Optics Group Leader

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. 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, which will become “the world’s biggest eye on the sky” and whose operations will be fully integrated into the Paranal Observatory.

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


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 


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


For full vacancy notice and online application please go to http://recruitment.eso.org/. Applications should include a motivation letter and CV in English. Interviews will be held in English.

Non-Chilean applicants to this role must reside in Chile and have a pertinent working permit, according to Chilean regulations, at the time of their application.

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.

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.

Apply Here: https://spiecareercenter.org/jobs/5376701