Advert. No. 2020_0029
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 associated with the ELT programme, for its ELT Programme Science Office, within the Directorate for Science at its Headquarters in Garching, near Munich, Germany, ESO is advertising the position of:

Coordinator of ELT Working Groups


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Deadline 04/09/2020

The ELT Programme Science is leading an initiative to bring together ESO, the instrument Consortia and the Community in developing key operational aspects that are needed for the ELT. So far, ESO has identified and created 12 Working Groups (WG) with more than 100 members, covering a variety of topics ranging from star catalogues for telescope and instruments, simulators for ETC, spectro-photometric calibrations, astro-weather, PSF reconstruction, to sky subtraction, etc. The described role is a fixed-term position of maximum three years duration with the main goal of leading this effort within the ELT Programme Science Office.

Main Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Coordinate the overall activities of the various WGs,
  • Liaise with the WG Coordinators, provide them with the necessary support to organise inter-WGs meetings and a framework to exchange of information between WGs;
  • Lead the WG on star catalogues for the ELT and its instruments; and
  • Establish and support the WG on the definition of the new ELT Exposure Time Calculator.

The main duties for this position are not limited to the above and a flexible approach and willingness to adapt is essential.

Reports to:

ELT Programme Scientist

Key Competences and Experience:

Essential Competences and Experience

  • At least 3 years of post-doc experience;
  • Broad knowledge of astronomical observational techniques;
  • Good understanding of the ELT project;
  • Good understanding of the ELT operational concept;
  • Ability to monitor progress of own work, to plan activities, to work under pressure and to deliver to agreed deadlines and standards;
  • Strong multi-tasking and organisational skills with the ability to prioritise own activities; and
  • Strong relationship management and communication skills.

Desirable Competences and Experience

  • Familiarity with the established ELT WGs;
  • Ability to coordinate activities across multiple WGs; and
  • General experience with working in large collaborations.


Essential educational level: Ph.D. in Astronomy or Astrophysics

Language skills:

A very good command of verbal and written English is necessary. Knowledge of other European languages would be a significant asset.

Remuneration and Contract:

We offer an attractive remuneration package including a competitive salary (tax free), comprehensive health insurance, 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 initial contract is for a fixed-term duration of one year with the possibility of a fixed-term extension of two more years 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

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 this position.

Duty Station:

Garching near Munich, Germany

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, a CV and a two-page research plan. Also required are the names and contact details of three reference persons familiar with your work and willing to provide a recommendation letter. Referees will be automatically invited to submit a recommendation letter. However, applicants are strongly advised to trigger these invitations well in advance of the application deadline.

Closing date for applications is 4 September 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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