Advert. no. 2024_0028
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.


Due to the need for additional resources for its Mechanical Engineering Department, within the Directorate of Engineering at its Headquarters in Garching, near Munich, Germany, ESO is advertising the position of

Mechanical Engineer / Cryogenics


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Deadline 01/06/2024

This is an excellent opportunity for professionals in the early stages of their career. The successful candidate will work in the ESO matrix structure serving various projects and fulfilling tasks received from engineering stakeholders. The Mechanical Engineer will be part of project teams for designing instrumentation and infrastructure for ESO's telescopes.

For the first three years they will be assigned to the Instruments and Cryogenic Systems Group in the Mechanical Engineering Department at ESO Headquarters (HQ) in Garching supporting ESO's ELT, VLT and IOP programmes in the field of Mechanical and Cryogenic Engineering. After successful completion of the initial three years of service, the Mechanical Engineer will take up duty as VLT / ELT cryogenics engineer in the engineering team at Paranal Observatory in Chile.

Main Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Support ESO's ELT, VLT and IOP (Integrated Operations) programmes for mechanical design, mechanical engineering, cryogenics and vacuum technologies;
  • CAD and mechanical design of instrumentation and telescope cryogenic infrastructure;
  • Support the ELT, VLT and ESO HQ Liquid Nitrogen supply and distribution system projects;
  • Support the VLT cryo-cooler upgrade project in design and implementation;
  • Laboratory testing and optimization of cryo-cooler and Liquid Nitrogen cooling systems;

Reports to:

Head of the Instruments and Cryogenic Systems Group of the Mechanical Engineering Department.

Key Competences and Experience:

Essential Competences and Experience

  • At least three years of experience in mechanical engineering, mechanical design and in commanding a state-of-the-art 3D CAD software;
  • Familiarity with European standards for engineering, draughting and documentation;
  • Good understanding in mechanical systems and mechanisms;
  • Basic understanding of astronomical telescopes and instrumentation;
  • Ability to move to Chile for supporting telescope operations on-site VLT and ELT in the future;

Desirable Competences and Experience

  • Experience in cryogenics and vacuum technologies;
  • Experience in design, testing, installation and operation of Liquid Nitrogen cooling systems;
  • Experience in design and laboratory testing of cryogenic instruments or sub-units;
  • Basic knowledge in functionality and operation of cryo-coolers;
  • Proficiency in using Autodesk Inventor and Vault;
  • Ability to work and fluently communicate within an international organization;


University degree (MSc) in Mechanical Engineering, or equivalent educational level.

Language skills:

Good commanding of the English language - oral, reading and writing - is essential. Knowledge of German and or 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:

The position is based in Garching, Germany. Frequent traveling to construction sites in Chile and to contractor sites in Europe is required. The jobholder will be required to temporarily work at high altitudes above 3000m.

Career Path: V


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 1 June 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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