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Young Graduate Trainee in Advanced Materials and Space Infrastructure


  • Organization: ESA - European Space Agency
  • Location: Noordwijk
  • Grade: Level not specified - Level not specified
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Procurement
    • Infrastructure and Urban-Rural development
    • Outer space and satellite technology
  • Closing Date: Closed


Young Graduate Trainee in Advanced Materials and Space Infrastructure

Job Requisition ID:  18434
Closing Date:  7 March 2024 23:59 CET/CEST
Establishment:  ESTEC, Noordwijk, Netherlands
Directorate:  Directorate of Technology, Engineering and Quality
Publication:  External Only
Vacancy Type:  Young Graduate Trainee
Date Posted:  8 February 2024


Young Graduate Opportunity in the Directorate of Technology, Engineering and Quality


ESA is an equal opportunity employer, committed to achieving diversity within the workforce and creating an inclusive working environment. We therefore welcome applications from all qualified candidates irrespective of gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, beliefs, age, disability or other characteristics. Applications from women are encouraged.


This post is classified F1 on the Coordinated Organisations’ salary scale.



ESTEC, Noordwijk, Netherlands 


Our team and mission

The Advanced Concepts and Studies Office ensures the overall coordination, coherence and performance of programme and studies in support to the preparation of the Agency’s future activities, in line with its long-term strategic objectives and priorities. This includes discovery activities ( via the Open Space Innovation Platform (OSIP) and the Advanced Concepts Team (ACT), ESA’s in-house research think tank.

The ACT monitors, performs and fosters beyond-the-horizon multidisciplinary research for space, exploring new approaches to space-related R&D (including competitions, prizes, games), research for disruptive innovation, developing an expert network at academic level and providing a capability for fast first look analysis of problems, challenges and opportunities. The ACT engages in collaborative research with university institutes and research centres, focusing on advanced research topics of potential strategic interest to the space sector and in experimenting with new forms of teamwork. To achieve this goal, a multidisciplinary research environment is provided, in which young scientific and engineering post-doctoral and post-graduate researchers carry out work on emerging technologies and innovative concepts. 

More information on the team is accessible on the ACT website (


You are encouraged to visit the ESA website:

Field(s) of activity/research for the traineeship

Advances in the material sciences have fuelled many breakthroughs in space. They play a critical role in almost every aspect of spacecraft design. For example, factors such as structural stability and weight are most important for launch capabilities and characteristics such as absorption and emission spectra in the design of solar panels and radiators.

With the advent of machine learning techniques, design methods are evolving rapidly as the computational demand for the simulation of complex material properties has become bearable. At the same time, fabrication techniques are changing and advancing at a considerable pace. 3D printing in particular may provide fabrication options on, e.g., the moon or on space stations that were not available before. The advanced concepts team is particularly interested in exploring space-related research that utilises these and other advances and highlights their potential for the future of space exploration. 

As a Young Graduate Trainee, whilst you are encouraged to propose your own projects in the field of materials and structures for space, you may also choose to work on any of the following projects:


  • Exploring synergies between material science and machine learning resulting in methods and tools able to improve the overall design and discovery process,
  • Quantum chemistry for ab-initio modelling of material properties, for example in strongly interacting quantum many body systems,
  • Mathematical modelling of structures and materials, for example using topological mechanics.


Some applications of interest are:


  • Smart materials, e.g., for space suits or spacecraft components.
  • Self-assembling and reconfigurable space structures, e.g., ElectroVoxel ensembles and origami structures.
  • Architected materials for in-space construction: autonomous design of e.g. lightweight microtruss lattices and auxetic materials for constructing future space infrastructure,


You will be a member of the Advanced Concepts Team ( and therefore expected to contribute to the development and the assessment of new concepts and technologies for space applications. This will be done in close interaction with ACT researchers who work on a broad range of disciplines including, informatics, artificial intelligence, climate modelling, energy systems, fundamental physics, biomimetics, computational management science and mission analysis. Based on your detailed background and interests and the opportunities and needs of the team, you will be involved in a number of other ACT initiatives (including studies conducted via the Ariadna scheme, and participate in reporting and communicating results of the team (internally and externally).

Technical competencies

Knowledge of relevant technical domains
Relevant experience gained during internships/project work
Breadth of exposure coming from past and/or current research/activities
Knowledge of ESA and its programmes/projects

Behavioural competencies

Result Orientation

Operational Efficiency

Fostering Cooperation

Relationship Management

Continuous Improvement

Forward Thinking


You should have just completed, or be in the final year of your Master’ s degree in computational biology, synthetic biology or related fields.

Additional requirements

You should have good interpersonal and communication skills and should be able to work in a multicultural environment, both independently and as part of a team.


You should show a genuine interest in applied academic research, together with sound analytical skills, avid curiosity and a natural aptitude to self-motivation and teamwork.


The working languages of the Agency are English and French. A good knowledge of one of these is required. Knowledge of another Member State language would be an asset.


During the interview motivation and overall professional perspective/career goals will also be explored.

Other information

For behavioural competencies expected from ESA staff in general, please refer to the ESA Competency Framework.


For further information on the Young Graduate Programme please visit: Young Graduate Programme and FAQ Young Graduate Programme


At the Agency we value diversity and we welcome people with disabilities. Whenever possible, we seek to accommodate individuals with disabilities by providing the necessary support at the workplace. The Human Resources Department can also provide assistance during the recruitment process. If you would like to discuss this further please contact us email


Please note that applications are only considered from nationals of one of the following States: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. Nationals from Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia and Slovenia, as  Associate Member States, or Canada as a Cooperating State, can apply as well as those from Bulgaria, Croatia and Cyprus as European Cooperating States (ECS).

According to the ESA Convention, the recruitment of staff must take into account an adequate distribution of posts among nationals of the ESA Member States*. When short-listing for an interview, priority will first be given to candidates from under-represented Member States*. 


In accordance with the European Space Agency’s security procedures and as part of the selection process, successful candidates will be required to undergo basic screening before appointment conducted by an external background screening service. 

*Member States, Associate Members or Cooperating States.

This vacancy is now closed.
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