Astronomer / Instrument Project Scientist

Submission Information
Publish Date: 
Thursday, June 7, 2018
Archive Date: 
Thursday, August 2, 2018
Job Summary
Job Category: 
Institution Classification/Type: 
European Southern Observatory
Street Line 1: 
Karl-Schwarzschild-Straße 2
Garching bei München
Job Announcement Text: 

For its Directorate for Science at its Headquarters in Garching near Munich, Germany, the European Organisation for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere (ESO) is advertising the position of Astronomer / Instrument Project Scientist.

ESO is engaged in the operation and construction of a number of optical and infrared instruments for its observatories. The Instrument Project Scientist follows the development and construction phases of new instruments ensuring that the top-level requirements are fulfilled and that the operational scenarios are commensurate with the scientific needs and the constraints of the observatory. The development of the instruments may either be carried out by a consortium of universities and institutes, working in collaboration with ESO, or by an internal team at ESO. The successful applicant will be assigned to follow one or more instruments at any given time.

Applicants with relevant experience in instrumentation at optical/IR wavelengths and using any technique (e.g. spectroscopy/imaging/mos/ifu/high/low-resolution) are encouraged to apply. Preference may be given to highly experienced applicants and/or to those with a background in the field of high spectral resolving power, high stability spectroscopy.

Main Duties and Responsibilities

  • Provides strong scientific leadership to the assigned instrument programmes within ESO;
  • Acts as the principle scientific contact to the instrument building consortium;
  • Liaises with ESO’s scientific community on issues related to the instruments under their responsibility;
  • Develops, owns and maintains the scientific requirements for the assigned instruments;
  • Works closely with the ESO Project Managers, Project Engineers and System Engineers to ensure the implementation of the scientific requirements;
  • Supports the testing, commissioning and early operations. Specifically: preparation for the science operation during design, manufacturing/assembly/integration and testing and commissioning of the instrument in close cooperation with the observatory;
  • Participates in progress meetings and instrument reviews;
  • Tracks the evolving requirements for the assigned instruments emerging from the community;
  • Interacts closely with the observatory and data management teams on operational aspects;
  • Coordinates the activities of the Instrument Science Team;
  • As a member of the ESO Astronomy Faculty, will be expected and encouraged to conduct a strong personal research programme and to participate actively in the scientific life of ESO.
  • The tasks are not limited to the above and a flexible approach and willingness to adapt are required.


The successful candidate will have at least six years post-doctoral experience as detailed below.

  • Significant involvement in one or more of construction, design, or operation of instrumentation at optical/IR wavelengths and using any technique;
  • Experience with the planning, execution, analysis and publication of scientific research arising from said instrumentation;
  • Excellent cross-disciplinary communication skills both oral and written;
  • Good publication record and active research programme;
  • Proficiency in relevant data reduction methods and tools;
  • Understanding of the science requirements on instruments and strategies for their realization;
  • Ability to work in a clear and structured manner producing meaningful reports to supervisors and presentations to governing bodies.


Qualifications: Ph.D. in astronomy, physics or equivalent

Language Skills: Excellent command of the English language is essential



The full job description as well as the instructions on how to apply can be viewed from

Closing date for applications is 31st July 2018. Interviews are expected to be held soon afterwards.

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, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom irrespective of gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, race or religion.

Included Benefits: 

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

Application Deadline: 
Tuesday, July 31, 2018
Current Status of Position: 
Accepting Applicants
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