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Santiago | San Pedro de Atacama

  • Organization: ESO - European Southern Observatory
  • Location: Santiago | San Pedro de Atacama
  • Grade: Mid level - Mid level
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Physics and Mathematics
  • Closing Date: Closed

The successful candidate will work in the Operations Performance Group within the JAO Department of Science Operations. The JAO Department of Science Operations (DSO) consists of four groups: the Array Operations Group (AOG), the Program Management Group (PMG), the Array and Operations Performance Group (AOPG), and the Data Management Group (DMG). Overall, DSO is responsible for the project preparation and data collection processes as well as data quality assurance. DSO also leads the planning of improvements to the science operations as well as participates in the Development Program as part of commissioning new capabilities.

The Array and Operations Performance Group is responsible for the definition and optimization of ALMA operations to improve its performance, the design and implementation of long-term observational strategies related to development programs and new capabilities to enhance the observatory capabilities, and provide data science support to DSO. The group currently consists of 5 Operations Astronomers, 6 Systems Astronomers, and the Data Science and Analytics Lead. System Astronomers are technical experts working on corrective actions, troubleshooting, and improvement of the Observatory at the system level. Operations astronomers lead critical operations processes and work on the improvement of the Observatory operations.

AOPG Astronomers work closely with the other DSO teams, the ALMA Regional Centers, and the JAO Departments of Computing and Engineering.


The responsibilities of Astronomers at JAO include:

1. Improving the efficiency of ALMA operations.

2. Commissioning new observing modes.

3. Developing, improving, and executing the ALMA calibration plan.

4. Testing of and providing requirements for software tools used for Science Operations.

5. Coordinate the online software validation and testing.

6. Take over the role of Subsystem scientist and lead their development.

7. Provide Array diagnostics and performance trend analysis.

8. Troubleshooting the system.

9. Scheduling and executing observations.

10. Tracking the progress of observing programs.

11. Data processing and quality assurance of ALMA data.

12. Developing documentation needed for science operations as well as the content of the JAO web pages.

13. Conducting technical reviews of ALMA proposals.

The successful candidate's specific responsibilities will take into account their background and expertise, and will be expected and encouraged to conduct astronomical research and/or operations related research in accordance with contractual conditions. Research in areas directed toward the use of ALMA will be strongly encouraged.

Professional Requirements/Qualifications:

Applicants for this position shall fulfill the following requirements:

  • PhD in Astronomy or Physics.
  • At least 3 years of experience after the PhD.
  • Demonstrated experience in millimeter-wavelength observations and calibration (single dish or interferometry).
  • Fluency in the English language (oral and written).
  • Proven track record of scientific research.

The following requirements will be considered an asset:

  • Experience in operating radio interferometers and/or single-dish telescopes.
  • Experience in instrumentation.
  • Experience in data reduction of radio astronomical data (using any of the standard packages GILDAS, AIPS, MIRIAD, CASA, etc)
  • Experience in design, management, and implementation of projects and/or coordination of teams.

Required Competencies:

  • Strong interpersonal communication skills.
  • Ability to work in a multicultural international environment.
  • Ability to work in a multidisciplinary team, including operators, astronomers, and system/software engineers.

Due to travel requirements and work at high altitudes, a successful high-altitude medical check is a necessary condition of employment for this position.

Duty Station / Location of Position & working conditions:

The JAO offices in Santiago and the Operations Support Facility (OSF) near San Pedro de Atacama, Chile. The successful applicant may be required to spend a significant amount of time working at the ALMA sites at OSF (2900m elevation) and occasionally at the Array Operations Site (5000m elevation).

Starting Date:

As soon as possible.


Actual contractual terms will be defined by the selected employer (ESO, AUI/NRAO, or NAOJ).


ALMA International Staff will be recruited as employees of ESO, AUI/NRAO, or NAOJ. Each of these employers offers competitive remuneration packages including a competitive salary as well as comprehensive social benefits, and provides financial support in relocating families. Furthermore, if applicable, an expatriation allowance as well as some other allowances will be added.

Application process & contracts:

ALMA International Staff Members will be engaged to work at the JAO through one of the Executives: ESO, AUI/NRAO, or NAOJ. Candidates should apply through the Recruitment Portal of any ALMA Executive (ESO, AUI/NRAO, NAOJ). Once the selection process is completed, each ALMA Executive will send a contract offer to the successful candidate, who needs to confirm which offer will decide to take.

Each application should be written in English and must include:

  • Motivational cover letter;
  • Curriculum Vitae;
  • Three reference letters.

Applicants submitting their application to ESO are invited to apply online at "".

Applicants submitting their application to AUI/NRAO are invited to apply online at "".

Applicants submitting their application to NAOJ are invited to send their application and reference letters to "".

Deadline for receipt of applications to be considered is 14 June, 2024.

For further information please consult (, as well as the ESO (, NRAO (, and/or NAOJ ( Home Pages.

ESO, NRAO, and NAOJ are equal Opportunity Employers. The post is equally open to suitably qualified female and male applicants.

ALMA Values:

An important element in any successful employment relationship is harmony in values between an organization and its people.

The ALMA Values are:


Respect and Diversity



Applicants to any ALMA role are asked to reflect on their affinity with these values and advised they may be asked about them if called for interview.


ALMA has established diversity as an important value of the Organization, is committed to providing an equal opportunities environment, and is actively seeking to promote a diverse, equitable, and inclusive workforce, irrespective of gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, or religion.

This vacancy is now closed.
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