Advert. no. 2024_0011
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 Directorate of Engineering (DoE) comprises engineers and technicians from all the disciplines required to support the development of the ESO observing facilities. It is organized around functional departments.



The Directorate is seeking the:

Head of the Electronic Engineering Department


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Deadline 10/03/2024

The Electronic Engineering Department is responsible for the definition, design and manufacturing of control electronic and detector systems/subsystems for telescopes and instruments as well for electrical compliance verification for all ESO projects

In this role, you will have line management responsibility for 31 electronic/electrical engineers and technicians as well as detector specialists. Those duties (described below) represent '70% to 80% of a Full time Equivalent. For the rest of the time, you will be involved in one or more ESO projects as an electronic engineer in a function corresponding to your technical expertise.

Main Duties and Responsibilities as Line Manager:

  • Ensure that the competences required to support and lead ESO projects in the electronic engineering domain are available and maintained;
  • Provide line management to staff and, in particular, to the 4 Group Heads of the department and the Deputy Department Head;
  • Lead the resource allocation process for the department, allocating work to the staff as required in consultation with the relevant Project Managers ensuring a balanced distribution of the workload and optimal usage of the human resources;
  • Provide staff members with technical support upon request;
  • Be responsible for the electrical safety organization and operation of scientific instruments or telescope sub-systems built in house or delivered by consortia;
  • Oversee the maintenance of the electronic laboratories and workshops and their allocation to projects and activities;
  • Oversee the development of electronic engineering standards that are applicable to all ESO projects;
  • Manage the budget of the department;
  • Participate in the development and implementation of the DoE long-term strategy. Ensure that the department strategy is in line with the DoE strategy and with the needs of the ESO projects.

Reports to:

Director of Engineering.

Key Competences and Experience:

The successful applicant will have 5 years of working experience as Electrical, Electronics or Control engineer as well as 3 years of line management experience.

Essential Competences and Experience:

  • Relevant experience (minimum 5 years) working as an Electrical/Electronic or Control Engineer in one of the following fields: high speed digital, low noise analogue, PLC, embedded control systems, electronic control system design, development of low noise detector systems or EMC compliance;
  • Proven experience (minimum 3 years) managing functional teams;
  • Desire to combine hands-on work with management responsibilities;
  • Experience working in multi-disciplinary teams;
  • Excellent analytical, problem-solving skills;
  • Ability to manage a high workload, strong organisational/coordination skills;
  • Excellent communication (written and oral), presentation, persuasion and negotiating skills;
  • Ability to develop and maintain strong and effective relationships within the organization;
  • Ability to work in a diverse and multi-cultural environment.

Desirable Competences and Experience:

  • Experience working in a matrix organisation;
  • Understanding of astronomical instrumentation and/or telescopes.


University Degree in Electronic Engineering or equivalent, or full secondary / technical education together with extensive practical experience in the designated field.

Language Skills:

An excellent command of written and spoken English is essential.

Remuneration and Contract:

We offer an attractive remuneration package including a competitive salary, 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 bei M√ľnchen. Within the role, there will be periodic travel to ESO Observatory sites in Chile.

Career Path:



If you are interested in working in exciting frontline science and technology, and in a stimulating and challenging 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 10 March 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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