Advert. no. 2023_0045
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.


ESO is in the course of merging the two previously independent facilities and logistics departments at the Garching Headquarters and the Santiago Vitacura Campus into one single Facility Management and Logistics Department and is looking for a successful candidate to lead the new department as

Head of the Facilities and Logistics Department


Vacancy closed on 08/10/2023

Deadline 08/10/2023

As the Head of the Facilities and Logistics Department, you will be based at the Headquarters in Garching near Munich (Germany) and lead a team of 13 staff members located in Garching and Santiago/Chile. The department is responsible for implementing an effective Facility Management program to maintain facilities in optimal condition. The department strives to achieve this through sustainable and cost-effective solutions while delivering efficient service and high-quality advice. It ensures that general maintenance services for buildings and infrastructure are maintained at the appropriate level and is also responsible for construction activities at the Garching and Santiago sites. Furthermore, the department is in charge of organising the logistics activities of the Organisation which - in the current construction phase of the ELT - includes a significant amount of shipments from Europe to Chile.

Main Duties and Responsibilities

  • Providing oversight of Facilities Management functions at ESO Headquarters in Garching and the Vitacura Campus in Santiago, which involves managing building activities, infrastructure operations, and maintenance.
  • Administering the department's budget by planning, assessing project needs, determining budget allocations, and ensuring adequacy of funding.
  • Planning and overseeing all construction work activities, and serving as the point of contact for external planners.
  • Managing the oversight of external contractor services, which encompass technical maintenance, cleaning, reception, security, janitorial support, gardening, catering, logistics, and transport activities.
  • Leading and managing the Facility and Logistics Department and its staff, including training and development initiatives.
  • Allocating work to staff members as required, ensuring a balanced distribution of the workload and optimal utilisation of resources.
  • By fulfilling these responsibilities, you will effectively maintain the facilities, provide efficient services, and offer valuable guidance while managing a competent team in multiple locations.

Reports to:

Director of Administration.

Key Competences and Experience:

The ideal candidate for this role should possess the following minimum qualifications and essential competences and experience:

  • Extensive experience in the field of Facility Management (min. five years), specifically with a background as a Civil Engineer. This experience should showcase a comprehensive understanding of managing facilities and infrastructure effectively, demonstrating a strong understanding of standard Facility Management processes and procedures.
  • Proven track record (min. five years) in successfully leading and managing functional teams. This includes the ability to motivate and guide team members towards achieving common goals.
  • Desire and ability to balance hands-on work with management responsibilities. The candidate should be comfortable getting involved in practical tasks while also overseeing the strategic aspects of facility management.
  • Excellent analytical and problem-solving skills, enabling the candidate to identify and resolve complex issues related to facility management effectively.
  • Strong organisational and coordination skills to manage a high workload efficiently. The candidate should have the ability to prioritise tasks, allocate resources effectively, and ensure smooth workflows within the department.
  • Ability to make informed evaluations, recommendations, and decisions considering technical considerations, budgetary constraints, and organisational requirements.
  • Excellent communication skills, both written and verbal, along with exceptional presentation, persuasion, and negotiation abilities.
  • Proven ability to build and maintain strong and effective relationships within the Organisation. This includes collaborating with colleagues, stakeholders, and external partners to achieve shared objectives.
  • Demonstrated capability to work in diverse and multicultural environments, showcasing adaptability, respect, and effective collaboration with individuals from different cultural backgrounds.

By possessing these competencies and experiences, the candidate will be well-equipped to lead the Facilities and Logistics Department successfully. They will be able to ensure the effective management of facilities, provide high-quality service, and contribute to the organization's overall success.

The following desirable competences and experience would also be an asset for this role:

  • Experience in the creation and implementation of best practice logistics vision, strategy, policies, processes and procedures to aid and improve operational performance.
  • Knowledge of working in a logistics and transportation function with a comprehensive knowledge of logistics processes and procedures would be advantageous.


University degree in any engineering discipline (e.g. Civil Engineering) or equivalent discipline.

Language Skills:

An excellent command of the English and German language - oral, reading and writing - is essential. A working knowledge of 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.

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 Head of the Facilities and Logistics Department is in Career Path V. Please follow this link for more details

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.

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 regular duty trips to Chile.


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 8 October 2023.

We have scheduled the initial interviews for the second half of October 2023.


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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