Advert. no. 2024_0036
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 APEX), 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, the largest astronomical project in existence. And 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.


Within the Executive Office of the Director-General (ODG-X) at its Headquarters in Garching near Munich, Germany, ESO is advertising the position of:

Institutional Affairs Officer


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Deadline 17/08/2024

The Legal and Institutional Affairs unit within the ODG-X supports the Director General in a range of corporate, legal and policy activities, in particular: forging and maintaining ties with Member States, Host States and Partners; supporting negotiations with prospective Member States; managing relations with intergovernmental organisations (UN, EU, ESA, CERN, SKA, etc.) and key European science policy bodies (ESFRI, EIROforum, etc.); and advising on protocol matters.

The Institutional Affairs Officer supports the Head of Legal and Institutional Affairs in the relations with governments of ESO Member States, Host States and Partners, prospective Member States and key international partners.

Main Duties and Responsibilities

Working in the Legal and Institutional Affairs unit, you will report to the Head of Legal and Institutional Affairs. Your main tasks will include to:

  • Provide assistance to the Head of Legal and Institutional Affairs and the Director General in writing papers, summary documents, correspondence, presentations and speeches, as appropriate;
  • Conduct research and carrying out analysis with a view to improving coordination and enhancing relations between Member States, Host States, Partners, prospective Member States, and key international organisations;
  • Organise and participate in meetings with government officials and representatives, prepare summary reports of meetings and conferences, compile organisational data and contribute to analyses concerning Member States' interactions with ESO;
  • Liaise with relevant ESO internal stakeholders to enhance coordination with regard to institutional affairs, particularly with respect to maintaining an updated database of key facts and figures for each Member State;
  • Assist the Head of Legal and Institutional Affairs in all the activities connected with the coordination of ESO's participation in EIROforum;
  • Support ESO institutional affairs activities, including implementing detailed strategy execution, and coordinating meetings and preparing minutes;
  • Represent, as requested, ESO at relevant events in Member States, non-Member States and at intergovernmental organisations, for example, acting as ESO's point of contact for Dark and Quiet Skies policy matters at the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space.
  • Coordinate the corporate relations with the European Commission, advise ESO Management about EU science policies and relations with the European Strategy Forum for Research Infrastructures (ESFRI), and coordinate with the ESO Directorate of Administration concerning EU grant implications of such policies;

The duties for this position are not limited to the above and a flexible approach together with a strong capacity to adapt is essential. International travel will be required for this post.

Reports to:

Head of Legal and Institutional Affairs.

Key Competences and Experience

Essential Competences and Experience:

  • At least five years of experience in the field of science diplomacy or international relations in a scientific setting, preferably in an intergovernmental organisation;
  • Ability to understand technical and scientific aspects of complex research infrastructures;
  • Diplomatic skills and discretion, with the ability to support senior leadership with high level negotiations;
  • A highly professional attitude and ability to feel at ease communicating with senior people including senior diplomatic and governmental officials, and the ability to present to and intervene in international/governmental fora;
  • Provide clear, concise and timely oral and written communications, identify key issues, examine options and propose a way forward;
  • Ability to build strong collaborative working relationships with people from different cultural backgrounds and disciplines;
  • Capability to work for different projects, also in parallel and under pressure while remaining calm;
  • Flexibility in adapting to changes of requirements and priorities as well as of assignments;
  • Monitor progress of own work and deliver to agreed deadlines and standards.

Desirable Competences and Experience:

  • Ability to understand technical and scientific aspects of astronomy.


University degree in science and technology (preferably), international relations, European affairs, or equivalent.

Language Skills:

The position requires a perfect fluency of the English language. Working knowledge of other languages, in particular German and/or Spanish would be an asset.

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 the 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 is 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:

ESO Headquarters at Garching, near Munich, Germany.

Career Path: IV


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.

Closing date for applications is 17 August 2024.

Interviews are expected to be held soon afterwards.

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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