Advert. No. 2020_0059
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 Organization 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 APEX Telescope operations, for its Engineering Department, within the Directorate of La Silla Paranal Observatory (LPO), ESO is advertising the position of:

Electronics Engineer

Sequitor, San Pedro de Atacama

Vacancy closed on 10/12/2020

Deadline 10/12/2020

The successful candidate will be part of the engineering team of the APEX Telescope (Atacama Pathfinder Experiment, a submillimetre-wave telescope located in the high Andes, She/He will support the effective and flawless operation of the APEX sub-mm wavelength telescope, its subsystems, and the installed instruments. Therefore, she/he will also develop new subsystems to improve the reliability and operation of the observatory (Hardware and its associated Software).

Main Duties and Responsibilities:

She/He is responsible for maintenance and performance improvement of the radio telescope's electro- and opto-mechanical systems and its instrumentation. This also includes the installation and commissioning of systems or subsystems, support to configuration changes in instrumentation, and support to the daily operation of the telescope. As an APEX staff member, she/he will collaborate and give support to external multinational teams coming to install and test new equipment. The successful candidate will participate in a multidisciplinary team and cooperate in all tasks required for the normal operation of a radio telescope.

She/He must be able to work under difficult environmental and physically challenging conditions as tasks are developed at the site, at 5100m altitude. The tasks and activities include, but are not limited to:

  • Operation, maintenance, support and improvements of the APEX systems including: Control, HVAC/Cooling, Cryogenics, Instruments, Holography, Communication, Servers, Software and Power systems.
  • Procurement of consumables and tools. Keeping track of purchases, related stock and inventory maintaining good communication with the contract and procurement areas.
  • Creating and updating technical documentation including reports, diagrams, schematics and designs.
  • Proposing and enacting improvements to health and safety measures.
  • Acting as 'Engineer-on-duty' and 'High-site engineer' as required.
  • Transporting or moving equipment related to operations.

Reports to:

APEX Head of Engineering


At least ten years of professional experience in electrical/electronic engineering, including significant proven experience in the field of astronomical systems operation. Experience of working in a methodological and rigorous way. In depth experience of, and analytical skills in effective trouble-shooting and high level maintenance of complex systems are also required.

Key Competences and skills:

We look for highly motivated persons, with good interpersonal and communication skills and the ability to work in teams as well as independently. Demonstrated interest in scientific work and quality assurance and control is a strong asset.


  • Electronics: Signal digitization, data acquisition, PLC operation, PCB design and assembly, analysis and simulation of circuits.
  • Cryogenics: Vacuum and Cryogenics techniques, Cryogenic technologies and safety applied to Cryogenic system operation and maintenance.
  • HVAC/Cooling: Understanding of physical process of thermal control, basic functionalities of HVAC systems, setup and operation of HVAC systems.
  • Power distribution: Design, implementation and maintenance of power distribution and electrical installations for 1-phase and 3-phase systems.
  • UPS: Setup, operation, maintenance and troubleshooting.
  • Willingness to learn and contribute ideas for improvements and developments to the working processes of the team.
  • Ability to organize and deliver small projects.
  • Ability to work under pressure.
  • A flexible attitude to team roles and willingness to share own knowledge, experience and skills to enable others to meet team and organization's goals.
  • Able to motivate other team members and support their progress.
  • Monitors progress of own work and delivers results to agreed deadlines and standards.
  • Is able to effectively plan maintenance and troubleshooting tasks.


  • Knowledge of the operation of MW/sub-mm instrumentation.
  • Inventory control for spare parts.
  • Use of ticketing systems for issue tracking and reporting.


We seek a professional with a university degree in Electrical/Electronics Engineering. Driving licence is required with the willingness to drive on rough mountain roads.

Language Skills:

ESO is an international organization where the official language is English. The candidate must have a good working knowledge 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 contract is for a fixed period of two years.

Duty Station:

The position is based at the APEX Sequitor basecamp, near to San Pedro de Atacama. The successful candidate must be able to perform work also at the high site of Chajnantor at 5.100 m a.s.l. The working schedule will be 8 days on duty and 6 days off duty (8x6) with accommodation provided on site, after a short trial period of 5 days on duty and 2 days off (5x2).

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 must include a motivation letter in English and CV in English. References may be required. Interviews will be held in English.

Deadline for applications is 10 December 2020.

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