Infrastructure System Engineer

Employer: ESO European Southern Observatory
Job location
Antofagasta, Chile
Job term
3-year contract
Job closing date

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.

For its Paranal Systems Engineering group at the La Silla Paranal Observatory, ESO is opening the position of Infrastructure System Engineer.

The Paranal Systems Engineering group is responsible for all Systems Engineering aspects of the Paranal Observatory, including steering and control of observatory projects, system performance management, interface management, and representing Paranal at external projects reviews. With the arrival of the ELT, the Observatory’s infrastructure (buildings, power generation and distribution, technical infrastructure for staff lodging, etc.) is undergoing major changes, which requires a closer Systems Engineering follow-up fulfil rapidly evolving operational needs while increasing the level of integration and efficiency of all Operations. Furthermore, the complexity and criticality of the operation and maintenance of all future infrastructure systems requires a dedicated System Engineer to ensure operational performance are maintained at the required level.


Main Duties and Responsibilities:

The core responsibilities of the Infrastructure System Engineer are:

• Control of the evolution and overseeing of the technical management of the observatory’s technical infrastructure (electrical power systems, building management systems, HVAC and cooling systems).

• Follow-up of civil engineering projects ensuring technical implementation according to standards

• Support to the Paranal Logistics and Facility department in facility development and management aspects.

• Ensure operational performance of technical infrastructure.

• Ensure that the evolution of the Infrastructure is aligned to the observatory strategy.


Reports to:

Paranal Systems Engineering Group Leader



The ideal candidate has at least 3 years of professional experience in:

• Establishment and maintenance of technical budgets for utility systems of medium to large scale industrial or scientific facilities.

• Operation and maintenance of utility systems.

• Creation of statements of work and follow-up for of industrial contracts for infrastructure projects.

• Experience in the digital transformation of an operational or industrial infrastructure is considered as an asset


Key Competences:

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

• Electrical power, cooling (including liquid nitrogen) and/or HVAC systems

• Interface management (creation of interface requirements and control documents, requirements verification)

• Performance monitoring and data

• Project management and contract follow-up

• Civil engineering

• Facility management

• IT infrastructure management

• Good interpersonal communication skills and ability to work collaboratively in a multidisciplinary and multicultural team, respecting individual differences.



A university degree or equivalent in relevant disciplines, like civil, electrical or mechanical engineering.


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, 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:

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.



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.

Deadline for applications is 22 November 2021.

Interviews are expected to start soon after this date.


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 and inclusive workforce.

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 irrespective of gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity or religion