Internal Research Fellow (PostDoc) in Optical Instrument Performance Enhancement Techniques

Updated: 12 days ago

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 post will be open in the Optics Section, Mechatronics and Optics Division, Mechanical Department, Directorate of Technology, Engineering and Quality.

The Optics Section provides functional support to ESA projects and carries out technology research and development (R&D) in optics for space applications. The Optics Section’s activities cover the development of novel optical systems, such as spectro-radiometric imaging instruments, operating from the UV to the far infrared spectral range, and interferometers, including the relevant optical ground equipment for their verification and characterisation.

The Optics Section is responsible for developing a broad range of technologies addressing optical components and related processes, such as for polarizers, gratings, coatings, lenses, mirrors and the metrology of optical components. Significant work is also carried out on the development of technologies for the next generation of X-ray space telescopes.

You are encouraged to visit the ESA website:

Field(s) of activity/research for the traineeship

You will study and explore novel methods to ensure and improve the radiometric and imaging performance of optical instruments through dedicated hardware measures, instrument characterisation and post-processing algorithms.

In particular, your research activities will include:
•    exploration of novel characterisation and calibration techniques for spectro-radiometric instruments to improve the fidelity of the radiometric data.
•    study of straylight characterisation techniques and correction algorithms.
•    investigation of methods for onboard aberration control including image analysis/metrology, definition of algorithms and correction.

Some of the topics will include experimental verification activities and require hands-on experience.

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 completing a PhD in optics or physics.
Preference will be given to applications submitted by candidates who have received their PhD within the past five years. 

Additional requirements

You should also have:

  • the ability to perform conceptual optical design, performance analysis and radiometric budgeting of optical instrumentation.
  • knowledge of test and verification methods for optical instrumentation.
  • the capability to develop algorithms, and to process and analyse data using appropriate software tools.

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 [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, 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, Croatia 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 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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