Advert. no. 2022_0010
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.


Due to the need for additional resources associated with the ELT programme, for its Contracts and Procurement Department, within the Directorate of Administration at its Headquarters in Garching, near Munich, Germany, ESO is advertising the position of

Contract Officer


Vacancy closed on 17/04/2022

Deadline 17/04/2022

Within the Directorate of Administration, the Contracts and Procurement Department is responsible for and executes the procurement process. This is done within the framework of the Organisation's policy for awarding contracts for supplies and services, specified in the Financial Rules and Regulations and in the Procurement Rules and Regulations. You will become part of the contract and procurement team based in Garching. The total team consists of 16 staff.

Main Duties and Responsibilities:

As part of the Contract and Procurement (CP) Department and will be responsible for the management of the entire procurement cycle for a very broad range of goods and services, from items and services of common use for the Headquarters to technical and scientific equipment and services for construction, operation and maintenance of ESO's Observatories. You will work in close collaboration with the Divisions, Departments and Project Teams of ESO HQ to identify and implement the most efficient procurement solutions in compliance with the procurement rules and regulations of the Organisation. In particular you will:

  • Participate as the procurement representative in project teams;
  • Review requests for purchases (including the requirements contained therein), to determine their adequacy and completeness and the appropriate procurement strategy;
  • Identify the suppliers capable of supplying the requested goods and services;
  • Prepare the tendering documentation and coordinate and document the procurement process through evaluation of the tenders, negotiation of the terms and conditions with the bidders and award of the orders/contracts;
  • Prepare documentation for the Organisation's governing bodies with regard to the procurements that you are involved in;
  • Participate in the follow-up of orders/contracts. This includes the participation to the meetings, internal and with the respective contractors, held under major ongoing contracts, and the provision of expert guidance, advice and support regarding any related commercial and contractual matters as required; and
  • Participate, as required, in the development of procedures and practices for procurements within the Organisation. The above responsibilities are not exhaustive and a flexible approach and willingness to adapt to unexpected needs is required.

Reports to:

Head of Contracts and Procurement.


At least five years experience in a procurement role of a similar level of responsibility, of which at least 2 years must be/will have been in a technical environment and all gained preferably in an international setting and/or in public procurement.

Key Competencies:

  • Good consultancy skills including a collaborative attitude, taking initiative, establishing credibility and acting resourcefully;
  • Positive and flexible attitude to explore solutions to problems taking into account the boundaries;
  • Good communication skills, being able to discuss with the user requirements, market conditions and procurement strategies on a tactical level in an efficient and constructive way;
  • Ability to communicate with others on different levels including senior managers;
  • Good negotiation skills, being able to persuade the counterpart to agree on ESO favorable conditions at an operational and tactical level;
  • Ability to understand technical and operational issues at a general level, i.e. why a product or service is needed and what the consequences are if it is not on time and of in the right quality, etc;
  • Ability to anticipate and solve complex problems;
  • Sound judgment to balance the user's needs in relation to the ESO rules and regulations;
  • Good sense of judgment as to when cases need to be discussed with or escalated to a more senior level;
  • Good knowledge of MS Office.


Bachelor of Applied Science degree or equivalent level (proven by experience) in Procurement, Business Management, Business Engineering, Economics or Law.

Language Skills:

Full command of English (written as well as spoken). Knowledge of Spanish 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 daycare.

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 extension(s) 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:

Garching near Munich, Germany with incidental duty trips to all ESO sites in Chile.

Career Path: IV


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.

Deadline for applications is 17 April 2022.

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, race or religion.

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