Advert. No. 2020_0035
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.


ESO is advertising the position of

Mechanical Technician


Vacancy closed on 15/10/2020

Deadline 15/10/2020

This is an excellent opportunity for professionals in the early stages of his or her career. As a member of the Directorate of Engineering the successful candidate will be assigned to the Instruments and Cryogenic Systems Group in the Mechanical Engineering Department. S/He will support laboratory operations and project work in the ESO matrix structure, for example ELT and VLT projects in the fields of manufacturing, assembly, integration and testing. The Mechanical Technician will be involved in the day-to-day operations of the laboratories under Department responsibility, including the mechanical machine shop. Travelling to contractor sites in Europe and to ESO's observatories in Chile may be required to support installation and commissioning activities. Extended missions and temporary or permanent transfers to ESO sites in Chile are not excluded.

Main Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Support the mechanical machine shop with production and procurement of mechanical parts;
  • Keep the laboratories, facilities and equipment of the Mechanical Department operational and manage the day-to-day laboratory activities;
  • Manage the stock of work equipment, standard parts and commercial off-the-shelf components, for example screws and bolts, cryo-vacuum components, technical gases, safety equipment and tools;
  • Support installations and test campaigns, as well as handling and lifting of sensitive equipment;
  • General support for mechanical engineering acting as link between design and manufacturing.

Reports to:

Head of the Instruments and Cryogenic Systems Group of the Mechanical Engineering Department.

Key Competences and Experience:

Essential Competences and Experience:

  • Qualification and sound experience in working with mechanical cutting machines for production and modification of mechanical parts;
  • Good knowledge in operating manual and CNC controlled 3-axis milling machines, and manual lathe;
  • Familiar with metal working in theory and practice;
  • Practical experience with CAD/CAM software and tools;
  • Ability to read, understand and implement the content of technical drawings;
  • Understanding mechanical dimensions and tolerances;
  • Familiar with standard MS office tools (Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint etc.);
  • Good sense for team spirit necessary to work in an international environment;
  • Ability to discuss and resolve problems together with colleagues and technical specialists;
  • Ability to work in parallel for different projects, teams, priorities and within a matrix structure;
  • Willingness to acquire new skills and keep up-to-date with the tools used in the daily work.

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

  • Good knowledge in operating 5-axis milling machines;
  • Practical experience in welding techniques;
  • Commanding of 3D CAD software systems;
  • Ability to prepare technical drawings;
  • Knowledge in technical norms and standards of bolted connections;
  • Specific provisions for using materials under vacuum and at very low temperature;
  • Familiar with safe handling of cryogenic liquids, for example Liquid Nitrogen.


Education as mechanical technician, industrial mechanic, precision mechanic or equivalent educational level.

Language Skills:

The position requires a good command 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

Duty Station:

The position is based in Garching, Germany. Frequent traveling to contractor sites in Europe and to construction sites in Chile is not excluded. 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: II


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 15.10.2020.

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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