Advert. no. 2019_0067
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 (CTA), 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 Paranal Logistics and Facilities Department with the Directorate of Operations, ESO is advertising the position of


Senior Administrator, Head of Paranal Logistics and Facilities Department


Vacancy closed on 07/02/2020

Deadline 07/02/2020

The Paranal Observatory in northern Chile is one of the largest facilities used in ground-based astronomy. Numerous telescopes are operated at the Observatory. The observing facilities are embedded in a complex site infrastructure to support the scientific and technical operation of the Observatory. The Observatory is operated by a team of more than 160 scientific, technical and administrative staff supported by external service providers. The Paranal Logistics and Facilities Department ensures that the transportation, accommodation and provisioning of the Observatory are compatible with the operational requirements. The department further ensures that general maintenance services for the buildings and non-engineering infrastructure and the security services are at the appropriate level. The department will play a key role in supporting the common infrastructure for the VLT, ELT and CTA and support the complex logistics of the different projects.

Main Duties and Responsibilities:

The selected candidate will perform the following duties:

  • Support the Observatory Director providing guidance and strategic advice in planning and establishing the general policy, scope and standards of professional performance of the Observatory.
  • Responsible for oversight of facilities management functions at Paranal Observatory, which encompass building and infrastructure operation and maintenance.
  • Responsible for the oversight of the hospitality facilities at Paranal Observatory, which includes catering, accommodation, cleaning, and hotel management.
  • Responsible to administer the commuting to and from Paranal Observatory, including flights, shuttle buses, and taxis.
  • Responsible for department budget, including the management of large service and construction contracts.
  • Management of the Logistics and Facilities Department and its staff, including training, development and mentoring.
  • Lead the development of the department to comply with multi-site operational requirements.

Reports to:

The selected candidate is member of the Observatory Management team and reports to the Director of the La Silla Paranal Observatory within the ESO Directorate of Operations.

Key Competences:

  • Actively supports and promotes changes as an opportunity for development for self and the Organisation.
  • Ability to implement changes of the Observatory strategy in the department and with the staff.
  • Constructive approach in addressing disagreements and conflict management.
  • Efficient and structured task management providing duly deliveries of results to the required standards.
  • Pro-activeness in resource management as necessary and in-line with budget.
  • Creative strategy development within the Observatory management team.
  • Excellent leadership skills required for a remote site operation with own and contracted staff.
  • Ability to implement clear management principles, defining performance standards to staff with regular and constructive feedback to the team.
  • Substantial experience in performance management of staff.
  • Cultural competence to promote diversity as a value in a multi-international workplace.
  • Identifies, plans and effectively manages the financial and human resources needed to achieve results.
  • Creativeness to build and implement synergies inside and outside the Observatory ensuring that resources are used optimally, cost effectively and transparently.


We are seeking a leader with senior administration and management experience. The selected candidate should have at least ten years of experience and a proven track record in the management of business operations preferably in an international scientific or technical environment.

The selected candidate will have:

  • Extensive knowledge of management principles, practices, methods and techniques.
  • Extensive practical knowledge of budgeting processes and computer applications for administrative information systems.
  • Experience in facilities operations and preferably at remote sites.
  • Experience in management of large external service contracts.


Bachelor's degree in Business Management or related field. An advanced degree is highly desirable.

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. Knowledge of Spanish is not mandatory, but willingness to learn is important.

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. 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:

The position will be based at the Paranal Observatory in Chile. The working system is typically 5 days on duty and 2 days off (5x2) with accommodation provided on site. The final shift scheme will be agreed upon depending on the operational requirements. Place of residence shall be either Santiago or Antofagasta.

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.

Deadline for applications is 7 February 2020.

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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