Advert. no. 2019_0048
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 facilities 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 projects 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 associated with the ELT programme, for its ELT Programme Office, within the Directorate of Programmes at its Headquarters in Garching, near Munich, Germany, ESO is advertising the position of

ELT Programme Office Support (Programme Control & Quality Assurance)


Vacancy closed on 14/12/2019

Deadline 14/12/2019

This is an excellent opportunity for professionals who have experience in project control and/or quality assurance activities within construction projects and who wish to play a key role in a large international project. The role is foreseen to support the ELT Programme Controller and the Quality Assurance Manager of the ELT in providing continuous assistance to the execution of various tasks falling under their respective responsibility.

Main Duties and Responsibilities

As Assistant to the Programme Controller:

  • Assist in the preparation of the ELT programmatic status reports (financial and schedule). This includes inter alia quarterly reports, six-month reports, financial and schedule monthly status reports, ensuring timely approval of those documents as required;
  • Help ensuring that the ELT Programme Control procedures and working practises are followed and that the associated tools and databases are kept up-to-date;
  • Identify new topics for cross-site (Garching-Chile) programme control coordination and propose specific actions for harmonization and coordination;
  • Interact with the ELT Programme team as well as with other teams in the Organisation in order to plan, facilitate and stimulate the exchange of information, ensuring a coherent implementation of procedures and processes, taking into account the two site locations of the Programme;
  • Prepare presentation material using various office software tools;
  • Prepare minutes of internal management meetings, integrating various inputs, and maintain consolidated action item lists for the Programme, tracking actions until they are completed in accordance with the established procedures;
  • Support the coordination and organisation of Programme-level internal and external meetings and reviews;
  • Support the peer review of the ELT Programme's accounting information to identify and resolve inaccuracies or imbalances via an ERP system;
  • Participate in preparation for audits.

As Assistant to the ELT Quality Manager:

  • Maintain and manage QA records such as Non Conformances (NC), Requests for Deviation (RfD), Request for Waiver (RfW), etc.;
  • Maintain the logistics overview of the ELT shipments;
  • Help to ensure that the quality assurance procedures are properly applied, documented and up-to-date;
  • Help to ensure that deliveries from suppliers are properly recorded and documented;
  • Help to ensure maintenance information is available from suppliers in the agreed format;
  • Assist, participate, or conduct internal audits in close liaison with the QA Manager;
  • Review and prepare for approval by QA management, technical documents related to manufacturing, assembly, testing, commissioning and acceptance;
  • Support the regular analysis of data from previous quarters to map out fluctuations and changes.

The main duties for this position is not limited to the above and a flexible approach and willingness to adapt is essential. A desire to develop RAM (Reliability Availability Maintenance) and quality assurance expertise is both welcomed and encouraged.

Reports to:

The Programme Controller of the ESO Extremely Large Telescope

Key Competences and Experience

Essential Competences and Experience:

  • At least three years of working experience with exposure to project control and/or quality assurance, preferably in the context of large high-tech projects;
  • Good knowledge of financial processes (budgeting, financial closure, earn value management and reporting, etc.);
  • Knowledge and general understanding of quality assurance and quality control aspects;
  • Proficient Microsoft Office skills (especially excel);
  • Solid knowledge of ERP (Enterprises Resources Planning) and project planning/scheduling tools;
  • Understanding of data analysis and forecasting;
  • High level of attention to detail and ability to quickly and effectively identify apparent flaws;
  • Ability to monitor progress of own work, to plan activities, to work under pressure and to deliver to agreed deadlines and standards;
  • Familiarity with scheduling/planning tools such as Open Plan, MS Project, etc.

Desirable Competences and Experience:

  • Strong multi-tasking and organizational skills with ability to prioritize own activities;
  • Effective oral and written communication skills;
  • Ability to rapidly understand and adapt to ESO specific context and environment including ESO Matrix structure;
  • Familiarity with ticketing tools such as Atlassian JIRA;
  • Experience as user of Microsoft Dynamics NAV, Deltek Open Plan (or equivalent planning/scheduling tool) and Atlassian JIRA would be an asset.


A High School diploma or General Educational Development degree is required. Additional qualifications, such as an academic degree in the areas of project management/control and Quality Assurance are desirable.

Language Skills:

A very good command of the English language - oral, reading and writing is essential and a 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 daycare.

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 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 at

Duty Station:

ESO Headquarters at Garching, near Munich.

Career Path: IV


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

Applicants are invited to apply online at 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 extended to 14 December 2019.

Interviews are expected to be held soon afterwards.

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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