Advert. No. 2021_0022
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 Project Management Department (PMD) within the Directorate of Programmes, due to the need for resources associated with the on-going construction in Chile of the ELT Dome and Telescope (Dome & Main Structure (DMS)), ESO is opening the position of

ELT Dome and Main Structure (DMS) Deputy Site Manager


Apply Now

Deadline 30/09/2021

The postholder will be a member of the ESO Project Management Department and will be part of the team in charge of the supervision of the contract for the design, fabrication, transport, erection, commissioning and testing of the protective enclosure ("Dome") and of the telescope structure ("Main Structure") of the ELT at the Armazones site in Chile.

Main Duties and Responsibilities:

The ELT DMS Deputy Site Manager will contribute to the on-site supervision of the activities performed by the DMS contractor company awarded by ESO for the construction, erection, commissioning and testing of the ELT Dome and Main telescope Structure. The DMS Contractor has erected a construction camp on site in 2017 with workshops, dormitories and logistical facilities. Construction of the DMS has started in 2018. Excavations have been completed and civil works are in progress. The design in Europe is well advanced and production in Europe of parts of the DMS has been initiated. Erection on site is planned to start toward the first semester 2022 for the rotating enclosure (Dome), and later for the telescope structure (Main Structure). Delivery of the finished DMS is planned for 2025.

As ELT DMS Deputy Site Manager, the postholder will have the following general responsibilities in monitoring the work of the DMS Contractor:

  • To interface with the DMS Contractor on-site tasked with the construction, erection, commissioning and testing of the ELT Dome and Main Structure, representing the ESO DMS Site Manager and ESO DMS Project Manager at the Armazones site.
  • To monitor the adherence by the DMS Contractor to the Statement of Work in force. The Statement of Work covers all civil works related to the buildings and plants under construction (Dome, Auxiliary Building, Chiller plant), as well as the erection and commissioning of the rotating part of the Dome (enclosure) and of the telescope (Main Structure).
  • To hold regular coordination meetings with the DMS Contractor with formal minutes and follow the agreed actions. Ensure that any agreement reached with the DMS Contractor receives the proper contractual follow-up and written endorsement by ESO Management and ESO Contract and Procurement Department, in accordance with the contractual rules.
  • To verify the correct application by the DMS Contractor of the ESO working procedures and regulations in force, with particular attention to safety regulations.
  • To control and record the works performed on-site by the DMS Contractor in terms of quality and planning. This includes the monitoring of the quality of the work execution and the collection of quality records, supported by other ESO key specialists and/or external Quality Assurance consultant(s).
  • To review, agree or ensure improvements on the completion of the DMS Contractor's work for specific progress milestones, if needed.
  • To perform, participate or organise formal Test Readiness Review associated with the acceptance testing of the DMS. Lead and coordinate the DMS verification and acceptance activities with the DMS Contractor based on an agreed verification plan.
  • To coordinate the works of other ESO Contractors and external visitors on-site, and ensure the avoidance of conflict, as well as the adherence to the Cerro Armazones access policy and the safety procedure in place. This includes visits requested by ESO, and access by ESO personnel and specialists in conjunction with the commissioning and testing of the DMS.

Additional tasks as part of the ELT team will include:

  • Report to and discuss with the ESO DMS Site Manager the course of actions and issues raised, and escalate where appropriate to the ESO DMS Project Manager.
  • To participate, on demand, in the follow-up and the review of the design and manufacturing of the Dome and the Main Structure developed by the DMS Contractor, by taking part (videoconference or in person) in technical meetings and/or formal design reviews. This may include shipment and inspection points.
  • Plan, organise and coordinate the works of other ESO personnel acting on-site for the DMS contract (civil engineer, site safety, erection engineer, electric engineer, testing and commissioning specialists and consultants as well as staff for the assembly, integration, validation (AIV) phase.
  • Participate in and report at regular DMS coordination meetings.

The tasks are not limited to the above and a flexible approach and willingness to adapt is required.

Reports to:

Head of the Project Management Department

The ELT DMS Deputy Site Manager will work with the ESO DMS Site Manager and will replace him during absence. S/He will be working at Cerro Armazones Site in shifts (8/6 days) in counter-turno with the ELT DMS Site Manager, allowing an overlap at the beginning and at the end of each shift.


For this position ESO is seeking an experienced engineer (minimum of ten years) with strong industrial and field experience in the area of large multidisciplinary projects such as telescope constructions, heavy industrial handling systems, civil constructions, power plants or comparable installations and facilities. S/He should have a significant background in construction of mechanical systems and experience in erection, accurate alignments and commissioning of complex systems. S/He should also have a solid experience of the technical and managerial direction of a construction site in a remote area for which inspections and monitoring are keys to the success of the project.

The ideal candidate should have in particular:

  • Minimum of ten years of experience in field management and monitoring of complex and large turnkey projects;
  • A solid experience in supervision of construction of complex systems involving structures, precision mechanisms, heavy liftings, power distribution and civil engineering;
  • A good understanding of civil, structural, mechanical and electrical installation and commissioning of complex systems such as telescopes, plants or similar turnkey projects;
  • A solid experience in supervision of high precision alignments and measurements;
  • Experience on leading complex constructions on sites outside Europe;
  • Ability to understand and manage high level technical and quality requirements, understanding operating procedures and QA processes;
  • Ability to monitoring Contractors using a strict formal contractual frame.

Key Competences:

  • Computer literacy (MS Office Tools);
  • A clear understanding of the human aspects and the safety aspects associated to the running of large construction and erection site;
  • Strong ability to integrate and coordinate multidiscipline and multicultural teams, focusing on the success of the project;
  • Possess the needed flexibility, but also strength and endurance, to work on a remote construction site with local and international staff, with harsh atmospheric conditions and at a high elevation (3000m).


A University Degree in Electrical or Mechanical Engineering, or equivalent.

Language Skills:

  • Excellent English verbal and written communication skills;
  • Good Spanish verbal and written communication skills;
  • Other European languages skills 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.

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 may be a possibility of an extension 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. For any further information, please visit ESO's conditions of employment. 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:

The duty station of the post is located in Chile (Paranal/Armazones). The ELT DMS Deputy Site Manager will work on site in a shift pattern, commuting between her/his place of residence in Chile and the duty station. S/He will be entitled to periodic home leave trips if applicable. Trips to the ESO Headquarters in Garching or elsewhere for work related purposes will be required occasionally.

Career Path: V


If you are interested in working in areas of frontline science and technology and in a stimulating international environment, please visitt 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: 30 September 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, ethnicity or religion.

Contact us