Working at ESO


Established in 1962, ESO is world leader in astronomical research and has as mission to build powerful ground-based observing facilities for astronomy in order to enable important scientific discoveries.

We are an intergovernmental organisation supported by Austria, Belgium, Czechia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. In addition, Chile is our host country, Australia our strategic partner and we enjoy many research partnerships globally. This translates to a truly international workforce with diverse talents and backgrounds, based in different locations but under the same goal of advancing meaningful scientific research and pushing the boundaries of technology. ESO combines a broad variety of different working areas, such as science, engineering, communication and outreach, administration and many more.   



View Larger Map


ESO's Headquarters are situated in Garching bei München, a town, host to many important research institutes and university departments focused on science and technology. It is located in the periphery of Munich, capital of Bavaria and second biggest German city, rich culturally and easily accessed. Also, right by the Austrian and Italian border, it is an easy reach to the abundant nature of the Alps — ideal for hiking and skiing fans!

In Chile, the host country of ESO’s observing sites, ESO offices are also located in Chilean capital Santiago, which concentrates the largest part of the Chilean population. Santiago is a very attractive city and is very well situated: in less than 2 hours you can be skiing or trekking in the beautiful Andes Mountains or taking a walk on the beach waiting for the sunset at the Pacific Ocean!

All ESO observatories are located in the Atacama Desert in the northern region of Chile. In particular, ESO's Paranal Observatory is 12 km far from the Pacific coast, a very special place to not only observe the stars but also to enjoy of beautiful sunsets looking at the oceanside in the middle of the driest desert in the world. ESO's La Silla Observatory, is specifically located in the Coquimbo Region, known for being the birthplace of beloved poets and writers, such as Gabriela Mistral, who won the Nobel Prize in Literature.

ESO Values

The ESO Values describe the basic behavioural standards that all ESO staff are expected to adhere to, they reflect the way we work as a team to continue guaranteeing the success of our organisation. Our ESO Values are:

Integrity — Behaving ethically, with intellectual honesty and being accountable for one’s own actions;

Commitment — Demonstrating a high level of motivation and dedication to the achievement of ESO’s mission and protecting ESO’s reputation;

Accountability — Taking responsibility for own performance and actions;

Continuous Development — Being at the forefront of our professional field, furthering innovation and organisational development;

Collaboration — Promoting diversity and fostering respect and teaming.

Work Environment and ESO’s Respectful Workplace Policy

ESO is committed to creating a work environment that is safe, professional and of mutual trust where diversity and inclusion are valued and where everyone is entitled to be treated with courtesy and respect. Consequently, ESO will not tolerate any form of harassment on any site towards its members of personnel or other persons.  At the same time, ESO acknowledges that when people work together, misunderstanding and conflict are unavoidable, they should however not be allowed to escalate.

For this reason ESO has a Respectful Workplace Policy in place to support a working environment in which inappropriate behaviour is unacceptable, to draw attention to the different forms of inappropriate behaviour at work and to ensure that all members of personnel understand their responsibilities under the policy. The policy also assists members of personnel to find effective ways to deal with behaviour they find difficult and/or unreasonable and establishes the use of informal Respectful Workplace Advisors to assist staff who may be victims of inappropriate behaviour, or, in certain circumstances, the perpetrators of it.

Green ESO — Environmental Sustainability at ESO

As the foremost intergovernmental astronomy organisation in the world, we at ESO strive to find solutions to environmental challenges including climate change, pollution and waste.

  • We have defined 8 green aims to focus on.
  • We will also strive to endorse environmental friendliness as a core value at the highest level and are working on an official environmental policy involving experts in the field.
  • Within the organisation, the Environment Committee is a platform of exchange and discussion on environmental topics, to raise awareness amongst staff members and to provide advices to our Director General on raising environmental sustainability within ESO.
  • For more information, take a look at the Green ESO page

Further information on employee working conditions such as allowances and family benefits can be found here