La Silla Observatory



Re-Engineering Project:
Management and Administrative Structures


SciOp Internal Use Only 

Prepared Olivier Hainaut 2002-06-09
Reviewed Rene Mendez 2002-06-30
Released Jorge Melnick 2002-

Revision History

2002-05-09 first draft, ohainaut
2002-06-09 second draft, ohainaut
2002-07-01 review version with comments




This document is the result of the meeting that took place on Thu. 2002 May 09 at La Silla and Vitacura. Were present at that meeting Christian Esparza Eduardo Matamoros, Emilio Barrios, Gaetano Andreoni, George Hau, Jorge Santana, Jorge Vilaza, Juan Fluxa, Karla Aubel, Manuel Pizarro, Mauricio Martinez, Monica Castillo, Olivier Hainaut, Paul Le Saux, Rene Mendez and Ricardo Parra at La Silla, and Leonardo Vanzi and Michael Sterzik in Vitacura. This document was circulated for comments, which were collected by R.Mendez, and included in version 0.3 of this document (review version), resulting in version 1.0

This document discusses the administrative structure of the Science Operation Department (SciOp) of La Silla, in the framework of the restructuration of the 2p2, 3p6 and NTT Teams. This document will eventually become part of the larger document describing SciOp as a whole.


In this document, "he" and "his" refer to the position described. In practice, these position can be occupied by people of any known or unknown gender. So, this note replaces all the she/her. In the review version (0.3), the text being commented is in red, the comments in italic,  resulting in a new version of the text, given in green.


SciOp: La Silla Science Operation Department
LED: La Silla Engineering Department
MET: MEdium-sized Telescope Team (current) or Section (in Sciop)
OpA: Operation Astronomer
TIO: Telescope and Instrument Operator
SEST: Sweeden/ESO Submilimetric Telescope
APEX: Atacama Pathfinder EXperiment
IFo: Instrument Force
IFoL: Instrument Force Leader
AS: Astronomy Section
ASL: Astronomy Section Leader




The current teams have a flat structure under the Team Leader. It is not possible to keep a completely flat structure for the SciOp department. Indeed, as it will be composed of 44 people in Jul.2002 (24 people in "steady state" operation beyond 2004), it constitutes too large a group to be managed by one person. The SciOp Department has to be divided in sub-departments, or Sections of about 10 people each. These Sections are lead by a "Section Leader".

In the discussion that lead to this document, two main structures were considered.

The outcome of the discussion was that Model 1 will be implemented.


Science Operation

Head of SciOp

(until Sep.30, 2002)

Astronomers' Section

TIOs' Section

Operation Engineers

MET Operation

Astronomer Section Leader

Turno A
Turno B

(also deputy to HoSciOp)
(also deputy to HoSciOp)

MET Section Leader


TIO-A Section Leader
TIO-B Section Leader

Documentation/Web Specialist
Data Handling Operator

1.52 ESO + 1.54 Dk Operation


WFI Operation

2.2.1 Introduction

This section describes the administrative structure of SciOp, taking into account the discussions outlined in the previous paragraph, and the actual staff as described in the SciOp Staffing Plan [3].

2.2.2 Head of SciOp

The job description of the Head of SciOp (HoSciOp) is given in "Team Leader and Head of Deptm: Job Descriptions" [2]. Deputies

HoSciOp will be assisted by two Deputies. These deputies will be the two Operation Engineers. As they work in contra-turno, HoSciOp and his deputies will ensure a complete time coverage.

The responsibilities delegated to the Deputies include: Comment: GAn: Document is fine with me. I have some concerns for the TRAM. Only one deputy is foreseen in the entire structure, while you have two. We have to talk about the practical implementation.
Reply: a meeting is foreseen on Jul02 to discuss of the practical implementation. We want to keep the 2 deputies to ensure 100% coverage and make tram as transparent as possible to the users.

Comment: RMe:
This raises, however, an interesting point. Somebody will have to be in charge of creating customized Remedy scripts, etc. This could possible be a TIO. Why don't you mention that one TIO in each turno will be appointed as Remedy master?
Reply: Good idea. Actually, JWillis is already creating a new set of Remedy macros for SciOps, but the maintenance could be one of the bck tasks of some TIOs. Will be done, hwv it does not belong to this document.

Comment: RMe: You need to appoint somebody in charge of safety for the whole of SciOps. This guy/girl will be in charge of preventing risk situations, and improving safety throughout all our activities. I feel it is very important that you have a **specific** person in charge of this, from the start.
Reply: ok, text added: Safety officer

SciOp will have a safety officer, who reports directly to the HoSciOp, and whose duties include the monitoring of safety, prevention of hazards and dangerous situation, and improvement of safety throughout all SciOp activities. He shall also be the main interface with the La Silla Safety officer, but does not report to him.

2.2.3 Operation Engineers

They report directly to HoSciOp. Their administrative duties are Comment: RMe:  Under 2.2.3 the Op. Engin. will also be in charge of WP # 633 and 644 (Section 3.2), so you should add these to the bulleted items.

2.2.4- Astronomy Section

The Astronomy Section is composed by all the La Silla astronomers affiliated to the SciOp department (i.e. all LSO astronomers, except La Silla Director, Head of SciOp and SEST/APEX astronomers), including Staff, OpAs, Fellows.

This Section is leaded by the Astronomy Section Leader, who is appointed by Head of SciOp of a period of 1yr, renewable. The duties of the Astronomy Section Leader include:

It must be noted that these are only administrative duties: this document deals with administrative structure. Technical and scientific issues are dealt with in the framework of the Instrument Forces [1]. The Astronomy Section Leader can be head of one of the Instrument Forces, but this is not linked to his appointment as Decurion.

COMMENT: GHau: The only comment I have is for the preparation of the monthly reportof the shutter statistics etc. Would this task be delegated to the head of various Instrument forces, to the instrument scientists, or would Astronomy Section Leader compileit himself? I would guess it is a lot of work for just one person."
: right. Each IFoLeader of each section should submit these numbers to the Head of SciOp - this is actually technical, not administrative. I would suggest you to include this explicitly, to avoid future misunderstandings and to limit responsibilities in a more bounded way. Metrics is a cornerstone in a management structure, and we need toget this right form the onset. Text changed:
Comment: RMe: In 3.2, the Astronomy Section Leader has NO authority whatsoever to approve budget expenditures, and yet, according to 2.2.4 (s)he has a lot of managerial responsibilities..????. This makes little sense. You should empower the ASL with spending power as well (otherwise it becomes extremely boring!). For example, (s)he should be the WP Approver for (at least) some WPs (just as Jorge does with Gaetano) - the ASL will be somebody you (hopefully!) trust in these matters.
Reply: this was discussed at the re-eng. meeting: we decided to attach the WP to the technical structure, not to the administrative structure. However, as ASL will be one of the 4 senior astronomer, he will de facto be also one of the IFoL, and therefore a WP manager.

2.2.5- Operation Section

The Operation Section is composed by all the La Silla TIOs affiliated to SciOp (i.e. all TIOs of La Silla except those affiliated to SEST/APEX and non-SciOp Telescope, if any).

This section is split in two sub-sections according to the turnos, in order to form two more or less equally sized groups. Each of the groups is lead by a senior TIO, appointed by HoSciOp for a period of 1yr, renewable. The duties of both TIO Section Leaders include:

2.2.6- MET Operation

From Jul.1, 2002 (start of SciOp) until Sep.30, 2002 (end of 2x1.5m telescope operations), the current MET will remain a separate entity within SciOp. The current staff, structure and operation of MET will be preserved (except the Electronics, who will be on the LED staff as of Jul.1) as one of the SciOp Sections. During this transition period, the MET Leader will report directly to HoSciOp.

However, in oder to start the implementation of SciOp within MET,



In 2002, the Telescope Teams used the following budget Work Packaged:


The proposed Work Packages are the following. That structure was decided in order to follow closely the technical struture of SciOp.