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Internal Research Fellow (PostDoc) in Artificial Intelligence (AI) Onboard Satellite

Noordwijk-Binnen (Netherlands)

  • Organization: ESA - European Space Agency
  • Location: Noordwijk-Binnen (Netherlands)
  • Grade: F2 - Research Fellowship - Mid level
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Outer space and satellite technology
    • Scientist and Researcher
    • Information Technology and Computer Science
    • Innovations for Sustainable Development
    • Security and Safety
  • Closing Date: 2020-12-20

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EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY

Research Fellowship Opportunity in the Directorate of EO 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.

Post
Internal Research Fellow (PostDoc) in Artificial Intelligence (AI) Onboard Satellite

This post is classified F2.

Location
ESTEC, Noordwijk, The Netherlands  

Our team and mission

As one of the Copernicus High Priority Candidate Missions (HPCMs), Sentinel CHIME (Copernicus Hyperspectral Imaging Mission for the Environment) aims to augment the Copernicus space component with precise spectroscopic measurements to derive quantitative surface characteristics supporting the monitoring, implementation and improvement of a range of policies in the domain of raw materials, agriculture, soils, food security, biodiversity, environmental degradation and hazards, inland and coastal waters, snow, forestry and the urban environment. For this, a hyperspectral mission is currently being developed which will make it possible to collect a large amount of data with high spatial, temporal and spectral resolution. In order to handle the resulting data volumes, CHIME will play a pathfinder role for on-board data processing bridging the gap between the latest state-of-the-art research, newest Earth observation applications and on-board processing technology development. In this context, Artificial Intelligence (AI)-powered automatic retrieval/analysis of the hyperspectral Earth observation imagery from the satellite’s onboard sensor is currently subject to intensive investigations, among other things for pre-filtering of Earth observation data so that only relevant parts of the image with usable information are downlinked to the ground, thereby improving bandwidth utilisation and significantly reducing aggregated downlink costs. In parallel, AI and related machine learning is in the focus of improving the retrieval accuracy of geo-biophysical variables from the hyperspectral datasets.

Recently, the first AI technology carried on board a European Earth observation mission, ɸ-sat-1, launched from Europe’s spaceport in French Guiana provided an enhancement of the Federated Satellite Systems mission (FSSCat). This pioneering AI technology is the first experiment to improve the efficiency of sending vast quantities of data back to Earth, using on-board AI techniques.

The purpose of this Research Fellowship is to investigate potential AI approaches to support higher- accuracy geo-bio-physical variable retrieval from massive CHIME data sets. In addition, the prefiltering of relevant (e.g. cloud-) contaminated data on board the satellite after data acquisition for transmission down to ground depending on ground targets needs is to be analysed and tested.

Field(s) of activities/research/learning areas

Your work will focus on onboard data processing (AI) helping to bridge the gap between the latest state-of-the-art research, the newest Earth observation applications and currently ongoing CHIME on-board processing technology development.

Depending on your previous research experience, you are invited to suggest topics in the following areas:

  • Implementing CCSDS 123.0-B-2 (lossless and near lossless) or optimised forms of the standard;
  • Developing new algorithms for onboard (on-ground) AI implementation depending on processing architectures (inline and/or offline);
  • Implementing and testing new algorithms or scenarios with existing CHIME End-to-End simulator;
  • Testing AI-based selective data reduction and compression schemes, e.g., for latency and frame loss;
  • Developing and testing novel algorithms for hyperspectral image processing for geo-bio-physical variable extraction, e.g., for Feature / Information Extraction or Super resolution.


In particular, your activities will comprise:

  • Proposing and performing research in one of the above domains, bringing the power of novel on-board processing technologies and AI-based algorithms to Earth observation;
  • Publishing results in peer-reviewed publications;
  • Sharing your research at conferences and workshops, as well as using modern communication tools (webinars, Jupiter Notebooks, social media).
Technical competencies
Knowledge relevant to the field of research
Research/publication record
Ability to conduct research autonomously
Breadth of exposure coming from past and/or current research/activities
General interest in space and space research
Ability to gather and share relevant information
Behavioural competencies
Innovation & Creativity
Continuous Learning
Communication
Relationship Management
Self Motivation
Problem Solving
Cross-Cultural Sensitivity
Education

You should have recently completed, or be close to completion of a PhD in Applied Mathematics, Information Technology or similar Engineering domains preferably with Earth observation application experience. Preference will be given to candidates awarded their doctorate within the past five years.

Additional requirements

A solid AI-related Information Technology background with preferable background in Earth observation image processing is expected. Proven experience in artificial intelligence, data science, hyperspectral image processing, computer vision and optics are considered strong assets. Solid programming skills in Python, Matlab, C++ or other high-level programming languages are essential.

Other requirements include:

  • In-depth knowledge and interest in themes of interest,
  • Ability to work cooperatively in a multi-disciplinary team, as well as individually on personal research projects and direction,
  • Proven experience in leading research, with track record of publications,
  • Experience in academic networking to build links with universities and research institutes, at national and international levels,
  • Natural curiosity and passion for new subjects, methodologies and research areas.

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.

Other information

For behavioural competencies expected from ESA staff in general, please refer to the ESA Competency Framework.

The Agency may require applicants to undergo selection tests.

The closing date for applications is 20 December 2020.

In addition to your CV and your motivation letter, please add your proposal of no more than 5 pages outlining your proposed research in the "additional documents" field of the "application information" section.


If you require support with your application due to a disability, please email contact.human.resources@esa.int.

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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 Latvia and Slovenia, as Associate Member States, or Canada as a Cooperating State, can apply as well as those from Bulgaria, Cyprus, 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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