Advert. no. 2021_0004
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 European Extremely Large Telescope, which will become "the world's biggest eye on the sky" and whose operations will be fully integrated into the Paranal Observatory.


For its ALMA Regional Centre at its Headquarters in Garching, near Munich, Germany, ESO is advertising the position of

ALMA Regional Centre Astronomer


Vacancy closed on 10/05/2021

Deadline 10/05/2021

The ALMA Regional Centre (ARC) department at ESO provides the interface between the European ALMA Users Community and the ALMA observatory in Chile. Its mission is: To achieve, promote, and provide high-caliber support to the ALMA user community and to ALMA Observatory global operations, including coordinated delivery of software. To provide quality-assured, high-quality data products for PIs and archive users, within target time-windows. To facilitate ALMA science performed by expert and non-expert users alike via coordination of user support.

The ARC is looking for an astronomer with a strong and active research profile in radio or millimetre astronomy. The ARC Astronomer will contribute to core ARC duties, and in particular to those related to the quality assurance of ALMA data delivered to European PIs. The post holder should have a strong interest in maximizing ALMA's science output through conducting expert user support and operations support tasks and contributing to the development of efficient processes and tools.

Main Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Play a key role in the ALMA quality assurance process in Europe by performing both manual and pipeline reduction of interferometric and single dish data, and oversee reprocessing efforts;
  • Perform general ARC duties, including Helpdesk and Phase 2 support;
  • Perform Astronomer-on-Duty shifts in Chile;
  • Proactively propose improvements of existing processes and documentation, and suggest new methods to increase quality and efficiency of ARC services;
  • Contribute to the development of training material for ALMA users;
  • As an astronomer and member of the ESO Astronomy Faculty, you will be expected and encouraged to conduct a strong personal research programme and to participate actively in the scientific life of ESO and interact with other parts of the wider organisation;
  • The tasks are not limited to the above and a flexible approach and willingness to adapt is required.

Reports to:

The post holder reports to the Head of the ALMA Regional Centre (ARC) Department. The ARC is a department of currently 13 people and is part of the ESO ALMA Support Centre (EASC) division.

Key Competences and Experience

Essential Competences and Experience:

  • Several years of active astronomical research at least at postdoctoral level with a solid publication record and continuing research activity in astronomy;
  • Knowledge of astronomical radio/millimetre observing techniques and data analysis;
  • Experience in the use of large observing facilities and an understanding of their operations concepts;
  • Excellent cross-disciplinary communication skills both oral and written;
  • Effective and committed team player with ability to build effective links across different teams;
  • Pro-active approach to contribute ideas for improvement and future developments;
  • Excellent organisational and time-management skills;
  • Flexibility in adapting to changes of requirements and priorities as well as of assignments;
  • Open and friendly attitude to interact with a variety of users.

Desirable Competences and Experience:

  • Familiarity with CASA;
  • Knowledge of single-dish observing and data reduction as well as experience with array combination;
  • Ability to and experience of working efficiently within an international and multi-cultural environment both independently and within a team.


Essential educational level: Ph.D in Astronomy, Physics or equivalent

Language Skills:

The position requires an excellent working knowledge of English.

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 daycare.

ESO aims to support members of personnel in maintaining a good work-life balance ( between their professional and private life. ESO is also committed to offering family-friendly support (, creating a work environment and policies which allow staff to balance their professional and private responsibilities through flexible working arrangements and financial support for families.

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 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 with occasional duty trips to ESO/ALMA sites in Chile.

Career Path: V


If you are interested in working in areas of frontline technology and in a stimulating international environment, please visit and for further details.

Applicants are invited to apply online at Applications must be completed in English and should include a motivation letter, CV containing a publication list and a research statement. Also required are the names and contact details of three referees familiar with your work and willing to provide a reference letter. Referees will be automatically invited to submit their letter, however, applicants are strongly advised to trigger these invitations (using the web application form) well in advance of the application deadline.

Deadline for applications: 10 May 2021

Interviews are expected to start soon after this date.

ESO has established diversity as an important value of the Organisation, is committed to providing an equal opportunities environment and is actively seeking to promote a diverse and inclusive workforce.

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 and the United Kingdom and host state Chile irrespective of gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, race or religion.

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