Advert. no. 2024_0033
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 associated with the ELT programme, for its Control Software and Engineering Department (CSE), within the Directorate of Engineering (DoE) at its Headquarters in Garching, near Munich, Germany, ESO is advertising the position of

Control Engineer/PLC Expert

(2 positions)


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Deadline 23/06/2024

ESO is seeking two suitably qualified control engineers to join the CSE Control Engineering Group in the Directorate of Engineering. The department consists of about 50 software and control engineers who work closely with other departments at ESO and many national and international institutes and industrial consortia to define and develop state-of-the-art research facilities for ESO's observatories in Chile, in particular for the ELT.

Main Duties and Responsibilities

You will be working closely with various ESO project teams and in particular on the ELT programme. The main responsibilities will include:

  • Providing support to ESO projects for the design, analysis, test and optimisation of control systems
  • Providing support to ELT programme during all phases of its life cycle; design, construction, integration, commissioning
  • Design, implementation and commissioning of PLC based control systems
  • Performance tests and verification
  • Follow up of industrial contracts: supporting suppliers on technical aspects, design reviews, PLC code quality checks, functional tests and -simulations, participation to FAT, acceptance tests and onsite commissioning activities.

Reports to

Head of the control engineering group CCEN within CSE department.

Key Competences and Experience

Essential Competences and Experience (both positions)

  • At least 3 years working experience in the area of control engineering, in particular development, analysis, design, implementation and on-site commissioning of PLC based control systems, ideally in an industrial environment
  • PLC knowledge: you are familiar with PLC and HMI/SCADA systems and -programming in at least 3 of the following areas: Siemens S7 TIA Portal, WinCC / WinCC OA, ProfiNet, Beckhoff TwinCAT 3,EtherCAT, OPC UA.
  • Sound engineering background in one or more of the following: Electrical / electronics design, Electrical cabinet design, E-CAD systems, preferably EPLAN.

Desirable Competences and Experience (both positions)

  • Experience with servodrive systems, preferably Sinamics S120
  • Experience in working in international/multicultural teams

Additional essential and desirable competences for Position 1

  • Experience with PLC based safety applications: Siemens Safety Advanced and/or Beckhoff TwinSAFE
  • Hazard analysis, SIL/PL assignment, compliance check, verification and acceptance procedures
  • Familiarity with functional safety applications and the relevant standards IEC 62061 / EN ISO 13894-1

Additional essential and desirable competences for Position 2

  • Experience with HVAC and building automation systems
  • Thermal control, industrial chiller plants, process instrumentation
  • Power distribution systems (LV, UPS, MV)


An advances University degree in electrical-, control engineering or equivalent. A first level University degree in combination with relevant working experience and/or additional technical qualifications will be accepted in lieu of an advanced University degree.

Language skills

The position requires a good working knowledge of English.

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 near Munich, Germany with regular duty trips to suppliers within Europe and ESO sites in Chile. At a later stage, during the ELT assembly, integration and verification phase, also longer duty trips to the ELT construction site in Chile are likely to be needed. If there is an operational need and the staff member is interested, also a temporary transfer to Chile for 1-3 years could be possible.

Career Path

V, which covers three grades.


If you are interested in working in areas of frontline science and technology and in a stimulating international environment, please visit to apply for this vacancy.

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 23 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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