Advert. No. 2018_0038
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


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 work within the Telescope and Large Structures Group in the Mechanical Engineering Department. The first assignments will be to follow-up the manufacturing and to support the Assembly, Integration and Verification (AIV) activities of the optomechanical subsystems of the Extremely Large Telescope (ELT). This also includes their direct involvement in the verification, acceptance and commissioning activities that will occur at the Paranal Observatory and on Cerro Armazones. S/he will be involved in collaborations with mainly European companies and/or consortia for the optomechanical subunits of the ELT. Frequent visits to contractors' premises and extended stays or temporary transfer to ESO's observatories in Chile are a mandatory part of the job to support contracts follow-up and AIV activities.

Main Duties and Responsibilities:

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

  • Follow-up manufacturing, assembly and verification of large optomechanical subsystems: a) Participate in project and contract reviews; b) Participate in technical meetings with contractors; c) Represent ESO in acceptance reviews at the contractor's premises;
  • Support the planning and preparation of the on-site AIV activities for large optomechanical subsystems;
  • Take part in the contractors' training for on-site AIV for ELT optomechanical subsystems, both in Europe and at the Paranal Observatory/Cerro Armazones;
  • Support the planning and implementation of the AIV activities on the ELT M1 Test Facility at ESO Headquarters. Recommend design changes and develop the final on-site AIV procedures based on experience with this test facility;
  • Be an integral part of the ESO AIV team, supporting erection, alignment, testing and commissioning activities at Paranal Observatory and Cerro Armazones.

Reports to:

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

Key Competences and Experience:

Essential Competences and Experience

  • Good knowledge of design processes is required to coordinate engineering drafting and contribute to the production of engineering documentation;
  • The candidate shall be able to work in parallel for different projects, with different teams and within a matrix structure, on her/his own initiative and as part of a team;
  • Flexibility to travel within Europe and to move to the Paranal Observatory for extended stays and/or on a temporary transfer is key to this position;
  • 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;
  • Mechanical Engineer with a few years hands-on working experience in the areas of assembly, integration, verification and commissioning of very delicate mechanical or optomechanical units;
  • Good working experience with a state of the art 3D CAD system is required.
  • 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 and field experience in the area of large precision structures 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;
  • Good knowledge of CAD related software and processes used in ESO, like Inventor, VAULT, Revit, Navisworks and BIM would be an asset;
  • Basic knowledge of Finite Element Analysis would be an asset.


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 may be 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 travelling to contractor sites all around the world and to construction sites in Chile is required. The jobholder is required to work at high altitudes above 3000m, where passing a high altitude medical examination is compulsory. Temporary transfer and/or 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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