Instrumentation Engineer / Physicist

Bayern, Germany
Sep 15, 2023
Posting live until
Oct 21, 2023

The Systems Engineering Department is responsible for providing Systems Engineering expertise for the development of the future Extremely Large Telescope and its sub-systems. The Department is also responsible for the design and development of advanced optical and infrared instrumentation for the telescopes of ESO’s La Silla-Paranal Observatory and for the ELT. Some of the instruments are developed in-house at ESO, but most are developed and built by consortia of Institutes in the community, with ESO being the customer for these instruments.

We are looking for a highly motivated instrumentation engineer/physicist, with a group-leader role. You will be responsible for the development, integration and verification of astronomical instrumentation from the first concepts, to the final product delivered to and tested at the observatory. With an allocation of 30% of your time, you will also lead the Instrument Systems Group (SINSY), a group of 10 instrument engineers and physicists. You are interested not only in new technical and managerial challenges, but also in developing your interpersonal skills within an international environment.

You will have the following main duties:

As Instrumentation Engineer

  • Work as the ESO Systems Engineer and lead the technical aspects for the follow-up of the external development of optical / near-infrared instruments for the VLT and ELT, or interferometric instruments for the VLTI;
  • Provide support to the Observatory staff for maintenance and problem solving for the delivered instruments;
  • Collaborate with ESO engineers from other projects and departments, to define common approaches and standards for instrumentation projects.

As Group-Head

  • Manage the personnel of the group (recruitment, training, feedback, etc.);
  • Prepare and monitor resource request and allocation for the different activities;
  • Foster and contribute to the further development of Systems Engineering at ESO;
  • Contribute to the harmonization of the development approach for different instruments and programmes.

Reports to

  • The Head of the Systems Engineering Department.


You have at least 5 years of experience in:

  • Development and / or upgrade of Optical / Infrared or Interferometric Instruments;
  • Working in multi-disciplinary and multi-national teams;
  • Working with consortia of scientific institutes.

You have at least 2 years of experience in:

  • Leading and / or coordination of a team, for example as lead engineer.

Key Competences

  • Generate energy, enthusiasm and commitment to ESO’s mission and goals within a pleasant and collaborative climate in the group;
  • Excel at building strong and effective links with other teams from different cultural backgrounds and disciplines, inside and outside of the organization, and be prepared to reach consensus without losing sight of the main goal of the project;
  • Ability to organise your team’s activities and ensure a motivating work environment;
  • Constructively address disagreement and manage conflicts;
  • Demonstrate initiative, pro-activeness, flexibility and good negotiation skills;
  • Apply strategical thinking, taking into account the long-term perspective and anticipating future trends.


A university degree in engineering or physics, engineering or astronomy. Specialisation in the field of astronomical instrumentation and / or long-baseline interferometry and / or system engineering, or equivalent.

Language Skills

ESO is an international organization where the official language is English. The position requires excellent oral and written communication skills in English.


If you are interested in working in areas of frontline 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 21st October 2023.

Interviews are expected to start soon after this date.