Interior and Exterior Fields Earth Scientist

Updated: about 2 months ago

Vacancy 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. 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  


Scientist in the Earth Surfaces and Interior Section of the Earth and Mission Science Division of the Climate Action, Sustainability and Science Department, Directorate of Earth Observation Programmes.

You will be expected to work closely with the Future Missions and Architecture, Projects, and Mission Management and Ground Segments Departments to perform delegated activities requiring the Earth Surfaces and Interior Section’s scientific expertise and manpower support.


Under the authority of the Head of the Earth Surfaces and Interior Section of the Earth and Mission Science Division, your main tasks and responsibilities will include:

  • providing mission scientist and scientific support to internal and external field missions and complementary Earth observing systems, ensuring that the payload and the end-to-end system designs fulfil mission requirements during the preparation of new mission ideas and concepts, as part of the development and implementation for approved missions; 
  • supporting scientific exploitation of measurements, and data, innovation and science cluster activities of missions in operations, such as Swarm; 
  • establishing, maintaining and convening international advisory groups relating to Earth Observation missions; 
  • initiating and conducting in-house and external scientific studies supporting mission development and implementation, geophysical algorithm development and related research activities; 
  • organising mission-specific science workshops and conferences;
  • providing scientific support and advice to Earth Observation mission teams across the FutureEO, Earth Watch, Copernicus or Operational Meteorology Programme domains, including maintenance of the external interface with the European Commission and/or EUMETSAT for the corresponding advisory structures;
  • providing support to the identification and critical review of scientific challenges, EO user community requirements, new and innovative scientific measurement concepts and the interests and aspirations of the communities concerned;
  • managing the implementation of independent peer reviews of mission ideas or concept proposals in response to Agency Calls or Announcements of Opportunity, as well as preparing evaluation reports; 
  • managing and leading the advancement and assessment of Scientific Readiness Levels including internal and external assessments of mission ideas;
  • communicating research results in connection with ESA’s Earth Observation missions and serving as an ESA ambassador at relevant events, such as scientific conferences and during user consultations;
  • preparing Announcements of Opportunity, implementing, managing and monitoring external scientific study contracts and related key performance indicators, and quarterly reporting.

Technical competencies

Knowledge of the scientific discipline, including strategic vision in the Earth Observation area

Knowledge of ESA Earth surfaces missions under study or implementation

Knowledge of the role of mission science during different mission phases

Knowledge of the relevant Earth Observation scientific user community

Behavioural competencies

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


A PhD in a relevant scientific discipline is required for this post.

Additional requirements

You must demonstrate at least five years of experience in a relevant scientific discipline after you completed your PhD.

You must contribute proven Earth Observation research experience and demonstrated credibility in the domain of internal and external Earth fields, with a special focus on ionosphere- and thermosphere-related science.

Proven experience in managing exploratory activities for EO missions in operations, such as Swarm, is required, as is demonstrated experience in leading and managing international studies in the relevant scientific field. 

Particular importance will be attached to your knowledge and experience of research mission evaluation and selection processes, while knowledge of related activities carried out in other ESA directorates, such as SCI, would be an asset, as would familiarity with the Heliophysics in Europe concept established by ESA.

You must have the demonstrated ability to work closely with international experts and relevant scientific organisations and bodies and to function in a team environment.  

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 email [email protected] .


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. When short-listing for an interview, priority will first be given to internal candidates.

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. 

In principle, recruitment will be within the advertised grade band (A2-A4). However, if the selected candidate has less than four years of relevant professional experience following the completion of the master’s degree, the position may be filled at A1 level. 

*Member States, Associate Members or Cooperating States.

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