and preparation of reports.


University degree preferentially in psychology, social work, human resources or equivalent. Other degrees can also be considered provided solid experience is demonstrated.

Language Skills:

The position requires full fluency in both English and Spanish (written and oral).

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.

The contract is for a fixed term duration of five years (non-renewable), and is subject to successful completion of the probation period. Upon completion of the service as Ombuds, the postholder shall separate from ESO and shall not be eligible for other employment with the Organisation.

Duty Station:

Santiago, Chile with frequent visits to the various observatories in Chile. A minimum duration of three months per year is to be spent at the ESO headquarters in Garching near Munich, Germany.

Career Path: V


If you are interested in working in areas of frontline science and 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. Within your CV, please provide the names and contact details of three persons familiar with your work and willing to provide a recommendation letter upon request. Referees will not be contacted without your prior consent.

Closing date for applications is 31 August 2018

Interviews are expected to be held soon afterwards.

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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