Internship: External Relations and Science Policy Affairs

ESO - European Southern Observatory - Chile

Internship: External Relations and Science Policy Affairs

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 Legal and Institutional Affairs unit of the Executive Office of the Director General at its Headquarters in Garching near Munich, Germany, ESO is advertising the position of: Internship: External Relations and Science Policy Affairs.

The Legal and Institutional Affairs unit supports the Director General in range of corporate level and policy activities, in particular: forging and maintaining ties with Member States and Host States; negotiating with candidate Member States; managing relations with International Organisations (UN, EU, ESA, CERN, etc.) and key European science policy bodies (ESFRI, EIROforum, etc.); centrally coordinating all aspects of EU grants, and advising on protocol matters.

Through your involvement in various projects, and with our support, you will have the opportunity to understand and learn:

  • About the mission of ESO and the role and responsibilities of the Legal and Institutional Affairs in its implementation;
  • How a international “Big Science” organisation works in practice, and how strategic partnerships and policy issues contribute;
  • The landscape of key science policy actors in the European Research Area.

Specific projects on which the successful intern may support includes, inter alia:

  • Supporting ESO’s Chair duties in the International Affairs working group of EIROforum;
  • Strategic relations with the European Union;
  • Supporting ESO’s dialogue with space industry, government bodies and professional societies on the topic of satellite mega-constellations.

The above responsibilities are not exhaustive and a flexible approach and willingness to adapt to unexpected needs is required.

Reports to:

External Relations Officer


We seek applicants who are keen to gain experience in government relations, strategic partnerships and policy affairs in international science organisations.

The ideal candidate would have a strong interest in science policy in astronomy and space sciences, and/or in European science policy affairs, with a desire to build a career in government relations, industry relations, or policy affairs in a scientific area.

No previous work experience is required as on the job training is provided, however, knowledge of contemporary science policy issues and prior work experience in government and/or EU relations would be highly advantageous.

Key Competences and Experience:

  • Strong policy research skills with the ability to conduct literature searches, analyse and synthesise diverse material, identify key issues, and draw evidence-based conclusions;
  • The ability to understand quantitative data and scientific concepts in astronomy and physics;
  • An understanding of how political and legislative bodies operate;
  • A highly professional attitude and ability to feel at ease communicating with senior people;
  • Good knowledge of MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint;
  • Work under time pressure and deliver to agreed deadlines and standards;
  • Work both on your own initiative and as part of a team;
  • Build good collaborative working relationships with people from different cultural backgrounds and disciplines.


A bachelors degree in a scientific topic (especially physics and astronomy) and/or political science (especially EU affairs, international relations and science diplomacy). A Masters degree, or nearing the completion of obtaining this qualification, would be an asset.

Language skills:

Excellent command of written and spoken English is essential. Other European languages would be considered an asset.

Remuneration and Contract:

ESO offers a monthly allowance to cover some living expenses in combination with or without accommodation. For any questions please contact The initial contract is for a fixed term duration of three months with the possibility of a fixed-term extension of an additional three months subject to individual performance and organisational requirements.

Duty Station:

Garching near Munich, Germany (remote working options can be explored)


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.

Deadline for applications is 3 June 2020.

Start date: as soon as possible

Interviews are expected to start soon after the deadline date.

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, race or religion.

Don't forget to mention EuroBrussels when applying.

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© EuroJobsites 2020

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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