Advert. No. 2020_0008
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. 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 associated with the ELT programme, for its Mechanical Engineering Department, within the Directorate of Engineering at its Headquarters in Garching, near Munich, Germany, ESO is advertising the position of

Mechanical Engineer


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Deadline 05/09/2020

This is an excellent opportunity for professionals in the early stages of their career. As a member of the Directorate of Engineering the successful candidate will work in the ESO matrix structure serving various projects and fulfilling tasks received from Project Managers. S/he will be assigned to the Structural Analysis Group in the Mechanical Engineering Department and support projects, for example the ELT construction in the field of Mechanical Engineering. This includes involvement in many project phases typically consisting of design studies, contract follow-up, AIV and commissioning.

The Mechanical Engineer will be involved in collaborations with mainly European companies and/or consortia for the design and construction of large steel structures and optomechanical subunits of the ELT. Frequent visits to contractors' premises and extended stays or temporary transfer to ESO's observatories in Chile are required to support contracts follow-up, installation and commissioning activities.

Main Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Structural analysis, opto-mechanical support and follow-up of ELT Instruments;
  • General structural analysis support for the organisation;
  • Support ELT AIV for structural analysis (FEM), integration, testing and verification of ELT at system level;
  • Structural analysis of the entire ELT system (combining Main Structure with subsystem models) to cross check and verify system requirements and interaction effects, e.g. error budget, earthquake loads, collisions, stresses.
  • Development and application of dedicated numerical simulation models interfacing with various other engineering fields: models for controller design, estimation of closed loop performance or analysis of control-structure interaction;
  • Generation of conceptual mechanical designs to support system engineering to generate performance budgets as well as system requirements;
  • Follow-up internal and external ESO projects including participation in technical reviews in the areas of mechanical engineering and structural analysis.

Reports to:

Head of the Structural Analysis Group of the Mechanical Engineering Department.

Key Competences and Experience:

Essential Competences and Experience:

  • Minimum three years professional experience with structural and Finite Element Analysis, preferably in ANSYS and Workbench;
  • Experience in measuring deflections and dynamics of structures. Examples would include experience in measuring deflections with a laser tracker, displacement-measuring interferometer or photogrammetry; measuring dynamics of structures with accelerometers or laser Doppler vibrometers; performing experimental modal analysis;
  • Excellent theoretical knowledge of structural mechanics;
  • Good communication skills with strong sense for the team spirit necessary to work in an international team environment;
  • Ability to analyse and resolve problems together with project managers, technical specialists and other stakeholders;
  • Ability to work in parallel for different projects, teams, priorities and within a matrix structure;
  • Willingness to acquire new skills, develop a system understanding, keep up-to-date with the tools used in the daily work.

Desirable Competences and Experience, which are not mandatory, but considered an asset:

  • System Analysis and Engineering knowledge in multidisciplinary fields, like structural mechanics with thermal, optics and control;
  • Sound experience in mechanical design and CAD;
  • Basic knowledge and experience of control systems;
  • Good knowledge of Matlab/Simulink;
  • Basic knowledge in optics;
  • Familiar with European engineering and analysis standards.


University degree (MSc) in Mechanical Engineering or equivalent educational level.

Language Skills:

The position requires an excellent working knowledge of English (written and spoken). German and Spanish would be an asset.

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 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. Please note that the contract policy and in particular the regulations concerning fixed-term and indefinite contracts are currently under review which may lead to changes in the contractual conditions applicable to the position. For any further information, please visit ESO's conditions of employment .

Duty Station:

The position is based in Garching, Germany. Frequent traveling to contractor sites in Europe and to construction sites in Chile is required. The jobholder will be required to work at high altitudes above 3000m. Temporary or permanent transfer or/and long missions to Chile might be needed.

Career Path: V


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. 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.

Deadline for applications is 5 September 2020.

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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