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Internal Research Fellow in Earth Observation for Earth System Science (2 posts)


  • Organization: ESA - European Space Agency
  • Location: Frascati
  • Grade: Mid level - F2 - Research Fellowship
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Environment
    • Outer space and satellite technology
    • Scientist and Researcher
  • Closing Date: Closed


Internal Research Fellow in Earth Observation for Earth System Science (2 posts)

Job Req ID:  16635
Closing Date:  9 February 2023 23:59 CET/CEST
Establishment:  ESRIN, Frascati, Italy
Directorate:  Directorate of Earth Observation Programmes
Publication:  External Only
Vacancy Type:  Internal Research Fellow
Date Posted:  19 January 2023


Internal Research Fellowship Opportunity in the Directorate of Earth Observation Programmes.


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


This post is classified F2 on the Coordinated Organisations’ salary scale.


ESRIN, Frascati, Italy  


Our team and mission

Reporting to  the Head of the Science Section in the Data Applications Division within the Science, Applications and Climate Department of the Directorate of Earth Observation Programmes, you will work in close cooperation with other staff of the Directorate of Earth Observation Programmes.


The Science Section is a dynamic R&D team leading EO research and Earth system science activities, in partnership with European and international scientific groups. Visit our web site for an overview of our activities:


You will be part of the Earth System Science Hub a new science facility in ESA and center for networking and scientific collaboration among world-class researchers in ESA Member States (MS) and worldwide. The Hub will bring together young and senior scientists of different disciplines in Earth Observation and Earth System Science to contribute to develop the next generation of EO products and jointly address some of the major science challenges of this decade. 


The Hub will also contribute to develop a solid scientific basis for the implementation and evolution of “Digital Twin Earth” (an advanced high-resolution replica of our planet, its processes and its interactions with human activities and ecosystems).


You are encouraged to visit the ESA website:

Field(s) of activity/research for the traineeship

You will be responsible for different activities including:


  1. Undertaking advanced research activities addressing major observational gaps and scientific priorities in EO and Earth system science. Research will cover a wide range of innovative topics from the development of novel methods, algorithms and EO products to innovative Earth system and climate research.
  2. Contribute to develop an advanced reconstruction of the Earth system establishing a solid scientific basis for the implementation and evolution of Digital Twin Earth, by undertaking collaborative research across domains in collaboration with ESA experts and international scientists and science teams.
  3. Support the definition, technical supervision and coordination of scientific exploitation projects carried out by external teams of experts and scientists, in all areas of EO research and Earth system science.
  4. Maintain a continuous dialogue with the scientific communities, including major international programmes and initiatives and partner space agencies (e.g., NASA) preparation of the scientific agenda driving future ESA activities and plans.

Field(s) of activity/research for the traineeship

As Research Fellow, you will be involved in the scientific activities of the Science Section within one of the following thematic priorities:


  • Terrestrial carbon cycle: enhancing our capacity to observe, quantify and understand the terrestrial carbon cycle, its sensitivity to climate change and its interactions with human activities and land use (e.g., agriculture, forestry, energy, water consumption). Activities shall particularly focus on synergistic use of novel capabilities (e.g., Copernicus Sentinels, FLEX, BIOMASS, novel national and international missions). The candidate will also contribute to the coordination and implementation of ESA carbon science cluster: carbon
  • Ocean science: with focus on exploiting the latest advances in EO satellite technology for enhancing our observation capacity and fundamental scientific understanding of the ocean’s role in the Earth and climate system. Priorities include: e.g., ocean carbon cycle, ocean extremes, coastal processes, Polar oceans, ocean health and marine biology and ecosystems. The candidate will also contribute to the coordination and implementation of the activities of the ESA Ocean science cluster:
  • Polar science and cryosphere research: with focus on advancing our EO-based capacity to observe, understand and predict the onset and amplitude of changes in Polar regions, its associated processes and potential impacts: ice sheets, glaciers and ice caps dynamics, ice shelves-ocean-atmosphere interactions, snow processes and SMB, active lakes and sub-subface processes, permafrost, sea-ice and polar ocean studies. The candidate will also contribute to the coordination and implementation of the activities of the ESA Polar science cluster:
  • Atmosphere research: Advancing EO-based atmospheric observations from existing and heritage missions (e.g., Sentinel-5p, Aeolus, GOME, GOME-2, SCIAMACHY, GOMOS, MIPAS) and its use in atmospheric research and Earth system science. Special attention will be given to new missions such as EarthCARE or FLEX. Priorities include CO2, CH4 and other GHGs, aerosols and clouds interactions, high-resolution air quality and preparation of future missions, e.g. CO2M, Sentinel-4, Sentinel-5, Altius and FORUM are also in focus. The candidate will also contribute to the coordination and implementation of the activities of the ESA Atmosphere science cluster:

You shall indicate in the proposal the preferred Theme.

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
Ability to gather and share relevant information
General interest in space and space research

Behavioural competencies

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


A PhD in physics, engineering or Earth system science with research experience and peer-reviewed publications in relevant topics for the fields of research proposed is required for this post.

Additional requirements

You should also have :


  • proven research experience based on the use of relevant satellite measurements. 
  • science software development experience and programming skills are also required.
  • additional experience in modelling will be an asset.
  • good analytical and communication skills and should be able to work in a multi-cultural environment in an autonomous manner. 


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.


For further information on the Internal Research Fellowship Programme please visit: Internal Research Fellowship


The Agency may require applicants to undergo selection tests.


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.

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, and the United Kingdom. Nationals from Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia and Slovenia, as Associate Member States, or Canada as a Cooperating State, can apply as well as those from Bulgaria and Cyprus as European Cooperating States (ECS).

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 candidates from under-represented or balanced 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 conducted by an external background screening service. 

*Member States, Associate Members or Cooperating States.

This vacancy is now closed.
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