Advert. no. 2023_0057
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, telescopes and instruments enabling astronomers to make important scientific discoveries. ESO operates three unique world-class observing sites in northern Chile: La Silla, Paranal (home to the VLT), Chajnantor (home to ALMA), and Armazones (home of the future 39-meter-diameter Extremely Large Telescope).


The ESO Headquarters are situated in Garching near Munich, within the campus of the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and several Max-Planck institutes, all together forming an active research centre that boasts one of the highest concentrations of astronomers in Europe.


A strong Research & Development (R&D) programme is at the core of ESO's activities. Therefore, we are looking for dynamic young individuals ready to take an active part in ESO R&D projects and willing to enhance their early career:

Engineering Fellows


Vacancy closed on 30/11/2023

Deadline 30/11/2023

ESO fellows are post-doctorate researchers or young professional with a PhD-equivalent experience in industrial development projects. ESO is offering you the possibility:

  • To develop your personal R&D ideas in the frame of astronomical instrumentation, infrastructure and data processing, in close interaction with ESO senior scientists and engineers, as long as it fits into ESO R&D programme;
  • To use ESO infrastructure, laboratories and telescopes to feed and further your research;
  • To interact through ESO with the scientific community and the high-technology industries developing new instrumentation and infrastructure for our observatories;
  • To participate, as part of your duties, to ESO ambitious projects and operations. These duties represent 50% of the fellow's working time the other 50% being reserved for your personal research.

More information about the various areas in which ESO is active in Research & Development as well as about the engineering fellowship programme can be found at:

Main Duties and Responsibilities:

As an ESO engineering fellow you have to execute your own research plan within the timeframe of the fellowship (up to 3 years at 50% working time). Your subject should be in the frame of ESO R&D interests such that we can provide you with the necessary support in terms of infrastructure. Do not hesitate to contact us in advance to check the feasibility of your research plan.

The 50% of duties will be chosen as a function of your profile and interests. They could in some cases be an extension of your personal research plan or in other cases open you to new domains and activities.

Key Competences and Experience:

  • Creativity to come with new ideas,
  • Autonomy to progress in their development,
  • Organisation to structure your work,
  • Team spirit to benefit from and contribute to ESO R&D environment,
  • Good communication capabilities to spread the results of your efforts,
  • Curiosity & eagerness to learn.


University degree in sciences (MSc) or engineering (MEng). Experience in R&D equivalent to a PhD in astronomical instrumentation, infrastructure or data processing.

Language skills:

The position requires a working knowledge of English, written and oral.

Remuneration and Contract:

We offer an attractive remuneration package including a competitive salary and allowances, comprehensive social benefits, and we provide financial support for relocating families and support to place children in daycare.

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 first term of one year, renewable up to a total of three years. 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 possible duty trips to the observatories in Chile


Candidates are asked to apply online ( and to include the following material:

  • a cover/motivation letter;
  • a curriculum vitae with an outline of your technical/practical experience and a list of publications;
  • a description of your original research project (maximum of three pages), with a work plan, a timeline, the requested starting date and the duration;
  • the names and contact details of three persons familiar with your scientific work and willing to provide a recommendation letter. Referees will be contacted by the board if needed during the recruitment process.

Deadline for applications is November 30th, 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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