Advert. no. 2021_0050
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 06/02/2022

Deadline 06/02/2022

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:

1. To achieve, promote, and provide high-caliber support to the ALMA user community and to ALMA observatory global operations, including coordinated delivery of software.

2. To provide quality-assured, high-quality data products for principal investigators and archive users, within target time-windows.

3. To facilitate ALMA science performed by expert and non-expert users alike via coordination of user support.

The ARC department is looking for an astronomer with a strong research profile in radio or millimetre astronomy. You should have a strong interest and demonstrated abilities to maximize ALMA's science output through conducting expert user support and operations support tasks. As the ARC astronomer you will contribute to core ARC duties, in particular to those related to user-facing activities including project tracking, the phase 2 process and quality assurance. In addition, you should demonstrate scientific leadership and vision to conduct high-impact independent research.

Main Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Play a key role in ALMA user-facing activities, including providing scientific guidance into tool development and Phase 2 support.
  • Perform general ARC duties, including answering helpdesk tickets and undertaking 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.
  • Constructively work together with other ARC staff and ALMA operations staff around the globe.
  • 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. This includes the interaction and possible supervision of students and maintaining relations with other parts of the wider organisation. Up to 50% of your time will be available for research activities.
  • 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 highly skilled and motivated staff and is part of the ESO ALMA Support Centre (EASC) division.

Key Competences and Experience

Essential competences and experience:

  • Active astronomical research at least at postdoctoral level with a solid publication record and continuing high-impact research activity in astronomy.
  • Practical experience with astronomical radio/millimetre observing techniques and data analysis and experience in the use of large observing facilities and an understanding of their operations concepts.
  • Excellent communication skills both oral and written.
  • Demonstrated ability to work effectively in a team, have an eagerness to contribute to team performance, and a positive approach toward building links across teams in an international multi-cultural environment.
  • Pro-active approach to contribute ideas for improvement and future developments.
  • Flexibility in adapting to changes of requirements and priorities as well as of assignments.
  • Good time-management and prioritisation skills.
  • Open and friendly attitude to interact with a variety of users.


Essential educational level: PhD in Astronomy, Physics or equivalent.

Language Skills:

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.

Apply online at Applications must be completed in English and should include a motivation letter, CV containing a publication list and a research statement. You should also provide 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: 6 February 2022.

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.

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