By continuing to browse this site, you agree to our use of cookies. Read our privacy policy

Young Graduate Trainee for Agent-based Modelling of Future Complex Systems in Space

  • Organization: ESA - European Space Agency
  • Location:
  • Grade: F1 - Young Graduate Trainee - Junior level
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Outer space and satellite technology
    • Statistics
  • Closing Date: 2019-12-15

Click "SAVE JOB" to save this job description for later.

Sign up for free to be able to save this job for later.


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 Agent-based Modelling of Future Complex Systems in Space

This post is classified F1.


ESTEC, Noordwijk, The Netherlands 

Our team and mission

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

The ACT performs 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 Team engages in collaborative research relations with university institutes and research centres, focusing on advanced research topics of potential strategic interest to the space sector and experimenting with new forms of teamwork. To achieve its goal, a multidisciplinary research environment is provided in which young scientific and engineering post-doctoral and postgraduate researchers work on emerging technologies and innovative concepts.

More information on the Team is accessible on the ACT website ( ).

Candidates interested are encouraged to visit the ESA website:

Field(s) of activity

You will carry out most of the activity in the field of complex systems, i.e. composed of many interacting elements whose large-scale behaviour emerges from simple rules governing the behaviour of its constituent parts. Examples are ecosystems, stock markets, economies and human societies. The field of complex systems science is highly interdisciplinary. To study and understand them, two broad approaches are typically used:

  • mathematical modelling: the most important qualitative elements are abstracted into a solvable framework from which we can gain scientific insight; this approach borrows e.g. from information and networks theory, game theory, and other similar fields;
  • computer simulations: more detailed results can be obtained by simulating the interacting parts of a complex system and then observing the emergent behaviour; agent-based simulation is a tool often applied to complex systems analysis.

You will work on applying the above methodologies, in particular agent-based modelling, for analysis of future complex space systems and scenarios.

Tasks will depend on your expertise and motivation and may include:

  • the interplanetary space economy and the space manufacturing supply chain.
  • societies on planetary colonies.
  • future space stations and planetary bases as sociotechnical systems.
  • crew dynamics during long-duration interstellar travel.

Selected references:
[1] Newman, M. E. J., “Complex Systems: A Survey”,, 2011,
[2] Siebers, P. O., Aickelin, U., “Introduction to Multi-Agent Simulation”,, 2008,
[3] Julius, P. “What would an interplanetary economy look like?”, Human Economics Blog post, 2016,
[4] Acquisti, A. et al., “Agent Based Modeling of Collaboration and Work Practices Onboard the International Space Station”, NASA report,
Depending on the nature of the project, you may be required to interface with the academic community in these fields. You will be a full member of the ACT and therefore expected to contribute to the development and assessment of new concepts and technologies for space applications 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 Team opportunities and needs, you will be involved in a number of other ACT initiatives including studies conducted via the Ariadna scheme ( ) and will also participate in reporting and communicating the Team results 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
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 specifically in complexity science, informatics, computer science, economics or any other relevant field.

Additional requirements

You should have an interdisciplinary mindset and systems thinking.

Excellent programming experience (e.g. Python, C++, C) is required.

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.

What does it mean?

Click "SAVE JOB" to save this job description for later.

Sign up for free to be able to save this job for later.