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Optical Instrument Engineer

  • Organization: ESA - European Space Agency
  • Location:
  • Grade: Level not specified - Level not specified
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Engineering
    • Physics and Mathematics
    • Outer space and satellite technology
  • Closing Date: 2022-12-12


Vacancy 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. 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 post is classified A2-A4 on the Coordinated Organisations’ salary scale.


ESTEC, Noordwijk, Netherlands  



Optical Instrument Engineer in the Optics Section, Mechatronics and Optics Division, Mechanical Department, Directorate of Technology, Engineering and Quality.


The Optics Section provides functional support to ESA projects and carries out technology research (R&D) in optics for space applications. The Section’s activities cover the development of novel optical systems, such as spectroradiometric imaging instruments, operating from the UV to the infrared spectral range, and interferometers, including the associated optical ground equipment. 


The Optics Section is responsible for developing a broad range of technologies addressing optical components and processes, such as polarisers, gratings, coatings, polishing methodologies and the metrology of optical components. Another significant focus is the development of technologies for the next generation of X-ray space telescopes.


Reporting to the Head of Section within the technical fields described above, your main tasks and responsibilities will include:


•    providing expert technical support and consultancy to ESA projects, programmes and general studies for the development of optical space instrumentation throughout all project phases;
•    participating in feasibility studies for optical instruments, project reviews and the evaluation of procurement proposals;
•    identifying critical development problems and assisting in their resolution;
•    contributing to the definition of technology development plans for the Agency’s technology programmes;
•    defining, initiating and managing R&D activities covering both long- and short-term needs;
•    fostering new application areas for multidisciplinary activities, placing emphasis on innovative concepts, cutting-edge technologies and system architectures;
•    contributing to laboratory activities related to the testing and characterisation of optical components and instrumentation;
•    monitoring relevant scientific and technological trends and maintaining state-of-the-art expertise;
•    contributing to the dissemination of the results of technology development activities and the transfer of knowledge within the Agency. 


Your duties may also include providing support for other activities within your area of competence.


Technical competencies

General background and specific experience in the technical domains covered by the position
Experience with optical design, optical performance and generic data analysis and the associated software tools
Knowledge of relevant technologies for the design, manufacturing and testing of optical instruments
Knowledge of R&D trends and the industrial landscape in the field of optical instrumentation
Hands-on experience in assembly, integration and testing/verification of optical instrumentation
Experience with optical systems laboratories and testing
Experience in managing and monitoring industrial activities, including participation in reviews

Behavioural competencies

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


A master’s degree or equivalent in optical engineering or applied physics is required. 

Additional requirements

•    Experience in optical component manufacturing technologies, the associated challenges and knowledge of state-of-the art performances; 
•    The ability to perform conceptual and detailed optical design and performance analysis of optical instrumentation using appropriate software tools; 
•    Knowledge of test and verification methods for optical components and optical instrumentation; 
•    Basic knowledge of other engineering areas (e.g. mechanical, thermal, materials) would be considered an asset. 

Other information

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

For further information please visit: Professionals,What we offerand FAQ  


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


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.

*Member States, Associate Members or Cooperating States.

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.