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Internal Research Fellow (PostDoc) in the Directorate of Science at ESTEC, ESAC or Baltimore

Noordwijk-Binnen (Netherlands)

  • Organization: ESA - European Space Agency
  • Location: Noordwijk-Binnen (Netherlands)
  • Grade: F1 - Young Graduate Trainee - Junior level
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Scientist and Researcher
  • Closing Date: 2020-01-15

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Research Fellowship Opportunity in the Directorate of Science.

ESA is an equal opportunity employer, committed to achieving diversity within the workforce and creating an inclusive working environment. Applications from women are encouraged.

Internal Research Fellow (PostDoc) in the Directorate of Science at ESTEC, ESAC or Baltimore

This post is classified F1.

ESTEC, Noordwijk, The Netherlands, or  

ESAC, Villanueva de la Cañada, Spain

or ESA Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI), Baltimore, Maryland, USA

Our team and mission

The Science Operations Department conducts research programmes covering many areas of space science. These research activities are coordinated by the ESA Science Faculty, made up of all scientist in the three above locations. Research Fellows participate in these programmes, led by the scientific staff (with the appropriate engineering, technical and administrative support). Research Fellows spend their time on their scientific research and have no functional duties. Up to 20% of the time can be spent on scientific activities in support of an ESA mission. Additionally they are encouraged to take an active part in the scientific life of the establishments.

Interested candidates are encouraged to visit the ESA website:

Field(s) of activities/research

The research projects proposed by applicants for an ESA Fellowship should be related to ESA's scientific missions, to space research programmes of the ESA Member States or to the scientific activities of the ESA Science Faculty. A summary of the research activities carried out by Faculty members can be found on the following pages:

Interested candidates should consult these pages to identify which of the establishments offers the most relevant environment for their research and to contact any of the scientists working in areas of their interest.

Technical competencies
Breadth of exposure coming from past and/or current research/activities
Knowledge relevant to the field of research
Research/publication record
Ability to conduct research autonomously
General interest in space and space research
Ability to gather and share relevant information
Behavioural competencies
Self Motivation
Problem Solving
Relationship Management
Innovation & Creativity
Continuous Learning
Cross-Cultural Sensitivity

Applicants should have recently completed, or be close to completion of a PhD in a related technical or scientific discipline. Preference  will  be  given  to applications submitted by candidates within  five  years of receiving their PhD.

Additional requirements

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.     



Research expenses are covered by the departmental budgets, e.g. publication charges, attendance to conferences, participation at observing campaigns or research visits.

Research Fellows also have access to the Science Visitor Programme and can invite external collaborators, funded by the ESA Faculty, to work with them.

Research Fellows may have opportunities to mentor undergraduate or master's student trainees.

Research fellows are encouraged to join existing research activities or start new ones in collaboration with staff members. Activities that will require a substantial amount of additional funding (e.g. flight hardware contributions, organisation of     conferences, workshops, etc.) will be assessed by the science faculty and will be decided case-by-case.

Research proposals will be reviewed and assessed based on the following criteria:

  • Scientific value (state-of-the-art in the field and value for the ESA Science faculty)
  • Feasibility of the proposal and schedule
  • Proven record of the candidate

Research proposals will be reviewed by a panel of space scientists who may not be an expert in your field of expertise.
Research Fellows will be joining a group of diverse scientific staff members embedded in a large space agency, in contrast to a more specialised, focused research group with close or similar competencies.
Appointments for an ESA Research Fellowship are for 2 years, with a possibility of a 3rd year extension.

 As part of the selection process some candidates will be invited to complete an online video interview.
 Face to face interviews will take place on 14-15 January 2020 at ESTEC and 20-21 January 2020 at ESAC. Candidates will also give a 20-minute presentation of their proposed research.

Please refer to: Call for applications:

Careers at ESA website:

Other information

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

The Agency may require applicants to undergo selection tests.

The closing date for applications is 01 October 2019.

In addition to your CV and your motivation letter, please add your proposal of no more than 5 pages outlining your proposed research in the "additional documents" field of the "application information" section.

Candidate are also asked to provide contact information for three senior scientis able to provide reference letters on request.

Furthermore candidates should indicate a preference of a location where they would like to hold their fellowship.

If you require support with your application due to a disability, please 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 Slovenia, as an Associate Member, or Canada as a Cooperating State, can apply as well as those from Bulgaria, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania and Slovakia as European Cooperating States (ECS).

 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

We do our best to provide you the most accurate info, but closing dates may be wrong on our site. Please check on the recruiting organization's page for the exact info. Candidates are responsible for complying with deadlines and are encouraged to submit applications well ahead.
Before applying, please make sure that you have read the requirements for the position and that you qualify.
Applications from non-qualifying applicants will most likely be discarded by the recruiting manager.

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