Advert. No. 2019_0001
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 the Atacama Desert region of Chile: La Silla, Paranal and Chajnator. 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.

For its Maintenance, Support and Engineering (MSE) Department at the Paranal Observatory, ESO is inviting students from European and Chilean Universities in their career's last period, to participate in the following programme:

Winter Internship


Vacancy closed on 27/03/2019

Deadline 27/03/2019

The Engineering Department of the Paranal Observatory provides technical support to the four VLT 8-m telescopes, to the VLT Interferometer with its auxiliary telescopes and to all instruments available for scientific observations. The telescopes and instruments are complex systems that involve many advanced technologies and require a high level of engineering support. The MSE Department of Paranal has a total workforce of 80 engineers and technicians distributed in 6 engineering groups.

The project for the winter period of 2019 is the following:

Support to the Information and Knowledge Management (IKM) Program

The La Silla Paranal Observatory is launching a program for Information and Knowledge Management focused at improving current methods, tools and practices. There are multiple needs related to the way we archive information, the multiple and mostly disconnected tools and databases we use, and the way we help staff generating and sharing knowledge.


  • Support the IKM PM to generate a diagnostic of the situation and needs.
  • Develop tools and applications related to effective information search across various databases, information storing and handling in general.

Student Profile

Either a student in Information Technology / Software or a SW/computer engineering student interested in databases and information management, or a student of information/documentation management career with a very strong background in computing and IT.

  • Last year of engineering degree

Required experience:

  • Web technologies (HTML, PHP, AJAX, Javascript)
  • Programing languages (Python, C++) and usage of APIs (e.g. JSON, REST principles)
  • Databases (SQL, noSQL)
  • Indexing/Search engines (Elastic)
  • System design (experience designing a multi node scalable system)

Knowledge on any of the following will be desirable:

  • User experience and interface design
  • UML
  • Automation technology (e.g. Selenium)
  • Identity and access management
  • Autonomy and self-propelled attitude
  • Fluency in English and/or Spanish, both highly desirable.

Duration and Shifts

June - December 2019, with 8/6 shifts or mixed shifts between Santiago and Paranal site.

We Offer

ESO offers a special allowance during the period you are performing your apprenticeship with us; transportation arrangements (plane tickets) from and to Santiago are provided by ESO, with accommodation provided on site. We also cover the cost of an International return trip from/to for students from European universities. The Duty Station is Paranal Observatory, in the II Region, 150km South of Antofagasta.


We invite all students from European and Chilean Universities in their career's last period to apply. The apprenticeship should be supported by the University (Letter should be provided). If you are interested in working in areas of frontline technology and in a stimulating international environment, you are invited to apply online Applications must be completed in English and should include a motivational letter indicating the project you are interested to apply to, and CV.

Closing date for applications is 27 March 2019.

The post is equally open to suitably qualified candidates irrespective of gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, race or religion.

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