The National Radio Astronomy Observatory ALMA- Mechnanical Technical Lead- ADE in Santiago, Chile

ALMA- Mechnanical Technical Lead- ADE

Engineers, Technical Specialists and Technicians
Santiago, Chile



ALMA Vacancy Notice

The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) is the world’s preeminent facility for millimeter and submillimeter-wave astronomy with transformational capabilities to study the origin and evolution of galaxies, stars and planets. ALMA consists of 66 antennas located on the Chajnantor plateau, 5000 meters altitude in northern Chile, and equipped with receivers covering atmospheric windows between 30 and 950 GHz.

ALMA is a partnership of the European Organization for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere (ESO), the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institutes of Natural Sciences (NINS) of Japan in cooperation with the Republic of Chile. ALMA is funded by ESO on behalf of its Member States, by NSF in cooperation with the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) and the National Science Council of Taiwan (NSC) and by NINS in cooperation with the Academia Sinica (AS) in Taiwan and the Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute (KASI).

ALMA continued development and operations are led by ESO on behalf of its Member States; by the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), managed by Associated Universities, Inc. (AUI), on behalf of North America; and by the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ) on behalf of East Asia.

The Joint ALMA Observatory (JAO) provides the unified leadership and management of the continued development, commissioning and operation of ALMA.

Mechanical Technical Lead- ADE

Duties and Responsibilities

Responsible for providing expert level support to; investigate, troubleshoot and implement improvements for mechanical and cryogenic matters in the ALMA Department of Engineering (ADE).

The position reports to the Engineering Services Group (ESG) manager.

The Mechanical Technical Lead will be responsible for:

  • Troubleshooting and analyzing potential problems with relevant technical and hardware performance.

  • Investigate complex mechanical and cryogenic problems while liaising with all relevant ESG, ADE and sometimes ALMA-wide stakeholders until successful resolution is achieved.

  • Scrutinize and develop the content of the maintenance plans, with the goal of enhancing the efficiency and reliability.

  • Leading continuous improvement process projects with different operational teams to optimize efficiency in the workflow.

  • Identifying the needs in technical training to raise multidisciplinary capabilities within the Infrastructure Maintenance Group and Array Maintenance Group leaders and relevant operations engineers.

  • Develop operations technical documentation (mainly procedures) with relevant key performance indicators to allow long-term follow-up of operational systems.

  • Contributes to technical/operational trade-off analysis process and risk assessments with any/all levels of the Joint ALMA Observatory and regional stakeholders.

Professional Requirements/Qualifications

Applicants for this position should fulfill the following requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree (University Degree) in Mechanical and/or Cryogenic Engineering, or demonstrated equivalent work experience.

  • Minimum 5 years of work experience in managing industrial maintenance and/or astronomical observatory maintenance programs and strategies.

  • Must possess a valid driver’s license.

  • A strong ability to lead by influencing and mentoring staff.

  • Excellent leadership and interpersonal skills, including ability to work in teams and flexibility to receive and incorporate feedback received from different areas.

  • Advanced level of English, both written and spoken.

  • Good command of Spanish would be an asset.

Due to travel requirements and work at high altitudes, a successful high altitude medical check is a necessary condition of employment for this position.

Duty Station / Location of Position

The duty station is mixed between the Santiago Office (25-50%) and the ALMA operations site near San Pedro de Atacama (50-75%): the Operations Support Facility (OSF) at 2900 m and the Array Operations Site (AOS) located on the nearby Llano de Chajnantor at 5000 m altitude. Occasional international travel will be required.

Starting Date

As soon as possible.


The selected candidate will be assigned to the Head of ADE position at the JAO for an initial period of three years with mutual options for renewal thereafter; however, actual contractual terms will be revised accordingly by the relevant employer (ESO, AUI/NRAO or NAOJ).


The remuneration will be revised between the selected candidate and the employing Executive, according to the relevant rules and regulations. Furthermore, if applicable, an expatriation allowance as well as some other allowances will be added.

Qualified engineering managers with extensive relevant experience are invited to apply by submitting an application to:

Applicants submitting their application to ESO are invited to apply online at The position requires three letters of reference, which shall be sent to

Applicants submitting their application to AUI/NRAO are invited are invited to apply by sending their cover letter, CV at Please send three letters of reference to Joyce Ivory at .

Applicants submitting their application to NAOJ are invited to apply by sending their cover letter, CV and three letters of reference via email to Yuji Okumura at

The initial deadline for receipt of applications to be considered for the position

is August 25th, 2017.

Applications must be completed in English and should include a cover letter, CV, and three letters of reference.

AUI/NRAO, JAO, ESO and NAOJ is an equal opportunity employer (M/V/F/D)