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Young Graduate Trainee for Advanced Concepts in Biomimetics

  • Organization: ESA - European Space Agency
  • Location:
  • Grade: F1 - Young Graduate Trainee - Junior level
  • Occupational Groups:
  • 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 Advanced Concepts in Biomimetics

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 ACT 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 your activity in the field of biomimetics focusing on space applications. Biomimetics, or biomimicry, is the systematic study of the animal and plant kingdoms in search of inspiration and ideas to be transferred to technological devices, algorithms or engineering systems. Since living organisms have evolved over millions of years in a competitive environment, biomimetic ideas and practices inherently possess interesting traits, like efficiency in terms of energy and resource usage, and sustainability. These traits make biomimicry a compelling inspiration pool for space applications. Recent past ACT projects in the field included spider silk-based sensors, exploratory behaviour inspired by seed dispersal, improved light trapping microstructures for solar cells, neuromorphic sensing of optical flow for autonomous landing and undulatory aquatic locomotion for underwater robotics

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

  • identifying and monitoring advanced trends in biomimetics (you are encouraged to refer to Bioinspiration & Biomimetics or other biology-related resources, e.g. Journal of Experimental Biology).
  • selecting and developing at least one specific research study focusing on a new engineering system or algorithm of relevance to space and derived from the outstanding properties of a specific natural system.
  • consolidating and further developing at least one project in collaboration with the ACT Research Fellow in biomimetics.

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 participate in reporting and communicating 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 biomimetics, biology, natural science, bioengineering or, eventually, another discipline having a solid biomimetics focus.

Additional requirements

Experiences in computational analysis/modelling of biological systems are considered strong assets.

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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