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

(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.