Advert. No. 2019_0031
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 Maintenance, Support and Engineering Department (MSE), within the Directorate of the La Silla Paranal Observatory, ESO is advertising the position of

Electronics and Electrical Engineer


Vacancy closed on 21/06/2019

Deadline 21/06/2019

The MSE Department of the Paranal Observatory with a workforce of 80 engineers and technicians provides maintenance and technical support to the four 8m VLT telescopes, the VLT Interferometer with its auxiliary telescopes, the VST and VISTA survey telescopes and to all instruments available for scientific observations. Astronomical instruments are large and complex facilities involving advanced technologies in the fields of optics, precision mechanics, electronics, cryogenics, detector acquisition systems and software. The Electronics and Electrical Group is comprised of 16 engineers and technicians and is responsible for all telescope electronics, site electrical distribution and backup power generation, and other miscellaneous systems like the site atmospheric monitoring equipment at the Paranal Observatory.

Main Duties and Responsibilities

For the assigned system(s):

  • Be responsible of all maintenance activities and obsolescence analysis and perform troubleshooting and repair;
  • Ensure the availability and performance according to specification;
  • Propose change requests and implement them once approved (analysis, design, implementation, commissioning, documentation);
  • Interact with the ESO Headquarters experts and with the Support and Quality Assurance group (planning, spare parts, maintenance plan optimization, documentation and quality control);
  • Coordinate and supervise contractor activities in close coordination with the outsourced contract Work Package manager.

Support activities:

  • Participate to the daily troubleshooting and corrective maintenance;
  • Assembly, integration and verification of new systems and ensuring the transfer of knowledge from project to MCO team;
  • Support other groups like Instrumentation and Software in Electronics Engineering;
  • Any critical Observatory activities for which competencies are requested by the manager.

Reports to:

The Electronics and Electrical Group Leader.

Key Competences and Experience:

The ideal candidate should have several years of experience in:

  • Industrial and/or scientific equipment operations and maintenance.
  • A wide range of analogue and digital electronics and electrical applications such as: motion control, servo control, drives (like SEW, Siemens, etc.) and PLC systems (ideally Siemens, Beckhoff, etc.), precision sensors, field bus (like Profibus, Profinet, CANbus, etc.).
  • Experience with some operating systems like Unix, Linux, Windows, Mac OS, also programming language like C++ or Python. Some numerical computing systems like MATLAB or GNU Octave, good level of Office software tools.
  • Solid experience with PLC programming and troubleshooting, Safety PLC, PLC migration projects (ideally Siemens S5 and S7).
  • Management of small projects for electronics upgrades.
  • Experience in telescopes and in a multicultural environment would be an asset.

Essential Competences:

  • Ability to understand the "big picture" and the details of complex systems, their interfaces, and their performance;
  • Ability to troubleshoot and solve problems under difficult working conditions and with tight deadlines;
  • Real interest to learn maintenance and trouble-shooting techniques;
  • Having a fine grasp of practical work, in particular for mechanical assembly;
  • Strong sense of team spirit with the ability to work effectively in a multinational and multicultural environment;
  • Good self-organization;
  • Constructively suggest improvements to work processes;
  • Plan effectively and monitor progress of work, deliver results on time and according to standards.


University degree in electronics engineering or equivalent engineering field.

Language Skills:

As ESO is an international organization where the official language is English, it is required that the candidate has a good command of written and spoken English.

Remuneration and Contract:

We offer an attractive remuneration package including a competitive salary, educational and other social benefits, as well as financial help in relocating your family (if needed). The initial contract is for a period of two years with the possibility of an indefinite extension, subject to evaluation. The title or grade may be subject to change according to qualification and the number of years of experience.

Duty Station:

Paranal Observatory located 120 km south of the city of Antofagasta, Chile. The working schedule will be 8 days on duty and 6 days off duty (8x6) with accommodation provided on site.

Career Path:



If you are interested in working in areas of frontline science and 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 (in English).

Deadline for applications is 21 June 2019

Interviews are expected to start soon after this date.

No nationality is excluded, however non-Chilean applicants must have the pertinent working permit, according to Chilean regulations, at the time of the application. The post is equally open to suitably qualified candidates irrespective of gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, race or religion.

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