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Optics Group Leader

Paranal (Chile)

  • Organization: ESO - European Southern Observatory
  • Location: Paranal (Chile)
  • Grade: Senior
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Outer space and satellite technology
    • Physics and Mathematics
  • Closing Date: 2021-10-31

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The successful applicant will be the Leader of the Optics (optical engineering) Group, currently comprised of 6 engineers and 5 technicians and responsible for all telescope optics at the Paranal Observatory, as well as deeply involved in the ELT mirror coating process, part of the Assembly Integration and Verification (AIV) phase of this new telescope.

Main Duties and Responsibilities:

The selected candidate will have the following main duties:

As Optics Group Leader:

  • Manage the personnel of the group (performance evaluation, recruitment, training, etc.)
  • Prepare and monitor resource request (labor and non-labor) and allocation for the different activities and schedule the staff accordingly.
  • Ensure the performance of the group through KPIs.
  • Acts as the safety responsible for the Group.
  • Supports the observatory operation as Chief Operation Engineer (COE) amongst a pool of qualified staff.

As Optics Engineer:

  • Have the technical responsibility of one or more systems:
  • Be responsible of all maintenance activities (corrective and planned) and obsolescence analysis.
  • Ensure the availability of the systems according to specification.
  • Propose and implement change requests (analysis, design, implementation, commissioning, documentation)
  • Interact with the optical engineers at ESO headquarters and with the Support and Quality Assurance group (planning, spare parts, maintenance plan optimization, documentation, and quality control)

Support activities:

  • Execute performance analysis when needed
  • Assembly Integration and Verification of new systems and ensure the transfer of knowledge from project to the dedicated team
  • Any critical Paranal observatory activities for which your competencies are requested by your manager

Reports to:

The Head of the Maintenance, Support and Engineering Department.


The ideal candidate has 5 to 10 years of professional experience in:

  • Management and/or coordination of a team
  • Optical systems maintenance in a continuous operational environment
  • Project and contract management

Key Competences:

The ideal candidate has several of the following competences (technical and soft):

  • Optical thin-film coatings production and maintenance
  • Optical metrology and alignment techniques
  • Advanced optical techniques like active optics, adaptive optics, interferometry
  • Lead with strength and credibility
  • Manage a team in a multinational and multi-cultural environment
  • Coach and supervise technical personnel
  • Constructively suggest improvements to work processes
  • Plan effectively and monitor progress of work, deliver results on time and to standards
  • Constructively address disagreement and manage conflict


University degree in Optics, Physics, or Engineering related to photonics.

Language Skills:

ESO is an international organization where the official language is English. It is required that the candidate has a good command of written and spoken English. Good knowledge of Spanish would be an asset.

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 if needed.

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. 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:

Paranal Observatory located 120 km south of the city of Antofagasta, Chile. The working schedule will be 8 days on duty and 6 days off duty (8x6) with accommodation provided on site, after a probation period with the appropriate shift scheme.

Career Path:



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 should include a motivation letter and CV in English. Interviews will be held in English.

Deadline for applications is 17 October 2021.

Interviews are expected to start soon after this date.

ESO has established diversity as an important value of the Organisation; it is committed to providing an equal opportunities environment and is actively seeking to promote a diverse and inclusive workforce. The post is equally open to suitably qualified candidates irrespective of nationality, gender, age, disability, ethnicity, or religion.

No nationality is in principle excluded; however, recruitment preference will be given to nationals of Australia, Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and Chile.

We do our best to provide you the most accurate info, but closing dates may be wrong on our site. Please check on the recruiting organization's page for the exact info. Candidates are responsible for complying with deadlines and are encouraged to submit applications well ahead.
Before applying, please make sure that you have read the requirements for the position and that you qualify.
Applications from non-qualifying applicants will most likely be discarded by the recruiting manager.

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