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Young Graduate Trainee for Opto-Electronics

  • Organization: ESA - European Space Agency
  • Location:
  • Grade: F1 - Young Graduate Trainee - Junior level
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Technology, Electronics and Mechanics
    • Mechanics and Electronics (Engineering)
  • Closing Date: 2019-12-15

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Young Graduate Traineeship 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. Applications from women are encouraged.

Young Graduate Trainee for Opto-Electronics

This post is classified F1.


ESTEC, Noordwijk, The Netherlands 

Our team and mission

Space research is at the forefront of human technology. All systems designed for space incorporate state-of-the-art technology with unprecedented quality and reliability. The Optoelectronics Section contributes to the development of passive and active opto- and optoelectronic technologies and systems. This work extends to advanced and highly coherent lasers and lidars and other optoelectronic devices such as detectors and spectrometers. A large part of the Section’s core business is related to development of space optical detector technology.  It is hard to design a modern spacecraft without CCD or CMOS components, which may be part of the primary system (telescopes, spectrometers) or support sub-systems (monitoring cameras, star trackers). The Section maintains a laboratory in which optical detectors are evaluated to the most stringent requirements.

The Mechatronics and Optics Division’s mission

Mechatronics is the fusion of mechanical, electrical, optical and optoelectronic/electro-optic, material and bio-technology systems. It contributes to the development of advanced robotics, instrumentation for physical and life sciences, optical instruments for remote sensing, devices which transmit and detect light for communication or processing, as well as the development of life-support systems. The design and verification of optical systems is another core activity, ranging from full-size telescopes to fibre optics and photonics devices, from laser communications to lidar atmosphere-sampling sensors and space interferometers. This work extends to advanced and highly coherent lasers and lidars and other optoelectronic devices such as detectors and spectrometers. Techniques to generate large numbers of cold atoms using simplified experimental methods have also been developed in the recent past, adding to the range of techniques needed to be qualified for later space implementation. The applications are principally in the domain of laser-cooled atom sensors including Cold Atom Interferometry (CAI), Optical Atomic Frequency Standards (OAFS) as well as the transfer of ultra-stable frequencies in fibre networks and eventually in free space.

Candidates interested are encouraged to visit the ESA website:

Field(s) of activity

Quality and reliability of the detection system are of utmost importance and in all cases are critical to the success of missions costing millions. Most scientific missions rely on tiny variations in measured variables. In exoplanet research, for example, these are variations in the brightness of a distant star, caused by a transient planet. Sub-optimal noise performance of the detection system could be the difference between detecting a planet or not. In atmospheric research, the quantity of greenhouse gasses is estimated based on tiny variations in the spectral components of the radiation scattered by the atmosphere. A non-linear detector, for example, causing distorted spectral profiles would result in significant misinterpretation of the pollutant densities. Therefore, precise knowledge of all characteristics of the detection system is essential to the quality of the scientific data.

Detector systems are also “aging” in space. Radiation effects due to prolonged exposure to the hostile space environment deteriorate the performance of detectors, seriously affecting quality of data. Some phenomena can be mitigated; most are just corrected a posteriori in the calibration process. Knowledge of detector behaviour in the space environment is very important for the success of a mission.

In the Optoelectonics Section laboratory, various CCD and CMOS detectors are evaluated to the most stringent requirements. The laboratory is constantly evolving and enhancing its measurement capabilities.

As a YGT you will participate in the development of new capabilities, optimisation of existing facilities, analysis of experimental data and characterisation of the electro-optical performance of visible and infrared wavelength detectors.

You will support the Laser Optical Verification Facility (LOVF) by testing the third flight model of the Aeolus laser installed at the Optoelectronics Section laboratory.

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
Self Motivation
Continuous Learning
Cross-Cultural Sensitivity

You should have just completed, or be in the final year of a university course at Master's level (or equivalent) in a technical or scientific discipline.

Additional requirements

You should have a good mathematical/statistical background in particular error estimation, least stare fitting, etc. You should also have good skills in large data/image processing preferably using Python or MATLAB.

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. 

You should demonstrate good interpersonal skills and the capacity to work both independently and as part of a team.  

During the interview your 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.

The closing date for applications is  15 December 2019.

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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