Advert. no. 2023_0025
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. 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 ESO La Silla Paranal Observatory seeks a replacement for an International Staff Member position of


Senior Engineer/ Senior Scientist – APEX Station Manager

Sequitor, San Pedro de Atacama

Vacancy closed on 30/05/2023

Deadline 30/05/2023

The Atacama Pathfinder Experiment (APEX) is a project led by the Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie (MPIfR). The project is hosted by ESO and APEX operations in Chile have been entrusted to the La Silla Paranal Observatory (LPO) on behalf of the

Director of MPIfR. APEX employs around 10 staff members (engineers, scientists, and support staff) who operate this single-dish, modified ALMA prototype antenna, located on the high-altitude site (5.100m a.s.l.) of Chajnantor near San Pedro de Atacama, Chile.

Main Duties and Responsibilities:

The Station Manager is responsible for the successful execution of the project within budget and schedule and in accordance with MPIfR director decisions. Working closely with the teams from the MPIfR and other external partners involved in the project, the successful candidate will be responsible for the execution of the operations plan. This includes preventive and corrective maintenance of the facilities, as well as managerial logistic and other administrative aspects. The main tasks of the successful candidate will include:

The main tasks of the successful candidate will include:

  • Managing technical and scientific operations and other operational issues of the antenna and its facilities.
  • Implementing overall MPIfR science policies and strategic planning, in line with the operations plan and preparing reports required for the site's successful operations.
  • Participating in and supporting all installations at the telescope.
  • Participating in and supporting commissioning and science verification activities.
  • Implementing and following-up safety issues as defined by the LPO Director.
  • Directing all aspects of the site's facilities ensuring full operability.
  • Managing personnel and budgetary matters, coordinating, and optimizing the use of the manpower available at the site.
  • Regular reporting to the MPIfR Director and liaising with APEX partners and other interlocutors involved in the project.
  • Regular reporting to the LPO Director concerning all department matters.

Reports to:

The La Silla Paranal Observatory Director.

Key Competences and experience:

The position requires the ability to manage, propose and prioritise a variety of operational, technical, logistical, astronomical and practical aspects. S/he must be able to base and justify decisions on technical as well as astronomical judgments. Excellent communication skills and a strong sense of team spirit are essential. Duties are mainly carried out at the Sequitor base (2500m) and the Chajnantor site (5100m). Occasional work at the ESO offices in Santiago (Vitacura) and eventual trips to Bonn, Germany, are also required.

This position requires a comprehensive and in-depth understanding of submilimeter wavelength detector and antenna technology. Also, a thorough understanding of the operations of an astronomical submillimeter wavelength observatory, both from the engineering, scientific and operational point of view is essential.

Experience in the management of collaborative international or inter-agency scientific projects would be an advantage.


University degree in Engineering, Science or equivalent with five years of relevant "in the field" engineering and operation experience in competitive multi-discipline scientific or high technology projects

Language Skills:

The position requires a working knowledge of English. Working knowledge of Spanish or willingness to learn it.

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 until 31 December 2025, which is not renewable, and applicants should be ready to complete the full term. The contract is also subject to successful completion of the probation period. There may be other opportunities to apply for roles at ESO thereafter for which this experience would certainly be beneficial.

For any further information, please visit ESO's conditions of employment (

Duty Station:

The duty station is APEX site (Sequitor near San Pedro de Atacama). The working schedule will be 8 days on duty and 6 days off duty (8x6) with accommodation provided on site, after a short trial period of 5 days on duty and 2 days off (5x2).The position requires regular duty travels to Europe. Place of residence shall be preferably Santiago.

Career Path:



If you are interested in working in areas of frontline technology and in a stimulating international environment, please visit and for further details. 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 30 May 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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