Advert. No. 2018_0036
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.


Due to the need for additional resources associated with the ELT programme, for its Control Software and Engineering Department (CSE), within the Directorate of Engineering (DoE) at its Headquarters in Garching, near Munich, Germany, ESO is advertising position of

Control Engineer


Vacancy closed on 17/11/2018

Deadline 17/11/2018

ESO is looking for a suitably qualified Control Engineer to work in CSE's Control Engineering group in the Directorate of Engineering. The department comprises about 40 software and control engineers, who work closely with other departments at ESO as well as many national and international institutes and industrial consortia to define and develop state-of-the-art research facilities for ESO's observatories in Chile, especially for the ELT.

Main Duties and Responsibilities:

You will be working closely with various ESO project teams and in particular on the ELT programme. The main responsibilities will include:

  • Providing support to ESO projects for the design, analysis, test and optimisation of control systems;
  • Providing support to the ELT project during all phases of its life cycle; design, construction, integration, commissioning;
  • Investigating, designing and simulating suitable controller concepts with emphasis on the segmented main mirror control systems of the ELT telescope;
  • Conducting performance tests and verification, in particular for position sensors and actuators with nanometric precision;
  • Follow up of industrial contracts in terms of schedule, content and quality, acceptance tests.

Reports to:

Head of the control engineering group - CCEN within CSE department.

Key Competences and Experience:

Essential Competences and Experience

  • At least three years working experience in the area of control engineering
  • Experience in analysis and implementation of complex or high-accuracy servo-controlled systems;
  • Solid theoretical knowledge of complex control systems, including analysis and implementation of digital servo systems and signal processing;
  • Excellent knowledge of standard numerical simulation tools for complex control systems such as Matlab / Simulink;
  • Sound engineering background in one or more of the following fields: a) systems engineering b) structural mechanics c) optics d) electronics.

Desirable competences and experience, which are not mandatory, but considered an asset:

  • Experience in high-speed data transfer, deterministic network communication and synchronisation of distributed control systems;
  • Experience with implementation of real-time computing on various hardware platforms;
  • Experience in working in international/multicultural teams.


University degree in control engineering or equivalent.

Language Skills:

Excellent command of the English language is essential; a working knowledge of German or Spanish would be an advantage.

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 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, in particular for the ELT Programme, and as defined in the applicable policies and staff rules and regulations. For further information, please view ESO's conditions of employment.

Duty Station:

Garching near Munich, Germany with regular duty trips to all ESO 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 the ESO homepage for further details.

Applicants are invited to apply online via the ESO Recruitment Portal. Applications must be completed in English and should include a motivation letter and CV.

Deadline for applications is 17 November 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, Ireland, 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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