Advert. no. 2023_0024
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.


Within the Office of the Director General at its Headquarters in Garching, near Munich, Germany, ESO is advertising the position of

Legal Advisor - Data Protection Law


Vacancy closed on 18/06/2023

Deadline 18/06/2023

Do you have proven skills and experience in practicing data protection law? We are looking for a Legal Advisor to work in all areas of law, with a special focus on Data Protection and Employment Law with the possibility to develop your existing skills further. In this busy role, you will support the Legal and Institutional Group, working closely with your colleagues from the IT Department, the HR Department and many more units. Your role will be to ensure that ESO's activities have a solid legal framework. If you have a strong understanding of personal data protection and, ideally also in employment law, as well as experience in these fields, we encourage you to apply for this exciting opportunity to be a part of one of the world's leading intergovernmental organisations in astronomy.

Main Duties and Responsibilities

As a member of the Legal and Institutional Affairs Group, which is part of the Executive Office of the Director General, you will provide legally sound, timely, easily applied and consistent advice on the following matters but not limited to:

  • Data protection (personal data protection, data classification, cloud service policy): drafting and negotiation of the respective corporate policies and procedures with involved parties, and ensure compliance with them within the Organization by providing advice and support to other units, and for drafting implementing rules for/with them.
  • Employment law of the Organisation/ International Civil Service Law, including advising the application of the Organisation's regulatory framework relating to administrative and disciplinary measures and entitlements.
  • Several other areas of law which are relevant in the Organisation, as required.

Reports to:

Deputy Head of the Legal and Institutional Affairs Group.

Key Competences and Experience

Essential experience/ skills you should bring to the job:

  • Proven relevant work experience, preferably in an intergovernmental organisation
  • Solid legal know-how, in particular in the area of Personal Data Protection law
  • Demonstrated ability to handle requests from multiple sources and to work effectively across teams
  • Demonstrated ability to find workable solutions consistent with the applicable legal framework
  • Capacity to work under pressure with demonstrated ability to manage a high and complex workload and various project elements simultaneously

Essential competences you should bring to the job:

  • Positive approach and proactive self-starter
  • Capable of working independently as well as collaboratively in diverse teams
  • Ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships at all levels
  • Willingness to keep abreast of new developments in the field of Data Protections and to familiarise with new areas of law, specific to ESO as an intergovernmental organisation
  • Excellent communications skills (written and verbal) and ability to interact at all levels and with cross-functional teams
  • Good presentation skills
  • Good knowledge of MS Office

Desirable skills and competences you should bring to the job:

  • Experience/ knowledge of different legal frameworks, in particular in the employment law of intergovernmental organisations
  • General understanding of technical implementation (IT technologies and tools) of personal data protection processes
  • Experience of working or studying in an international and diverse working environment
  • Good problem-solving and creative skills.


Advanced university degree (Master's or equivalent) from an accredited education institution in Law preferably with specialization in data protection/privacy law, international or public civil servant law or related field. A certification as Data Protection Officer would be an asset.

Language Skills:

An excellent command of the English language - oral, reading and writing - is essential. A knowledge of German or Spanish would be an advantage.

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.

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 may be a possibility of extension(s) subject to individual performance and organisational requirements, 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.

Starting Date:

As soon as possible

Duty Station:

ESO Headquarters in Garching, near Munich, Germany.

Career Path: V


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 18 June 2023.

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.

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