Advert. no. 2023_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 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, 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.


The Office of the Director General at ESO is opening the position of



Vacancy closed on 02/01/2024

Deadline 02/01/2024

The Ombuds shall provide independent and confidential assistance to the informal resolution of work-related inter-personal disputes. The Ombuds shall serve all members of personnel of ESO and all staff working at the Joint ALMA Observatory (JAO) in Chile. In addition, any person working at or on behalf of ESO has access to the Ombuds, if it is compatible with the individual status and employment relationship of the person concerned. The Ombuds shall identify and assess any broad systemic issues within the Organisation and shall give reports on them to the Director General (or to the ALMA Director in the case of JAO) along with recommendations to improve the policies, procedures, systems, and structures, without breaching the strict confidentiality. The Ombuds will have free and unrestricted access to the ESO Council President, with whom they will meet no less than once per year to report any systemic issues.

Main Duties and Responsibilities:

Following these principles, the activities and functions to be undertaken by the Ombuds at ESO will include:

  • Listen to and understand issues as reported by individuals while remaining neutral with respect to the facts.
  • Assist in reframing issues and developing and helping individuals evaluate options.
  • Guide or coach individuals to deal directly with other parties, including the use of formal resolution resources of the organisation, in which the Ombuds shall not be involved.
  • Refer individuals to appropriate resolution resources.
  • Assist in bringing issues to formal resolution channels.
  • Facilitate informal resolution processes; help to resolve issues between parties through various types of informal mediation.
  • Identify new issues and opportunities for systemic change for the Organisation; prepare yearly reports on the activities of the Ombuds.
  • Conduct activities at ESO and JAO with the aim of raising awareness of the services provided by the Ombuds and provide training for managers and employees in conflict resolution skills and related topics.
  • Provide ongoing training and guidance to employees who support the ESO's Respectful Workplace Policy (in the role of Respectful Workplace Advisors) in order for them to perform their duties.
  • Consult with managers to develop cooperative strategies for complaint resolution.
  • Understand the ESO and JAO policies as well as other services available to staff in order to advise them adequately.
  • Make appropriate recommendations for policies and practices that would reduce or eliminate recurring grievances.
  • Demonstrate the ESO values in their daily activities and perform the tasks according to standards and ethics of the International Ombuds role principles.
  • Whenever appropriate, provide staff with referrals to other services such as the Employee Assistance Programme, the medical service, Human Resources.
  • Other duties that fall within the International Ombuds Association Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics.

Reports to:

The Ombuds will have a direct line of communication to but will not report to the ESO Director General (or to the ALMA Director in the case of JAO) or any other party within or external to the organisation.

Key Competences and Experience:

Essential Competences and Experience

  • Extensive previous experience in similar positions in international environments.
  • Skills in problem solving and mediation. Ability to intervene in interpersonal and group problems, bringing people together.
  • Ability to work and communicate with individuals in personal crises and in confrontational situations with empathy and compassion. Capacity to remain respectful of others in all situations.
  • Excellent networking skills, to build and maintain collaboration channels with all areas of the organization.
  • Capacity to maintain integrity, confidentiality and remain neutral on each case.
  • Multicultural view and open minded. Ability to work and communicate effectively in an international environment, interacting and collaborating with people from different backgrounds and cultures.
  • Ability to interact and communicate with all levels at the organisation.
  • Excellent interviewing and active listening skills and ability to ask questions and facilitate others to understand the context, finding facts and feelings in their situations.
  • Ability to analyse and gather information and to exercise independent judgment.
  • Good understanding of decision-making processes and ability to help others to understand their options to handle their situations.

Desirable competences and experience

  • Ability to conduct training when needed and to make presentations taking the audience into consideration.
  • Good writing skills and preparation of reports.


  • University degree preferentially in psychology, social work, human resources or equivalent. Other degrees can also be considered provided solid experience is demonstrated.
  • Memberships to International Ombuds Association would be considered an asset.

Language skills:

The position requires full fluency in both English and Spanish (written and oral).

Remuneration and Contract information:

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 where applicable.

Our Salary and career structure

ESO's salary structure is based upon a range of career paths which reflect the nature and level of our roles. Each career path is made up of two or three grades which are used to further reflect experience and performance. The role of Ombuds is in Career Path V/ VI. Please follow this link for more details

ESO aims to support its 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 up to two extensions to the contract (for a total possible period of service of 9 years) subject to individual performance and organizational requirements. Upon completion of the service as Ombuds, the postholder shall separate from ESO and shall not be eligible for other employment with the Organisation.

For any further information, please visit ESO's

Duty Station:

Santiago, Chile with frequent visits to the various observatories in Chile. A minimum duration of three months per year is to be spent at the ESO headquarters in 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. 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 2 January 2024.

Interviews are expected to start soon after this date.

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.

Please visit for further details:


No nationality is in principle excluded from employment at ESO, however, recruitment preference will be given to nationals of our Member States, host states and strategic partners: 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.

Contact us