Advert. no. 2019_0026
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, and will host and operate the southern array of the Cherenkov Telescope Array, the world's largest and most sensitive high energy gamma-ray 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.


For its Department of Communication in the Office of the Director General (ODG) at its Headquarters in Garching, near Munich, Germany, ESO is advertising the position of

Head of the Department of Communication


Vacancy closed on 15/06/2019

Deadline 15/06/2019

The Department of Communication is responsible for providing information about ESO's activities to its own personnel, to the public in the Member States, the Host State of Chile, and beyond. The Department of Communication manages and performs public communication covering the whole range of ESO activities (scientific, technological and corporate) aimed at various target groups, including the media, the public, the ESO user community, industrial partners and decision-makers. The Department of Communication is based partly at the ESO Headquarters in Garching near Munich, Germany, and partly in Santiago de Chile. It coordinates closely with the ESO Supernova in the Directorate for Science for astronomy education and for showcasing selected ESO activities.

We are looking for a communication expert to lead the newly created Department of Communication (DoC) within the ESO ODG. The Department with offices both in Garching (Germany) and Santiago (Chile), is staffed with 15 people with different skills and specialities and manages a number of service contracts. It covers the areas of media relations, corporate communication, audiovisual productions, internal communication, editing of high-level periodical publications, maintenance of the web content for the public, organisation of special events and exhibits, educational visits to the observatories and development of outreach initiatives. In setting the targets and the strategy, the Head of the Department of Communication will work closely with with the Director General, as well as with the Directors Team, the International Relations Team and the Representation in Chile among other entities.

Main Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Formulate the communication strategy for ESO, which encompasses scientific and technical achievements as well as the societal impact of ESO's activities, in particular in its member states and Chile.
  • Be responsible for the execution of the communication activities at ESO according to the communication strategy, including the writing and distribution of publications, press releases, website content, annual reports, periodic publications, presentations, speeches, and other material that communicates the Organisation's activities and their societal benefits.
  • Manage the DoC staff, service contracts and budgets.
  • Manage the interfaces with other organisational units with which the department interacts on a regular basis.
  • Set priorities for the use of shared resources (both people and budgets) inside DoC.
  • Ensure accurate and timely access of ESO staff to organisational information, facilitate internal communication in all directions and support HR and other actors in promoting organisational values.
  • Manage corporate messages, including those of scientific and technical nature, as well as those related to the socio-economic impact of the Organisation.
  • Promote the presence of ESO in the media, especially in Europe and Chile, and be responsible for the branding of the Organisation.
  • Respond to media enquiries, arrange interviews, and act as a spokesperson for the Organisation.

Report to:

ESO Director General.

Key Competences and Experience:


  • Solid and successful experience in communication activities, preferably in the science and technology international environment;
  • Proven successful experience in managing people, in the leadership and engagement of culturally and gender diverse teams and in project oversight;
  • Experience in defining and executing corporate communication strategies;
  • Proven knowledge of communication tools;
  • Experience in developing relations with big media outlets;
  • Excellent communication, written, oral, diplomatic and interpersonal skills.


  • Understanding science policies and the international environment in which ESO works: ESO Member States, Chile and the ESO partners;
  • Experience working with international/multicultural teams;
  • Experience in both internal and external communication, including as spokesperson;
  • Familiarity with astronomical research and infrastructures;
  • Experience in astronomy communication and outreach;
  • Familiarity with the main stakeholders and targets relevant to the ESO environment: staff, scientists, R&D institutions in astronomy, industry, society at large, science policy makers and governments, preferably referred to ESO Member States and Chile.


University degree in Communication, Marketing or Science areas.

Language Skills:

Excellent command of the English language is essential; command of Spanish will be highly valued. Working knowledge of other languages of ESO Member States, especially German, 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 may be a possibility of extension(s) subject to individual performance and organisational requirements and as defined in the applicable policies and staff rules and regulations. For any further information, please visit ESO's conditions of employment.

Duty Station:

Garching near Munich, Germany with regular duty trips to all ESO sites in Chile.

Career Path: VI


If you are interested in working in areas of frontline science and technology and in a stimulating international environment, please visit ESO Home Page for further details.

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

Deadline for applications is 15 June 2019.

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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