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Young Graduate Trainee for Artificial Intelligence for Space Systems

  • Organization: ESA - European Space Agency
  • Location:
  • Grade: F1 - Young Graduate Trainee - Junior level
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Outer space and satellite technology
    • Information Technology and Computer Science
    • Security and Safety
  • 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 Artificial Intelligence for Space Systems

This post is classified F1.


ESTEC, Noordwijk, The Netherlands 

Our team and mission

The Software Systems division has the responsibility in domain of software engineering for flight and ground software systems ( It is supporting all ESA satellite projects in the related technologies, covering Software engineering technologies, methods, tools, architectures, and standards. Specific interest goes into the aspect of System-software co-engineering over the entire development life-cycle, starting from requirements engineering and modelling, design methods, to automatic code and test generation, including the required languages and compilers. Modelling and Simulation is used to support system engineering and testing and verification.

Advanced SW technologies as Artificial Intelligence, Big Data and Data Warehousing are investigated for their potential to improve future systems capabilities and their way to develop them.

Interested candidates are encouraged to visit the ESA website:

Field(s) of activity

Artificial intelligence is more and more used in Ground space applications. One main domain of application concerns Machine Learning. In this domain, applications able to identify elements of interest on space images are already developed and new ones are being developed. These applications are mainly based on Deep Learning architectures mostly implemented by artificial neural networks.

The training of such neural networks requires intensive processing that is largely exceeding the capabilities of embedded space systems. However, their execution is less demanding in term of processing and could now fit the most recent or coming architectures.

Among these architectures, multi-core processors (GR740), FPGAS (BRAVE medium) and SoCs (BRAVE Large/Ultra, DAHLIA, HPDP and ZynQ) grouping processor(s) and reconfigurable FPGA.

If Deep Neural Networks are usually considering the use of GPUs to minimize the execution time, they can be executed on generic purpose processors (full Software) with less performance. Thanks to the availability of systems including a processor and a FPGA, a HW/SW co-design approach enables a split between functions executed on the processor(s) and the ones executed on the FPGA.

During the proposed activity, you will:

-      Evaluate the existing Deep Neural Network systems, identify their needs in term of processing and select one of them.

-      Evaluate the new embedded computer architectures, with a special focus on SoCs and select one of them.

-      Follow a HW/SW co-design approach to identify the functions to be executed on the processors and the functions to be executed on the FPGA.

-      Apply the approach and port the selected Deep Neural Network on the selected embedded system.

-      Measure the performance of the Deep Neural Network.

-      Potentially iterate to optimize the allocation of functions.

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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