Advert. No. 2018_0037
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 Mechanical Engineering Department, within the Directorate of Engineering at its Headquarters in Garching, near Munich, Germany, ESO is advertising the position of

Mechanical Engineer

Design Development


Vacancy closed on 17/11/2018

Deadline 17/11/2018

As a member of the Directorate of Engineering the jobholder will work in the ESO matrix structure serving various projects and fulfilling tasks received from Project Managers. S/he will be assigned to the Telescope and Large Structures Group in the Mechanical Engineering Department and support projects like the ELT construction in the field of Mechanical Engineering. This includes involvement in many phases of projects like follow-up of procurement contracts, manufacturing, integration, performance verification, acceptance and commissioning activities. The Mechanical Engineer will be involved in collaborations with mainly European companies and/or consortia for the design and construction of large steel structures and optomechanical subunits of the ELT. Frequent visits to contractors' premises and extended stays or temporary transfer to ESO's observatories in Chile are required to support contracts follow-up, installation and commissioning activities.

Main Duties and Responsibilities:

Follow-up procurement of Optomechanical Subsystems in Europe and prepare for their on-site AIV, including

  • Develop design solutions for ELT subsystems at least to conceptual level, e.g. handling tools, auxiliary equipment and lifting devices for large optomechanical components;
  • Develop design solutions and support contractors with high precision mechanisms;
  • Check interfaces between subsystems (e.g. between telescope and dome or between telescope and instruments) using CAD data provided by contractors;
  • Support the generation of CAD models by combining models received from subsystem contractors;
  • Follow-up of manufacturing, integration and commissioning of large structures like the ELT telescope;
  • Work in the ELT on-site team and support erection, testing and commissioning phases;
  • Follow-up ESO subsystem projects developed internally and/or by external contractors;
  • Participate in technical reviews and progress meetings with contractors;
  • Represent ESO in acceptance reviews at contractor's premises;
  • Technical responsibility for work packages and contracts can be assigned;
  • Perform risk assessments according to Machinery Directives and ISO standard norms.

Reports to:

Head of the Telescope and Large Structures Group of the Mechanical Engineering Department.

Key Competences and Experience:

Essential Competences and Experience

  • Candidates shall have a solid experience in machinery design and high precision mechanisms. S/he shall be familiar with modern manufacturing technologies and their limitations;
  • In order to execute or supervise QA processes or tests s/he shall be conversant with modern measuring methods and tools;
  • Good knowledge of design processes is required to coordinate engineering drafting and contribute to the production of engineering documentation;
  • Excellent communication skills with a strong sense for team spirit are required to work in an international team environment. The ability to analyse and resolve problems with project managers, technical specialists and other stakeholders are also essential;
  • The candidate shall be able to work in parallel for different projects, with different teams and within a matrix structure;
  • Mechanical Engineer with several years of experience in machinery design or design of large precision structures;
  • Excellent working experience with a state-of-the-art 3D CAD system is required;
  • Basic knowledge of Finite Element Analysis program is necessary to communicate efficiently with colleagues working in such areas.
  • Willingness to acquire new skills, develop a system understanding, keep up-to-date with the tools used in the daily work;

Desirable Competences and Experience, which are not mandatory, but considered an asset

  • Basic knowledge of business and legal processes in large international construction contracts would be an advantage in order to represent ESO at contractor premises and on the construction site;
  • Industrial experience in the areas of machinery design or design of large precision structure would be an asset;
  • Field experience of AIV would be an advantage;
  • Good knowledge of CAD related software and processes used in ESO, like Inventor, VAULT, Revit, Navisworks and BIM would be an asset;
  • Experience with modern manufacturing technologies, their limitations and with modern measuring methods and tools would be an advantage;
  • S/he should have a sound background in structural engineering and should be familiar with European design and construction standards;
  • Ability to work both on your own initiative and as part of a team.


University degree in Mechanical Engineering.

Language Skills:

The position requires an excellent working knowledge of English (written and spoken). German and Spanish would be an asset.

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:

The position is based in Garching, Germany. Frequent traveling to contractor sites in Europe and to construction sites in Chile is required. The jobholder may be required to work at high altitudes above 3000m. Temporary transfer or/and long missions to Chile might be needed.

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. 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.

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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