Advert. No. 2019_0032
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.


Due to the need for additional resources mainly associated with the ELT programme, for its Electronic Engineering Department, within the Directorate of Engineering at its Headquarters in Garching, near Munich, Germany, ESO is advertising the position of

Electrical Power Engineer


Vacancy closed on 27/07/2019

Deadline 27/07/2019

The Electronic Engineering Department within the Directorate of Engineering comprises of 32 Electronics/Electrical engineers and technicians who are responsible for the definition, design and implementation of complex control systems for advanced optical and infrared astronomical instrumentation and telescope systems required for ESO's Observatories in Chile. You will be responsible as an Electric Power Engineer for support and troubleshooting of the electricity supply and distribution on the ESO Observatories in Chile. This task needs substantial knowledge at medium-voltage, low-voltage level and related International Standards. The ELT, which is in an early state of construction, will need a close follow up of its electric power system during the design and the upcoming construction phase. This requires your capability to understand electric power designs, comment and interact with the contractor, coordinate or execute inspections and acceptance procedures on the electric power system of the ELT.

Main Duties and Responsibilities:

As a member of the Electronic Engineering Department you will work within multi-disciplinary project teams in a collaborative and international environment. Your main responsibilities in view of electric power systems will include:

  • Planning, specification, following-up of the engineering and construction contracts related to electric power systems.
  • Support the preparation for Call for Tender documents, evaluate tenders, participate at design reviews and provide active contract follow-up until the Assembly, Integration, Test and Acceptance of the electric power system is done on side, in Chile .
  • Support the observatory staff on maintenance and problem solving for power systems already in operation.
  • Provide answers on electrical safety of installations and equipment concerning the operation of electrical power systems.
  • Travel to our observatories in Chile to support on power installation and troubleshooting.
  • Standing monitoring of technical and economic aspects of the electricity supply alternatives available for ESO observatories and sites, including a standing verification that the most convenient long-term alternative is being adopted.
  • Keep abreast of new electric power technologies and evaluate the feasibility for ESO's electric power systems in Chile.

Reports to:

Head of the Electrical & Compliance Engineering Group.

Key Competences and Experience:

Essential Competences and Experience are:

  • At least 5 years of professional experience in projects considering design, engineering, construction, testing, operation and maintenance of Electric Power Systems.
  • Expertise covering medium-voltage as well as low-voltage power systems.
  • Knowledge on earthing, bonding and disturbances related to the power grid.
  • Contractual support on procurement processes.

Desirable Competences and Experience:

  • Knowledge in highly reliable Power generating facilities for emergency and safety system applications.
  • Island-mode power generation, operation, maintenance and troubleshooting.
  • Background on EMC and safety verification.
  • Knowledge about lightning protection required for any structures or buildings of ESO.
  • Knowledge about European and other international regulations and norms
  • Hands on Experience in E-PLAN, or similar CAD-tools.


You must have a University degree in Electric Power Engineering.

Language Skills:

You must have an excellent command of English both written and oral. Working knowledge of Spanish 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, in particular for the ELT Programme, 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: V


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. 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.

Closing date for applications is 27 July 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, the United Kingdom and Chile irrespective of gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, race or religion.

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