Grants Officer

ESO - European Southern Observatory

Grants Officer

ESO - European Southern Observatory

Garching, Germany

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.

Within the Directorate of Administration at its Headquarters in Garching near Munich, Germany, ESO is advertising the position of: Grants Officer.

This is an excellent opportunity for professionals who have experience with management and administration of external grants within scientific organisations or institutes. The Grants Officer will coordinate funding for research projects from a variety of external sources and will have a broad range of responsibilities involving close collaboration with internal stakeholders, including research astronomers and engineers.

Main Duties and Responsibilities

  • Develop detailed understanding of grant rules and how they may be implemented within ESO;
  • Identify and liaise with grant funding bodies, in line with the scientific direction of the Organisation;
  • Inform ESO researchers and other administrative staff about funding opportunities, eligibility, procedures and deadlines and act as contact point and advisor to ESO staff on all grant related matters;
  • Curate an internal website listing information on grant rules and procedures also capturing best practices;
  • Support grant proposal development to ensure eligibility and compliance with terms and conditions, and according ESO’s rules, and advise applicants on developing high quality applications;
  • Coordinate involved units across ESO, ensuring all proposal, administrative and reporting steps are completed to necessary requirements and within deadlines;
  • Support drafting of collaboration and consortium agreements, grant agreements and contracts, proactively identifying issues and referring them to the Legal Officer when necessary;
  • Prepare annual financial statements and reports for senior management in collaboration with the Finance Department;
  • Fulfil all administrative, financial and reporting obligations during the run-time of grants;
  • Develop a management system for grant funding, to allow collection and reporting of information (e.g. for audits) to interface with the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system;
  • Act as liaison between prospective applicants and management;
  • Further develop ESO Grant Policy in line with ESO’s needs and the development of available funding programmes.

The duties for this position are not limited to the above and a flexible approach together with a strong capacity to adapt is essential.

Reports to: Director of Administration

Key Competences and Experience

Essential Competences and Experience:

  • At least five years of working experience in a similar function ideally in an international scientific environment;
  • In-depth understanding of rules governing European Union Framework Programme funding (e.g. Horizon 2020, Horizon Europe);
  • Understanding of the components of successful grant proposals and ability to advise staff accordingly on their applications;
  • Experience with national funding programmes, or the ability to quickly develop an understanding of the implementation of new external national funding schemes within ESO;
  • Experienced user of the EU funding and tenders platform;
  • Developing budgets for scientific or technical projects, conducting financial reporting, ability to support applicants and funded projects in resolving budgetary issues;
  • Analytical and reporting skills to aid management decisions;
  • Demonstrated ability to define and adopt new approaches to manage complex ambiguous situations;
  • Strong Microsoft Office skills (incl. advanced Excel);
  • Strong organisational and time-management skills with ability to prioritize own activities;
  • Strong interpersonal skills and good teamworking skills, showing ability to work with a wide range of scientific, technical, engineering and administrative personnel from a variety of backgrounds;
  • Ability to rapidly acquire and process information from the various projects stakeholders and adapt to ESO specific context and environment.

Desirable Competences and Experience:

  • Project management experience;
  • Experience in reviewing legal documentation and contracts;
  • Previous experience of dealing with ERC, MSCA and Research Infrastructure funding schemes would be an advantage.


  • Degree or equivalent in the field of Law, Finance, Business Administration or other relevant professional field;
  • Evidence of continual professional development and maintaining up to date expertise.

Language Skills

A very good command of the English language - verbal, reading and writing is essential. A strong level of German is desirable and a working knowledge of Spanish would be an advantage.

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 and the possibility to place your child/children in daycare.

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 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 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: ESO Headquarters at Garching, near Munich, Germany
Career Path: IV


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.

Closing date for applications is 30 September 2021.

Interviews are expected to be held soon afterwards.

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 host state Chile irrespective of gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity or religion.

Don't forget to mention EuroBrussels when applying.

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© EuroJobsites 2021

EuroJobsites is a registered company number: 4694396 VAT number: GB 880 9055 04

Registered address: EuroJobsites Ltd, Unit 8, Kingsmill Business Park, Kingston Upon Thames, London, KT1 3GZ, United Kingdom

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