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Exploration Scientist - Space Biology

Noordwijk-Binnen (Netherlands)

  • Organization: ESA - European Space Agency
  • Location: Noordwijk-Binnen (Netherlands)
  • Grade: A2 - Grade band - Junior level
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Biology and Chemistry
    • Outer space and satellite technology
    • Scientist and Researcher
    • Innovations for Sustainable Development
    • Civil Society and Local governance
  • Closing Date: 2021-11-07

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Vacancy in the Directorate of Human and Robotic Exploration Programmes.


ESA is an equal opportunity employer, committed to achieving diversity within the workforce and creating an inclusive working environment. We therefore welcome applications from all qualified candidates irrespective of gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, beliefs, age, disability or other characteristics. Applications from women are encouraged.


This is a non-renewable post for a limited duration of 4 years and is classified A2-A4 on the Coordinated Organisations’ salary scale.


ESTEC, Noordwijk, Netherlands  



Portfolio Scientist - Space Biology in the SciSpacE Team, Research and Utilisation Group, Directorate of Human & Robotic Exploration Programmes. 

If appointed to this post, you will report to the SciSpacE Team leader and your duties will include:


Community Engagement

  • Representing ESA to the external scientific community with an interest in space biology;
  • Maintaining awareness of trends in research and development in or related to space biology that could support the ESA Human and Robotic Exploration science programme;
  • Participating in relevant scientific associations and conferences in order to provide communication on the ESA Human and Robotic Exploration science programme;
  • Working with the European and international science community to advance the ESA Human and Robotic Exploration programme.


Science Selection

  • Writing, updating, and managing science selection processes such as Announcements of Opportunity and research calls for space research led by ESA or ESA’s participation in international calls, including communicating the process and results to the European science community;
  • Identifying peer reviewers and coordinating the review process for science selection


Science Implementation

  • Leading the definition of experimental/scientific requirements for space biology activities implemented by ESA and coordinating science teams with international partners as required;
  • Ensuring the creation of and adherence to the data management plan associated with space biology activity;
  • Safeguarding scientific requirements associated with ESA payloads and research throughout the life cycle of the space activity or mission;
  • Monitoring associated technology developments and tracking scientific performance through the life cycle of space missions;
  • Advising project/mission managers on technical and operational aspects that may affect science objectives;
  • Providing scientific input and guidance to the execution of mission operations on crewed and robotic missions;
  • Providing support to ESA Human and Robotic Exploration studies or projects linked to space biology;
  • Coordinating post-mission reporting and tracking results in the form of scientific publications resulting from the science activity;
  • Ensuring that science activities are reported, and data is maintained in the appropriate reporting tools.


Science Development, Planning and Strategy

  • Providing in-depth scientific expertise and support to development of ESA elements of science strategy, science policy and/or science planning;
  • Identifying and supporting collaborative activities within ESA, within Europe and internationally to promote ESA space biology interests;
  • Actively pursuing personal scientific research, participating in research activities without perceived or real conflict of interest.


Support to the European Space Agency:

  • Preparing reports related to ESA science activities for presentation internally/externally, including to ESA’s advisory structure;
  • Supporting ESA outreach, communication and education activities related to Human and Robotic Exploration science;
  • Promoting ESA’s activities and scientific results to a variety of audiences, including the general public;
  • Supervising young graduate trainees, internship students, research fellows and/or persons involved in other similar programmes, in their own space biology-related area of expertise as required.

Technical competencies

Understanding the current state of scientific knowledge in an area of relevance to space biology
Research/publication record
Knowledge of ESA and its programmes/projects
Knowledge of international scientific community
Experience of the organisation of international scientific projects or campaigns
Experience in science management in either academia, industry, or government

Behavioural competencies

Result Orientation
Operational Efficiency
Fostering Cooperation
Relationship Management
Continuous Learning
Forward Thinking


A PhD in an area relevant to space biology, including but not limited to, radiation, biostatistics, cell biology, tissue engineering, molecular biology, or microbiology is required for this position.

Additional requirements

While not essential, your application may be strengthened if you also meet other criteria, as listed below.

Applicants with experience in:

  • space research
  • multi-disciplinary science teams
  • leading a complex, science project
  • working with a national or international organisation or space agency

Applicants with demonstrated:

  • leadership capabilities and an aptitude for relationship management
  • ability to work well in a dynamic, complex, high-pressure environment
  • excellent communications skills
  • organisational skills

Other information

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

The Agency may require applicants to undergo selection tests.


At the Agency we value diversity and we welcome people with disabilities. Whenever possible, we seek to accommodate individuals with disabilities by providing the necessary support at the workplace. The Human Resources Department can also provide assistance during the recruitment process. If you would like to discuss this further please contact us at


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, the United Kingdom and Canada, Latvia, Lithuania and Slovenia.


According to the ESA Convention the recruitment of staff must take into account an adequate distribution of posts among nationals of the ESA Member States. When short-listing for an interview, priority will first be given to internal candidates and secondly to external candidates from under-represented Member States. (

In view of the limited duration of this post, internal candidates are strongly advised to contact their HR advisor before applying.


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. 


Recruitment will normally be at the first grade in the band (A2); however, if the candidate selected has little or no experience, the position may be filled at A1 level.

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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