Advert. No. 2021_0042
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. 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, and in the frame of 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) Site Manager


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Deadline 18/11/2021

The selected candidate will be assigned to the Dome and Main Structure team in charge of the management of the contract for the design, fabrication, transport, erection, commissioning and testing in Chile of the protective enclosure ("Dome") and of the telescope structure ("Main Structure") of the ELT, known as DMS, at the Armazones site in Chile.

Main Duties and Responsibilities:

The DMS Site manager will supervise on site the activities of the Contractor awarded by ESO the construction erection, commissioning and testing of the ELT Dome and Main Structure. The Contractor started its activities on site in 2017 with the preparation of the site camp and the related workshops and facilities, while construction started in 2018 with civil works that will be followed by the erection of the rotating dome (Dome) and of the steel structure (Main Structure) of the telescope. Delivery of the finished DMS is planned for 2025. During an initial ramp-up period there may be an extended stay at the Garching (Germany) headquarters, in order to get acquainted with the DMS technical specificities and get to work with the DMS Project Manager to develop the needed relationship and processes to run the site.

As DMS Site Manager, the selected candidate will have the following general responsibilities in monitoring the work of the DMS Contractor:

  • Verify the correct application by the Contractor of the ESO working procedures and regulations in force. This will include the aspects of safety on site with the associated ESO and Contractor's specific safety rules and manuals.
  • Monitor the advancement of the work by the Contractor in terms of planning.
  • Monitor the quality of the work execution and the collection of quality records (construction, alignment, start-up, verification.), with the help of other ESO key specialists and/or external quality consultant(s).
  • Review, agree or demand improvements on the completion of Contractor works for specific progress milestones.
  • Interface with the Contractor on site. This shall take place not only as a day to day informal interaction, but also through the appropriate level of formality: via e-mail, letters, etc. Specifically, they shall ensure that any agreement reached with the Contractor representatives on site gets the proper contractual follow-up and written endorsement by the ESO DMS PM and ESO Contracts & Procurement, in respect of the Contract in force.
  • Perform regular coordination meetings with the Contractor and establish minutes of meeting. Ensure that the Contractor timely implements the action items generated during the meetings and any other action related to its obligations stemming from the contract or regulations and rules in force.
  • Lead and coordinate the DMS verification and acceptance activities with the Contractor.
  • Coordinate the work of other ESO contractors on site when their presence may be needed toward the end of the DMS construction contract and ensure the avoidance of conflicts.
  • Plan, organize and coordinate the work of other ESO personnel for the DMS contract (civil engineer, site safety, erection engineer, testing & commissioning specialists, consultants...) acting on site.
  • Occasionally take part in Reviews at ESO or at Contractors (design review, shipment reviews..) in Europe or elsewhere outside Chile, as needed.
  • Closely and regularly report to and discuss the course of action with the DMS Project Manager, reporting status, advancement, and issues which may have arisen.
  • For future on-site consultancy contracts: prepare relevant documents (e.g. SoW) with Contracts & Procurement and subsequently monitor performance of such contractors.
  • Coordinate and supervise the works performed on site by ESO personnel or contractors intervening on site on behalf of ESO.

The DMS Site Manager will be supported with an on-site team composed of various experts in Civil Work, Mechanical and Electrical engineering as well as the needed administrative support to carry out the daily activities. In addition, consultancy contracts are in place to complement the team with any additional skills that may be needed during the construction activities. During the acceptance activities, the Site manager will be supported by commissioning and acceptance engineers who have followed the complete design and construction phases.

Reports to:

Head of the Project Management Department

The DMS Site Manager will be working at Cerro Armazones Site in shifts (e.g., 8/6 days) in counter-turno with the DMS Deputy Site Manager, allowing an overlap at the beginning and at the end of each shift. At the project level they will report to the ELT DMS project manager in Garching.


A University Degree in Electrical or Mechanical Engineering, or equivalent; PMP desirable.


We seek an experienced senior engineer with strong industrial and field experience in the area of large multidisciplinary projects, like large telescopes, or such as power plants or other comparable facilities. They should have a sound background in design and construction of mechanical systems and experience in the erection, the alignment and the commissioning of complex systems. They should have experience on the technical and managerial direction of a construction site in a remote area for which logistics, planning, inspection and monitoring play an important role in the final success of the project. The ideal candidate should have in particular:

  • A solid engineering experience in the design of large complex systems involving structures, precision mechanics, electronics, power distribution, and possibly civil engineering.
  • Good understanding of the civil, structural, mechanical, electrical installation and commissioning of complex systems, like telescopes, plants, or similar turn-key projects.
  • At least 10 years of experience in the management and administration or follow-up of complex and large turn-key projects, including technical, schedule and managerial follow-up, with considerable experience on leading or directing of construction sites outside of Europe.
  • Experience and understanding of operating procedures and client/contractor relations associated to formal contractual matters.
  • A clear understanding of the logistic, the human aspects and the safety needs associated to the running of a large constructions and erection site.
  • Be familiar with modern verification technologies in order to understand the QA processes which will be employed during construction, erection and commissioning.

Key Competences:

  • Willingness to relocate to Chile
  • Computer literacy (Word processing, MS office tools.).
  • Ability to motivate and lead personnel
  • Possess the needed flexibility, but also strength and stamina, to work on a remote construction site with local and international staff, with challenging atmospheric conditions and at a high elevation (3000m).
  • Ability to adapt and to work in remote places.

Language Skills:

  • Excellent English verbal and written communication skills;
  • Good Spanish verbal and written communication skills;
  • Other European languages skills (e.g. Italian, German) 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 dependent child/children in daycare. 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 organizational requirements, and as defined in the applicable policies and staff rules and regulations. For any further information, please visit

Duty Station:

The duty station of the post is located in Chile (Paranal/Armazones). The DMS Site Manager will work on site in a shift system commuting with their residence in Chile. They will be entitled to periodic home leave trips if applicable. Trips to ESO headquarters or elsewhere outside Chile for work related purposes will be required occasionally.

Career Path: VI

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

Closing date for applications is 18.11.2021.

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

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