Internal Research Fellow (PostDoc) in Internet of Things Technologies for Spacecraft Operations

Updated: 2 months ago

Internal Research Fellowship Opportunity in the Directorate of Operations.

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 .

ESOC, Darmstadt, Germany  

Our team and mission

You will be based in the Earth Observation Mission Data Systems Section, Mission Operations Data Systems Division, Ground Systems Engineering & Innovation Department.

The Ground Systems Engineering & Innovation Department is responsible for the design and engineering of the flight operations ground segment for all missions operated at ESOC, including research and development (R&D) on related topics such as:

  • satellite monitoring and control solutions, including mission planning and automation;
  • space-to-ground communication solutions, covering all related aspects from physical layer (optical, RF) up to application layer protocols.

The research will be executed in close collaboration with the Future Missions & Architecture Department, Directorate of Earth Observation, for which responsibilities include the definition of concepts of operation and pre-development of associated technologies. Your tasks may therefore involve travel to ESTEC in the Netherlands.

You are encouraged to visit the ESA website:

Field(s) of activity/research for the traineeship

Internet of Things (IoT)-based communication for space missions is a potential-game-changing technology that will impact all aspects of spacecraft operations. Imagine the power of being able to monitor, control and orchestrate several assets in space without the complexity of scheduled communication passes. Today this revolution is accelerated by start-ups and commercial operators with needs for cheap, interconnected, reliable and timely access to and among space assets. In the coming decade, several solutions are expected to reach the market with innovative capabilities, either based on IoT or similar technologies, addressing this need with continuous and low latency communication, typically with low bandwidth.

Your tasks will include:

  • assessing the potential of IoT technologies, both for institutional and commercial missions;
  • performing independent research on the impact of IoT-based communication on operational concepts, ground segment design and secure communication protocols/systems, as well as Monitoring, Control, Automation and Autonomy approaches;
  • elaborating use cases and innovative capabilities enabled by IoT-based communications;
  • interacting with ongoing information security activities to establish an information security concept and architecture allowing the utilisation of IoT-based communication;
  • following-up and contributing to ongoing ESA R&D activities in the field;
  • engaging in building a network of academic partners to accelerate the adoption of new concepts and technologies;
  • defining required R&D activities and creating the ESA R&D roadmap required to promote relevant technologies;
  • contributing to any relevant international standards including coordination with international standardisation and coordination bodies, such as the Consultative Committee for Space Data Systems (CCSDS), European Cooperation for Space Standardization (ECSS) and the Interagency Operations Advisory Group (IOAG).

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.

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.     

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.

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