Advert. No. 2018_0045
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, which will become "the world's biggest eye on the sky" and whose operations will be fully integrated into the Paranal Observatory.


For its Engineering Group at APEX, Sequitor, ESO is opening an International Staff member position as

Head of Engineering Group

Sequitor, San Pedro de Atacama

Vacancy closed on 03/12/2018

Deadline 03/12/2018

APEX (Atacama Pathfinder Experiment, is a sub-mm telescope operating on Llano de Chajnantor in Chile through a collaboration between the Max-Planck-Institut fìr Radioastronomie in Germany, the Onsala Space Observatory in Sweden and ESO. The site is excellent for sub-mm observations, and the telescope is equipped with a unique suite of heterodyne receivers and continuum detector arrays for astronomical observations at sub-mm wavelengths.

Main Duties and Responsibilities

The successful candidate will lead the engineering team of the APEX project, reports to the APEX Station Manager, and will efficiently support the daily operation of the radio telescope, its subsystems and instruments. S/He also takes responsibilities in improvement of the radio telescope's systems and instruments, including the installation and commissioning of auxiliary equipment supporting operations. The engineering team consists of 12 hardware/software engineers and technicians, including contractors.

As an APEX staff member, she/he will collaborate and give support to external multinational teams coming to install and to operate new equipment. The successful candidate participates in a multidisciplinary team and cooperates in all tasks required for operations. S/He must be willing to accept irregular working times and must be able to work under difficult environmental conditions as tasks are carried out at the antenna site, at an altitude of 5100m.

Reports to

APEX Station Manager.


The qualified candidate must have at least 5 years of experience in the design and operations of complex electronic systems. Experience and in-depth knowledge in at least three of the following areas are required:

  • RF/microwave/sub-mm techniques and instrumentation.
  • Vacuum and cryogenic techniques.
  • Servo drive systems.
  • Industry standard control and monitoring solutions
  • Design and implementation of electrical systems (380/220V)

Key Competences

Engineering skills:

  • Conscientious and structured way of working.
  • Excellent workmanship on electronics installations.
  • Ability to define, organize and lead engineering projects in a success-oriented way.
  • Ability to early identify problems and pro-actively develop ultimate solutions.
  • Competence to analyze and interpret engineering data.

Personal skills:

  • Leadership skills leading a team in a harsh environment (high altitude).
  • Good time management and multi task working.
  • Willingness to learn and deal with new situations and issues.
  • Work under pressure in harsh environment.
  • Continuous personal development.
  • Open attitude to cultural diversity.

Team working skills:

  • Contributes ideas for improvements and developments to the working of the team.
  • Flexible attitude to team roles, sharing of own knowledge, lead others to meet team and organization's goals.

Planning skills:

  • Monitors and reports on team as well as own progress, delivers results to agreed deadlines and standards.


  • We seek a professional with a university degree in electronics engineering or equivalent.
  • A valid driver license is required.
  • A valid medical certificate for work at altitudes of 5000m is required before taking up the position.

Language Skills

The position requires a strong command of English. Knowledge of Spanish or willingness to learn Spanish is 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. 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 organizational requirements, and as defined in the applicable policies and staff rules and regulations. For any further information, please visit

Duty Station

The APEX basecamp near San Pedro de Atacama working in a shift system with 8 days on site and 6 days off.

Career Path



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 Applications must be completed in English and should include a motivation letter and CV.

Closing date for applications is 3 December 2018.

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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