Employment Opportunities

CTA is a global endeavour expected to cost in the region of €300 million for equipment and an additional 1,500 person-years of effort. Imminent site preparations and construction of CTA’s first telescopes have prompted a significant recruiting effort.


The project office is responsible for the functions of general project management, technical coordination and system integration for the CTA construction project. The office is currently located in Heidelberg, Germany, but will be moving to the new CTA Headquarters in Bologna, Italy in early 2017. All of the open positions listed below will not be open for application until mid-2017. While most positions will be located in Bologna, some will be located on the CTA sites in Chile and La Palma.


In addition to CTAO gGmbH/Project Office employment opportunities, this page will feature PhD positions with CTA’s Consortium institutes.


CTAO gGmbH is an equal opportunity employer.

CTAO gGmbH / Project Office Positions

Once constructed, the CTA Observatory will consist of two arrays of up to 100 state-of-the-art telescopes located on sites in the southern and northern hemispheres. The project has recently concluded site hosting negotiations with the European Southern Observatory (ESO) in Chile and a hosting agreement has been signed with Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) in La Palma, Spain. All telescopes and their components will be built in Europe or Asia and shipped to La Palma and Chile.


CTA is seeking a logistics officer that will organise and monitor the distribution of goods related to the CTA construction project. The initial role will be to collect and help define shipping requirements from the project teams, to formulate a logistics plan and to prepare the call for tender for a (probable) centralised logistics solution. The logistics officer must be able to understand and deal with all import, export and transport (including insurance) of CTA goods according to international procedures (EU and Asia) and according to Chilean/La Palma procedures as they apply to international organizations. The logistics officer will work closely with the ESO and IAC logistics teams in accordance with their respective import regulations and with Chilean and La Palma customs agencies.


Major duties and responsibilities will include:

  • Collect and support the teams in specifying shipping/logistics needs
  • Prepare a logistics plan for the project
  • Lead the call for tender for a centralised logistics solution
  • Coordinate import and export documents for customs and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, clearance instructions to Customs broker and freight forwarder, issuance of shipping documents such as invoice, packing list, etc. in coordination with the logistics company(ies)
  • Maintain internal logistics databases and continuously update logistics information to users about goods and equipment
  • Review and ensure accuracy of invoices
  • Maintain continuous contact with ESO and IAC and ensure efficiency and effectiveness of logistic-related processes
  • Perform other related duties as required


Desired competencies and qualifications include:

  • B.S. in Business Administration, Logistics or Supply Chain
  • Good written and spoken English and ability to communicate in Spanish
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team
  • Knowledge in project management methodology desirable
  • Professional or equivalent on foreign trade, experience with shipping insurance
  • At least 5 years of experience in international logistics
  • Experience in privileges, exemptions and customs laws applicable to international organizations
  • Must have computer knowledge at user level (MS Office, ERP system, email, running data base, produce reports)
  • The position is based in Bologna, Italy and is open to start immediately


Send a CV and cover letter to Alessandra Palmisano,, by May 1.​ CTA is an equal opportunity employer.

Der Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA) ist ein multinationales Projekt zur Errichtung eines Observatoriums für bodengebundene Hochenergie-Astronomie/Astroteilchenphysik zur Untersuchung kosmischer Gammastrahlungsquellen an Standorten in Italien, Deutschland, Spanien (Kanarische Inseln) und bei der Europäischen Südsternwarte in Chile.


Zur Vorbereitung des Projekts wurde die mit öffentlichen Mitteln finanzierte Cherenkov Telescope Array Observatory (CTAO) gGmbH mit Sitz in Heidelberg gegründet, deren Gesellschafter die elf am Projekt beteiligten Staaten repräsentieren. Die CTAO gGmbH sucht für ihren Standort in Heidelberg eine Volljuristin oder einen Volljuristen für folgende Aufgaben:


  • Umfassende Beratung der Geschäftsführung in allen rechtlichen Belangen der Gesellschaft, insbesondere im Wirtschafts- und Gesellschaftsrecht sowie in allen weiteren rechtlichen Fragen, die sich im Zusammenhang mit der Errichtung von CTA ergeben.
  • Erstellung, Prüfung und Überarbeitung von Verträgen mit und ohne Auslandsbezug sowie von gesellschafsrechtlichen Unterlagen.
  • Erstellung von Stellungnahmen, Kurzgutachten und Präsentationen.
  • Zusammenarbeit mit den Gesellschaftern und den öffentlichen Geldgebern.
  • Koordination von und Zusammenarbeit mit in- und ausländischen Rechtsanwälten.


Wir erwarten von Ihnen

  • zwei Staatsexamen mit mindestens der Note „befriedigend“.
  • die Bereitschaft, sich selbstständig in neue Themengebiete einzuarbeiten.
  • die Fähigkeit, praxistaugliche Lösungen für juristische Probleme zu finden und diese für Nicht-Juristen verständlich aufzubereiten.
  • Verhandlungsgeschick und Durchsetzungsvermögen.
  • sehr gute Kommunikationsfähigkeit und die Bereitschaft zur Zusammenarbeit mit Kolleginnen und Kollegen unterschiedlicher Fachrichtungen.
  • Freude an schwierigen und neuen Herausforderungen.
  • verhandlungssicheres Englisch in Wort und Schrift.
  • idealerweise Kenntnisse zu Beteiligungen der öffentlichen Hand sowie des Zuwendungsrechts.
  • die Bereitschaft, mittelfristig ggf. am italienischen Standort (Bologna) eingesetzt zu werden.


Wir bieten

  • die Gelegenheit, an der Implementierung einer großen multinationalen Forschungsinfrastruktur in einem interdisziplinären Team aktiv und gestaltend mitwirken zu können.
  • eine Vergütung angelehnt an TVÖD.


Falls wir Ihr Interesse geweckt haben, freuen wir uns über Ihre Bewerbung bis zum 31 März 2017. Bitte senden Sie Ihre Bewerbung mit den üblichen Unterlagen an

(Closed for application until mid-2017)


The CTA Project Office in Heidelberg, Germany but moving to Bologna, Italy in 2017 is responsible for coordinating the project and intends to recruit up to 20 individuals in the following disciplines and roles:


  • Coordination of on-site infrastructure design and implementation
  • Site Managers (to be located at array sites; Spanish required)
  • Risk Manager/Project Support
  • Resource Coordination
  • Systems Engineers – Requirements/V&V
  • Systems Engineers (General, Mechanical, Electrical/Control Systems, Software, Array Control)
  • Maintenance and Operations Engineer
  • CAD Modeller/Design Engineer
  • Engineer/Coordinator for Production/Logistics/Assets


We welcome speculative applications at various levels of experience (as well as some paid internships) in these or related areas. Contracts will initially be for two years with the strong possibility of renewal. Email applications to with a CV and cover letter. CTA is an equal opportunity employer.

(Closed for application until mid-2017)


An experienced and versatile safety engineer is required to assure safety across all aspects of the CTA Construction Project from instrument damage to human factors. The role will evolve throughout the phases of the project and would ideally suit someone with an aerospace, rail, automotive or civil background, or other technology industry which has an embedded engineering safety management culture.


In the present phase of the project the safety engineer will be required to examine the designs and plans developed by the autonomous project teams to ensure that safety (both human and instrument safety) has been taken into account; in terms of the eventual operation of the instrument but also during other stages such as manufacture, installation, commissioning and maintenance. This is in order to avoid costly redesign later and to ensure that any residual safety risk is quantified and as low as reasonably practicable.


The safety engineer will develop and implement the project’s safety plan ensuring that for any residual risk that cannot be designed-out, perhaps by failure or degraded-mode operation, mitigation plans are put in place such as safe operating procedures. The safety engineer in the first instance will be responsible to the lead systems engineer but ultimately to the project manager.


Duties and responsibilities include:


  • Work towards ensuring that a safety culture is embedded in the project and future observatory;
  • Anticipate, identify and evaluate hazardous conditions and practices;
  • Document safety requirements and develop hazard control designs, methods, procedures and programmes;
  • Implement, administer and advise others on hazard control programmes;
  • Measure, audit and evaluate the effectiveness of safety practices;
  • Examine failure modes which may affect safety in conjunction with other engineers;
  • Assess designs beyond satisfying standards, regulations and requirements;
  • Manage external safety experts as required;
  • Any other activities that are necessary to ensure safety across the project.


CTA considers safety to be an extremely high priority and in later construction phases the safety engineer will have the authority to stop activities deemed to be unsafe. Eventually the safety engineer may be required to visit work sites, analyzing data and presenting reports to senior management to ensure that the safety procedures in place are being followed. The post holder must be highly experienced and ideally a chartered engineer by profession, and present the gravitas appropriate for such an important post.


Employment will be based at the CTA Project Office in Bologna, Italy.  Applications and questions should be forwarded to with a CV and cover letter.


CTA is an equal opportunity employer.

(Closed for application until mid-2017)


An experienced risk manager is required to manage the risks to the CTA Construction Project. The project is divided into a number of autonomous work packages each contributing to the central project. The risk manager’s role is to manage risks at the central project level but also to ensure that the work packages are effectively managing their risks, and where necessary transferring critical work-package risks to the central management system. The risk manager will report to the project manager and will be accountable and responsible for the CTA Construction Project risk management plan and its successful implementation.


Specific duties include:


  • Planning, designing and implementing an overall risk management process for the project, including using our shared IT systems;
  • Risk assessment, involving identifying, analysing, describing and estimating the risks affecting the project;
  • Risk evaluation, involving comparing estimated risks with criteria such as costs, legal requirements and environmental factors, and evaluating the project’s previous handling of risks;
  • Ensuring that specific as well as generic risks are identified and managed;
  • Liaising with specialists regarding technical risks;
  • Establishing and quantifying the project’s risk appetite;
  • Establishing risk mitigation measures and contingency actions/procedures and their associated costs and implications, quantifying the project’s current exposure to risk;
  • Encouraging the adoption of risk awareness and management across the project, and helping workpackages implement a risk management plan as well as monitoring its effectiveness;
  • Providing support, education and training to project team members to build risk awareness across the project;
  • Risk reporting in an appropriate way for different audiences and stakeholders;
  • Maintaining compliance with standards;
  • Conducting audits of policy and compliance to standards across the project.


The post-holder must take a pro-active attitude in searching out risks before they happen and ensure that the project is continually aware of its risk exposure. Whilst an appropriate risk management qualification would be useful, significant risk management experience in a high-technology discipline with significant non-technical risks is considered more important for this role.


Employment will be based at the CTA Project Office in Bologna, Italy.  Applications and questions should be forwarded to with a CV and cover letter.


CTA is an equal opportunity employer.

CTA Consortium PhD Positions

Post Doctoral Research Associate

(to contribute to our activities for the development of CTA)


The Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics is a key contributor to the development of CTA. One major activity in the technical area is the development and production of fully digital, FADC-based cameras (FlashCAM) with high-performance Ethernet-based front-end readout. A full-size FlashCAM prototype camera for the medium-sized telescopes of CTA is available for extended testing. Next steps include system verification with the prototype camera and preparation for observations on site.



The successful applicant is expected to provide significant contributions to the following areas:

  • Characterization of the prototype camera and performance verification
  • Contribution to the development of simulation software
  • Preparation for data taking on site and for data analysis



  • PhD in physics, astronomy or astroparticle physics
  • Relevant experience in hardware and software development, preferably in the context of data acquisition systems
  • Proven software development skills, using C/C++
  • Demonstrated ability to work in a team
  • Excellent skills in English, written and oral


The contract is initially limited to two years. The Max Planck Society wishes to increase the participation of women in its research activities. Therefore applications by women are particularly welcome. The Max Planck Society is committed to employing more individuals with disabilities and especially encourages them to apply.


A number of other PhD and Masters positions working on CTA and HESS are available at the MPI-K in Heidelberg:


Further information can be obtained from: Dr. German Hermann, MPI für Kernphysik,, +49 (0) 6221 516-528

Please apply exclusively ONLINE (reference # 20 -2016).

Required documents: a Statement of Interest, CV and contact information of reference persons.