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Internal Research Fellow (PostDoc) in Model Based Systems Engineering


  • Organization: ESA - European Space Agency
  • Location: Noordwijk-Binnen
  • Grade: Mid level - F2 - Research Fellowship
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Engineering
    • Information Technology and Computer Science
    • Scientist and Researcher
  • Closing Date: 2023-02-15


Internal Research Fellow (PostDoc) in Model Based Systems Engineering

Job Req ID:  17226
Closing Date:  15 February 2023 23:59 CET/CEST
Establishment:  ESTEC, Noordwijk, Netherlands
Directorate:  Directorate of Technology, Engineering and Quality
Publication:  External Only
Vacancy Type:  Internal Research Fellow
Date Posted:  25 January 2023


Internal Research Fellowship 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. 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.


ESTEC, Noordwijk, Netherlands  


Our team and mission

The Systems Engineering Division is responsible for: 

  • providing systems engineering and performance analysis support to all project phases; 
  • managing and performing system studies and activities conducted by D/TEC, in particular investigating and applying new system concepts and architectures to respond to future mission and user needs; 
  • research and development of end-to-end and systems engineering methods; 
  • managing internal pre-Phase A mission and system design studies, including trade-offs performed using the Concurrent Design Facility (CDF, and with the participation of ad hoc interdisciplinary teams from ESA; 
  • providing cost estimates and cost engineering analysis, including developing databases and tools, in support of programmes and projects, as well as internal mission and system design studies executed in the CDF, technology developments and future space systems; 
  • developing cost engineering methodologies and improving overall Agency capability in cost analysis; 
  • developing systems engineering standards in the framework of ECSS and ESA standardisation boards.


You are encouraged to visit the ESA website:

Field(s) of activity/research for the traineeship

If selected for this position, you will conduct research in the area of model-based systems engineering (MBSE), with a particular focus on the application of the methodology and its tools to the needs of space mission design and developments in ESA programmes and projects, aiming to improve processes and target project life cycle cost, schedule reduction and quality improvement.


The purpose of the research fellowship is to perform applied research in MBSE and propose, implement and validate solutions to the theoretical and practical issues arising during the development of a space mission life cycle while ensuring synergy with the past and ongoing developments in digital engineering and MBSE within the Agency.


You will, in particular:

  • analyse the needs and requirements in model-based systems engineering for space missions and the areas in which the application of the methodology and technology would bring substantial benefits;
  • collaborate on the definition and prototype implementation of technology solutions to evolve the adoption of MBSE from the system to the subsystem level, leveraging the experience and achievements of the preliminary systems applications and the technology already developed;
  • analyse state-of-the-art methodologies and technologies and assess the potential for their incorporation in space applications, performing practical experiments where possible to validate this potential;
  • identify technology gaps in driving future developments as input to the relevant ESA technology roadmaps;
  • contribute to semantic interoperability, i.e. how to use the conceptual data models (ontologies) in order to drive data exchange within the model-based system factory;
  • support the ESA project teams to adopt MBSE and advise on the best modelling strategy for the needs identified, potentially providing hands-on training to non-experts as required;
  • identify innovative methods to capture system requirements and architectures in user-friendly ways (visualisation, augmented reality, immersive presence, digital assistants, etc.) to lower the acceptance threshold with a wide variety of stakeholders;
  • investigate methods to derive knowledge from data available in both legacy and MBSE model artifacts (for example using natural language processing, artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques) to improve data quality and model creation and maintenance while promoting reuse;
  • interface with the ESA Digital Spacecraft and MBSE teams to ensure harmonisation of the methodology and technology developments in the existing digitalisation technology roadmaps;
  • actively participate in the dissemination of the results achieved within the Agency and with the European space community; contribute to working groups to drive forward the state of practice.

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 


You should have recently completed, or be close to completion of a PhD in a related technical or scientific discipline. Preference  will  be  given  to applications submitted by candidates within  five  years of receiving their PhD. In particular for this position, the following is required:

PhD in systems engineering, computer science or informatics; the subject of your thesis should be relevant to the task description provided above (e.g. model-based approach, etc.)

Additional requirements

You should hold a degree in systems engineering, computer science, informatics or a related field. 

You should have good interpersonal and communication skills, with a proactive and positive attitude, in order to interact with the systems engineering and MBSE community and should be able to work in a multicultural environment, both independently and as part of a team. Good methodological and organisational skills are required. 


You should have the ability to become actively involved in prospective interdisciplinary research and an interest in doing so, as well as an interest in space.
You will ideally have:

  • a theoretical (academic) background in order to maintain, taking a model-based approach, the rigour required for a strong semantic approach suitable for the (automated) verification of models and potential automatic generation of artefacts.
  • the system perspective necessary to build up a multi-model approach based on particular views of the system (data and spacecraft database view, real-time and interaction pattern view, dependability view, hardware deployment view, etc.).
  • an awareness and vision of the processes and tools enabling definition of the toolset architecture.
  • the ability to communicate with a diverse range of stakeholders, convert their needs and concerns into practical solutions based on sound model-based engineering principles, and support them in the transition from idea to solution.
  • a pragmatic approach to enable, based on knowledge of the practices acquired during the activity, adaptation of theory to actual industrial needs with the aim of improving industrial competitiveness.


This position, located at the intersection between academic approaches and industrial applications and of model-based techniques and systems engineering, is central to current embedded system challenges. It also provides an opportunity to transition gradually from an academic to an industrial perspective.

Experience with model-based system engineering tools and languages must be demonstrated convincingly as part of your application. Solid software engineering skills are considered a major asset as a significant part of the work will involve integrating or adopting existing tools or developing new tools or add-ons to resolve the gaps identified.

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.

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.