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Young Graduate Trainee for Land Surface Dynamics Study

  • Organization: ESA - European Space Agency
  • Location:
  • Grade: F1 - Young Graduate Trainee - Junior level
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Human Settlements (Shelter, Housing, Land, Property)
    • Scientist and Researcher
  • Closing Date: 2019-12-15

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Young Graduate Traineeship Opportunity in the Directorate of Earth Observation Programmes.

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 Land Surface Dynamics Study

This post is classified F1.


ESTEC, Noordwijk, The Netherlands 

Our team and mission

The Earth & Mission Science Division of the Science Applications & Climate Department, Earth Observations Programmes Directorate, is based at the European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC). The Division provides the creative vision for innovation and new discoveries in Earth System Science, using Earth observation in close cooperation with the scientific community.

The Division team:

  • bridges science and technology by translating ideas and concepts into technical reality and scientific success. It does this by defining, consolidating and managing scientific mission requirements throughout all phases of a mission, and by measuring the maturity of the resulting mission concept;
  • manages scientific research-based studies, providing the scientific foundation for mission concepts and approval, supports the successful development of space and ground segment, in-orbit commissioning and in-orbit scientific achievements;
  • undertakes airborne, marine and terrestrial campaigns contributing to the development of new technologies, mission feasibility assessments, calibration/validation and application development.

The Division is responsible for supporting preparatory research & development and implementation of future concepts for EO satellite missions as part of ESA's Living Planet Programme (Earth Explorers Aeolus, BIOMASS, CryoSat, EarthCARE, FLEX, FORUM, GOCE, SMOS, Swarm; Earth Watch/Copernicus Sentinels; operational meteorological satellite missions) with the objective of achieving specific scientific goals in environmental and climate research and Earth System Science.

Candidates interested are encouraged to visit the ESA website:

Field(s) of activity

For land surface applications, the fast-growing number of Earth-observing satellites and consequently available remote-sensing data sets requires us to assess how to combine such data streams efficiently. Similarly to what has been done in numerical weather prediction and modelling, the use of data assimilation techniques is a promising method for studying land surface dynamics and variability. The recent revolution in land surface process modelling allows us to assimilate data sets from spaceborne assets into currently available Land Surface Process Models (LSPMs).

The Agency recently undertook activity to develop a prototype retrieval chain exploiting the synergy between optical and radar time series data (from Copernicus Sentinel-1 and -2) focused on agriculture. To progress the work from this activity, the Agency is currently developing a multi-year national-size data set including Sentinel-1 radar signatures together with parcel information (e.g., parcel dimension, land use, crop information).

The study will start by exploring the information content of this data set, trying to uncover specific crop-specific correlations comparing the parcel information on a national scale, which may need to involve machine-learning techniques. Such information is expected to be of great help to constrain the microwave forward model that will need to be adapted within the LSPM. Following such adaptation, the study will continue with the inclusion of Sentinel-2 temporal signatures within the data set.

The remainder of the study will focus on assimilating data from this data set into an LSPM environment. 

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

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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