Advert. no. 2023_0011
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.


Within the Legal and Institutional Affairs unit of the Executive Office of the Director General at its Headquarters in Garching near Munich, Germany, ESO is advertising the position of:

Internship: External Relations and Science Policy


Vacancy closed on 28/03/2023

Deadline 28/03/2023

The Legal and Institutional Affairs unit supports the Director General in range of corporate level and policy activities, in particular: forging and maintaining ties with Member States and Host States; negotiating with candidate Member States; managing relations with International Organisations (UN, EU, ESA, CERN, etc.) and key European science policy bodies (ESFRI, EIROforum, etc.); centrally coordinating all aspects of EU grants, and advising on protocol matters.

Through your involvement in various projects, and with our support, you will have the opportunity to understand and learn:

  • About the mission of ESO and the role and responsibilities of the Legal and Institutional Affairs in its implementation;
  • How an international "Big Science" organisation works in practice, and how strategic partnerships and policy issues contribute;
  • How Dark and Quiet skies is developing as a topic of space sustainability.

Specific projects on which the successful intern may support includes, inter alia:

  • Developing ESO's approach with respect to future Member State engagement, supporting the development of a stakeholder engagement strategy and business case, internal coordination amongst ESO units, and organisation of data with respect to future Member State engagement;
  • Supporting ESO's participation in the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) including:

* Preparing statements, positions and reviewing policy documents related to COPUOS;

* Coordinating with other Observer organisations (e.g. IAU, ESA, SKAO) and groups (Long Term Sustainability Working Group, IAWN, SMPAG, advocacy team for the planned International Year of Planetary Defence).

  • Participating in ESO's activities related to the International Astronomical Union Centre for the Protection of the Dark and Quiet Skies from Satellite Constellation Interference (IAU CPS), including:

* Supporting the organisation of the Policy Hub team;

* Contributing to the work plan concerning space policy and regulation, or spectrum management.

The above responsibilities are not exhaustive and a flexible approach and willingness to adapt to unexpected needs is required.

Reports to:

External Relations Officer.


We seek applicants who are keen to gain experience in government relations, space law, and policy affairs in international science organisations.

The ideal candidate would have a strong interest in science policy in astronomy and space sciences, policy and regulation of space activities. No previous work experience is required as on the job training is provided, however, knowledge of contemporary science policy and international space policy issues and prior work experience in government relations would be highly advantageous.

Key Competences and Experience:

  • Strong policy research skills with the ability to conduct literature searches, analyse and synthesise diverse material, identify key issues, and draw evidence-based conclusions;
  • The ability to understand quantitative data and scientific concepts in astronomy and physics;
  • An understanding of how political, legislative and government bodies operate;
  • A highly professional attitude and ability to feel at ease communicating with senior people;
  • Good knowledge of MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Slack, and the Google Suite;
  • Work under time pressure and deliver to agreed deadlines and standards;
  • Work both on your own initiative and as part of a team;
  • Build good collaborative working relationships with people from different cultural backgrounds and disciplines.


A bachelors degree in a political or social science or law topic (especially space policy, space law, telecommunications regulation, and science diplomacy). A Masters degree, or nearing the completion of obtaining this qualification, would be an asset.

Language skills:

Excellent command of written and spoken English is essential. Other European languages would be considered an asset.

Remuneration and Contract:

ESO offers a monthly allowance to cover some living expenses in combination with or without accommodation. For any questions please contact The initial contract is for a fixed term duration of three months with the possibility of a fixed-term extension of an additional three months subject to individual performance and organisational requirements.

Duty Station:

Garching near Munich, Germany.


If you are interested in working in areas of frontline science and 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.

Deadline for applications is 28 March 2023.

Start date: as soon as possible.

Interviews are interviews tentatively scheduled for 30-31 March.

ESO Values:

An important element in any successful employment relationship is harmony in values between an organisation and its people.

The ESO Values are:

ESO strives for excellence through innovation.

ESO provides outstanding services to its communities.

ESO fosters diversity & inclusion.

ESO believes in the key role of sustainability for its future.

Achieving the above are recognized as only possible on the basis of personal values and attitudes that we expect from our employees: respect, integrity, accountability, commitment, collaboration, and clear & open communication.

Applicants to any ESO role are asked to reflect on their affinity with these values and advised they may be asked about them if called for interview.


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, equitable 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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