Advert. No. 2020_0054
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.


For its Paranal Science Operations Department (PSO), in Chile, ESO is opening two Local Staff Member positions of

Data and Quality Control Specialist


Vacancy closed on 29/11/2020

Deadline 29/11/2020

The successful candidate will engage in the processing and analysis of astronomical data for purposes of data quality control and assurance. S/he will work in close collaboration with the astronomers and operators performing and analysing the observations, in the context of a new QC team that is being established within PSO.

The Paranal Science Operations Department (PSO) consists of 60 persons of more than a dozen different nationalities. PSO's mission is the production of high-quality astronomical data. QC data specialists ensure the quality of the data by a) monitoring & maintaining the data processing machinery of ESO's end-to-end data flow system b) investigating and analysing the data obtained using both standard and novel approaches, in the context of PSO's mission.

Main Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Monitor and maintain the data processing workflow
  • Configure and ensure correct functioning of software tools that monitor the data quality and calibration plan completeness
  • Identify and investigate data quality issues (e.g. scientific performance, instrument health)
  • Develop analysis, monitoring and general operational tools for the department, according to expertise and operational needs.
  • Report to and interact with Instrument Scientists on data issues

The above duties are expected to be pursued at the Vitacura offices of ESO. In addition, the successful candidate will

  • Support the day-to-day operations on site in the role of Operation Specialist, at a level compatible with the above listed duties.

This position will be part of a new structure within the PSO department, the QC team. Some flexibility exists regarding the duty distribution.

Reports to:

Department Head as line manager, and QC team coordinator as functional manager.


At least three years of professional experience in data processing and analysis, preferentially of astronomical data and ideally including complex data flows. Documented professional training in data science is an asset.

Key Competences:

We look for highly motivated persons, with good interpersonal skills and ability to work in teams. Interest in scientific work and quality assurance and control is a strong asset.


  • Working knowledge of computer architectures and general IT
  • Working knowledge of standard astronomical data reduction tools
  • Investigating and troubleshooting affinities
  • Proficiency in python
  • Operative knowledge of Linux/Unix


  • Expert knowledge in selected astronomical data analysis and processing tools
  • Ability to review and improve our quality control workflows from a data science point of view


We seek a professional with a university degree (minimum B.Sc.) in data science, software engineering or a superior degree (minimum Master) in a scientific or technical field. Background in astronomy is an asset.

Language Skills:

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.

Remuneration and Contract:

We offer an attractive remuneration package including a competitive salary, comprehensive maternity-parental, educational, and other social benefits, as well as financial help in relocating the candidate's family, where applicable. Please see a summary at

The initial contract is for a period of two years with the possibility of extension, subject to evaluation.

Duty Station:

- ESO offices in Vitacura, Santiago. - Paranal Observatory, near Antofagasta (120 km. South), Chile. Paranal working schedule is a 7-night shift on-site, followed by 7 nights off duty. Accommodation is provided on site.

The fraction of duty time at Paranal Observatory can be up to 50%, but will depend on the candidate's expertise, and the exact setup of his/her functional duties in the context of this new QC team.

Career Path: IV


If you are interested in working in areas of frontline science and technology and in a stimulating international environment, please visit for further details. Non-Chilean applicants to this role must reside in Chile and have a pertinent working permit, according to Chilean regulations, at the time of their application.

ESO is committed to equal opportunities. The post is equally open to suitably qualified candidates irrespective of gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, race or religion.

Applicants are invited to apply online at should include a motivation letter and CV in English. References may be required. Interviews will be held in English.

Deadline for applications is 29 November 2020.

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