Intern in the Science and Operations Department

Updated: 2 months ago
Deadline: 30 Nov 2022

Internship Opportunity in the Directorate of Science.

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.


Our team and mission

The Science and Operations Department is responsible for ensuring that maximum scientific return, within applicable constraints, is maintained as an objective for the Directorate’s missions through their lifetime, by providing scientific oversight of the Directorate’s missions throughout their lifecycle, managing and being responsible for the operation of the Directorate’s missions once successfully commissioned, and curating the scientific data in their legacy phase, while establishing and maintaining the necessary science interfaces to the community. These responsibilities are discharged in full coordination with the Directorate’s Departments and Offices and, as appropriate, with the Directorate of Operations.

Over half of the scientific return of ESA’s space missions is achieved through the indirect/archival use of the missions’ data. The Data Science and Archive Division, hence, develops, runs, and maintains the Data Science infrastructure and tools as well as Science Data Archives, providing long-term access to data, including to the associated software and information, and the data science tools allowing to enhance the science operations and science exploitation of the missions’ data.

For further information visit our web site:

For the detailed topics descriptions please go to this web page:

Field(s) of activity for the internship

You can choose between the following topics:

1) Topic 1: Build Survey analytics platform with Apache Spark v3

The aim of this internship project is to evolve a proof of concept using Apache Spark v3.3.0 to provide added value tools as part of the Euclid archive infrastructure. The Euclid mission will generate petabytes of data and therefore a computing intensive platform close to the data is essential to perform investigations. The project will cover the following main points: Deploy Apache Spark cluster v3.x on Kubernetes cluster, run simple examples on Spark running on Kubernetes, build a multintenant Jupyter Lab environment and build Machine Learning techniques. 

2) Topic 2: Beauty in astronomy, a ML-recommender system

Recent advances in supervised machine learning (ML) applied in the field of computer vision allow the identification of complex features such as the style of an image. This gives rise to many potential applications ranging from neural style transfer to generation of new images. Given public interest in ESA missions that provide visual artifacts we are looking to research the aesthetics involved in observations from planetary, heliophysics and astronomy missions.
The goal of the project is to build a small application that enables users to access visually appealing ESA space science data from the European Space Data Centre (ESDC) through a recommender engine. This could later on be coupled with other systems, recommending these nice images based on parameters such as dates (when data was obtained), location (in the universe), features (planets, galaxies, …).

3) Topic 3: Studying the First Galaxies with the James Webb Space Telescope
Understanding the formation of the first sources that reionised the early Universe is one of the major goals of contemporary astronomy. To this end, this project will focus on finding and studying the ultra-high redshift galaxies in the first billion years after the Big Bang using this early imaging data from JWST. You will learn photometry techniques to construct multiwavelength photometry catalogues, as well as deriving galaxy properties such as photometric redshifts, luminosities, stellar masses, and star-formation rates. The study will also potentially provide targets for spectroscopic observations with JWST and it is therefore an excellent opportunity to get involved with JWST work and planning JWST observations. The results of the project could also potentially lay the foundation of a paper.

Behavioural competencies

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


You must have student status and be enrolled at university for the entire duration of the internship. You should preferably be in your final or second to last year of a university course at master’s level in a technical or scientific discipline.

Additional requirements

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.

Educational knowledge:

1) Topic 1:

  • Some programming skills will be helpful (e.g. Python, SQL, Java, ...).
  • Knowledge of Apache Spark, Jupyter Notebooks, Docker and Kubernetes similar will be an asset.

2) Topic 2:

  • Software development (Python).
  • Machine learning engineering.

3) Topic 3: 

  • Astrophysics background and understanding of statistics.
  • Some experience with coding languages (like Python, Matlab, IDL etc) is essential.
  • Some experience with Unix is beneficial. 
  • Knowledge of image analysis software like SExtractor, IRAF would be an asset. 

Other information

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

If you require support with your application due to a disability, please email .

Internships can take place remotely, on-site or partially on-site depending on the pandemic situation, and in line with the relevant Establishment’s policy (e.g. possible Green Pass requirement) applicable at the time of starting the internship.


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).

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