Head of the System and Applications Engineering Division

Updated: about 1 month ago
Job Type: Permanent
Deadline: 29 Aug 2022

Vacancy in the Directorate of Operations.

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 A5 on the Coordinated Organisations’ salary scale.

ESOC, Darmstadt, Germany


Head of the System and Applications Engineering Division in the Ground Systems Engineering and Innovation Department of the Directorate of Operations.


Under the direct authority of the Head of the Ground Systems Engineering and Innovation Department, the Head of the System and Applications Engineering Division is a member of the Department Management Team and is jointly responsible for implementing the Department's strategy and related change process. The successful candidate will also be responsible for ground system and applications engineering and innovation activities in the domain of ground data systems, and for coordinating such activities across the Department, where an end-to-end system perspective is relevant and/or to exploit commonalities and synergies beyond the Division.

As Head of Division your responsibilities will include:

  • engineering of software infrastructure, systems and applications required for mission operations or by space programmes for various purposes, and their management throughout the end-to-end lifecycle. This includes the implementation of the Multi-Mission Programme under the programmatic lead of the Multi-Mission Programme Manager, mission control systems, mission planning systems, simulators and data processing systems, among others: 
  • delivery of the systems and provision of the associated development, maintenance and user support in line with customer requirements. You will be responsible for the associated internal resources and industrial contracts, and will (co-)chair the end-to-end governance at system and applications level, from conception to end-of-life. Efficiency, result orientation and customer focus are key;
  • leading European space sector efforts in the ground system and applications engineering domain, fostering innovation, commercialisation and enlargement of the department’s footprint in ESA’s Member States. You will coordinate the Department's overall efforts in in accordance within agreed strategic priorities;
  • leading spin-in of advanced technologies and methodologies for system and applications engineering across the Department, particularly in key strategic areas like automation and ground cybersecurity engineering. You will establish and manage the associated Centres of Excellence and Communities of Practise;
  • leading R&D activities in the Division's domain of responsibility and providing internal strategic coordination of the Department's R&D activities in alignment with a joint strategy and governance;
  • leading standardisation and European harmonisation efforts in the Division's domain of responsibility, in particular in international fora like ECSS and CCSDS, and managing the Directorate’s standardisation programme, relying on its domains of competence;
  • managing and transforming the Directorate’s software licensing with a focus on establishing and managing of open-source communities. You will develop and manage representative IV&V environments to be used throughout the systems lifecycle from end-to-end,  supporting operational validation activities as required;
  • transforming staff competences to meet current and future strategic needs.

Technical competencies

Demonstrated System and Software Engineering Competencies.

Proven Engineering and Management Capabilities of Complex Systems.

Knowledge of new technologies and trends and their applicability to the division domain of responsibility. Demonstrated ability to spin-in innovation and successfully manage change.

Strong Competence in Eliciting and Capturing Customer Needs.

Demonstrated record of delivering innovative, efficient and operable systems within time, quality and budget, and to the highest customer satisfaction.

Behavioural competencies

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


Master's degree in engineering or computer science. General management and business administration qualifications are an asset.

Additional requirements

You should further have:

  • proven experience of leading, motivating and developing a team;
  • the ability to provide strategic direction to the individuals and teams within the Division and to relate team objectives to the overall, evolving organisational goals and context;
  • the ability to drive performance and foster cooperation within and across teams throughout the organisation;
  • demonstrated excellent leadership, relationship management and communication skills, both oral and written;
  • a proven track record of representing the Agency’s interests to external interfaces;
  • excellent cognitive, analytical, delegation, planning and organisational skills;
  • the ability to anticipate problems, solve complex issues and relate situations to their context;
  • the ability to make solution-oriented, pragmatic and timely decisions of a high standard and with integrity and to support others (team members, upper management, other stakeholders) in this process.

People management experience is an asset, as is international experience, i.e. outside your home country, as well as experience in diverse functional areas relevant to ESA activities.

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 offer   and 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 at contact.human.resources@esa.int .


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 or balanced Member States*.
(https://esamultimedia.esa.int/docs/careers/NationalityTargets.pdf )

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.

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