Advert. No. 2020_0051
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..


Engineering & Technology Research Studentship 2021


Vacancy closed on 13/12/2020

Deadline 13/12/2020

The European Organisation for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere has as its primary mission to build and operate state-of-the-art facilities for the advancement of astronomical research. A strong Research & Development (R&D) programme is therefore at the core of ESO's activities.

What are we looking for?

Dynamic individuals, ready to take an active part in the ESO R&D projects with a good deal of team spirit, curiosity and eagerness to learn while bringing innovative ideas to the table.

What are we offering?

  • An engineering PhD Studentship of 1 to 3 years.
  • An international, multi-disciplinary environment, situated on the Garching science campus close to Munich, Germany, next to the best German universities and world-renowned research centres.
  • Working in collaboration with ESO's partner institutes and high-tech industries in the ESO member states.
  • Three observatories at the forefront of ground-based astronomy and of technology: La Silla, Paranal and ALMA. And one of the most challenging telescopes under construction: the Extremely Large Telescope.
  • An attractive remuneration package and support for relocating families.

Current ESO active R&D projects:

  • Advanced visible and infrared detectors for astronomical instrumentation (modelling, testing, development of CMOS fast detectors, curved detectors...);
  • Gigahertz receivers, cryogenic first-stage amplifiers for ALMA (development & testing);
  • Adaptive optics and related components including laser guide stars, deformable mirrors, wavefront sensing, tomographic techniques, interactions with segmented mirrors...;
  • System simulation and modelling including deformable mirrors, telescope seeing effects, exposure time calculators, instruments, model-based system engineering;
  • Optical metrology and photonics for (sub-)micrometric large structure characterisation, interferometry;
  • Mechanics and cryogenics;
  • Real-time computing.

For more details, examples of research projects and list of PhD subjects see the following


If you are interested in enhancing your early career through an ESO Studentship, then please apply via our

Include the following documents in your application:

  • A motivation letter including why you wish to join one of the proposed subject projects (maximum one page);
  • A curriculum vitae with a list of publications, if any, and including an outline of your technical/practical experience and the names and contact details of three persons familiar with your research and/or engineering work and willing to provide a recommendation letter;
  • an outline of how you plan to develop the PhD project (maximum of two pages), with a timeline, the requested starting date and duration attached to your CV;
  • a letter from the formal supervisor at your home institute agreeing with the project plan, guaranteeing financial support (salary, health insurance, travel money) for the part of the PhD done at the home institute (if the studentship is requested for less than 3 years) and/or indicating that you (will soon) fulfil the pre-requisites for a PhD programme in that institute.

The closing date for applications is 13 December 2020.

The PhD studentship is expected to begin in the first half of 2021.

For any additional questions please contact: Francoise Delplancke-Ströbele, Tel. +49 89 3200 65 10, email:

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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