Advert. no. 2023_0062
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.


For its Office for Science in Garching within the Directorate for Science ESO is advertising the position of

Administrative Assistant


Vacancy closed on 05/01/2024

Deadline 05/01/2024

The Office for Science (OfS) supports, monitors, and evaluates all ESO Garching scientists. The Administrative Assistant will perform administrative tasks required for the support of students, fellows and science visitors, for the organisation of the colloquia, seminars and talk series (including the presentation of information on the Web), and generally supports the Head of the Office for Science Garching and their Deputy in the smooth running of the OfS.

Main Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Support incoming and outgoing post-doctoral fellows, students and interns; coordinate their settling in at ESO Garching (hardware, facilities, information) in cooperation with Human Resources, and act as contact point for bespoke target group;
  • Coordinate, process and settle travel and accommodation requests for fellows and students in coordination with the in-house travel agencies at the headquarters and in Chile and the logistics groups at the various sites;
  • Provide specific administrative support for the Science Visitor Programme, which caters for visits of a duration typically between one and six months. This includes the preparation of the invitations to selected visitors on behalf of the Chair of the Visitor Selection Committee, the management of the office space and hardware, the welcoming, updating the relevant web pages, arranging monthly payments of the visitor's living allowances and processing the final settlement of expenses at the end of the visit;
  • Provide support to all short-term visitors, and the science contact at ESO;
  • Assist with the organisation of events related to fellows, students and visitors (IMPRS workshop, ORIGINS Excellence Cluster, Summer Research Programme);
  • Provide administrative and organisational support to the organisers of the various science talks series (e.g. Lunch Talks, Informal Discussions, Journal Clubs, Munich Joint Colloquia - JAC-series) and to the invited (mostly external) speakers;
  • Provide relevant budget reporting, statistics on request, update of relevant Web pages and documents, and provide input for regular reporting (e.g. Quarterly Report); and
  • Provide input to and maintain the science FTE database provided by the Library, Documentation, and Information Services;
  • Support the Head and the Deputy of the Office for Science with their daily business.

The successful candidate acts as the back-up of the Administrative Assistant already working for the OfS.

Reports to:

Head of Office for Science, Garching.

The successful applicant is expected to work in close contact with:

  • the Human Resource Department;
  • the Office for Science in Chile; and
  • the Director for Science.

Key Competences and Experience:


  • Ability to balance conflicting demands and prioritise workload;
  • Logical thinker with excellent organisational skills;
  • Ability to provide clear, concise and timely oral and written communications to colleagues at all levels and external contacts;
  • Willingness to acquire new skills, keep up-to-date with the tools used in the daily work;
  • Ability to work both on own initiative and within teams in an international and multicultural environment;
  • Strong interpersonal skills, discretion and diplomacy;
  • Solid knowledge of Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Office (MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.).


  • Experience in a similar position providing support to many individuals, preferably in an international scientific working environment;
  • Adapt to new procedures and proactively identify and implement ways to optimise current processes and workflows;
  • The ability to research, analyse, summarise and present information in a clear and logical manner;
  • Result-oriented, pro-active, highly motivated and creative - delivering prompt and efficient service on multiple concurrent projects under tight deadlines.


The successful candidate must have completed secondary school education and have at least five years of relevant working experience.

Language skills:

The position requires fluency in English, both written and oral. Basic knowledge of German and 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 and support to place your child/children in daycare.

Our Salary Structure

ESO's salary structure is based upon a range of career paths which reflect the nature and level of our jobs. Each career path is made up of two or three grades which are used to further reflect experience.

Please follow this attached 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, 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.

Duty Station:

Garching near Munich, Germany

Career Path: II


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.

The closing date for applications is 5 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.

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