Internal Research Fellow (PostDoc) in Software Product Assurance

Updated: about 1 month ago

Internal Research Fellowship Opportunity in the Directorate of Technical & Quality Manag.

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 Software Product Assurance Section provides support to ESA projects by ensuring that all requirements specified in applicable documentation are met and that the appropriate development tools and methods are used throughout the entire development life cycle. The Section also offers services for software product evaluation for conformity, software safety and dependability and software process assessment. Some of the activities related to the software engineering aspects will be carried out in collaboration with experts from the Software Technology Section at ESTEC.

You are encouraged to visit the ESA website:

Field(s) of activity/research for the traineeship

The European Space Agency is seeking a post-doctoral researcher to perform an interdisciplinary research activity in software product assurance, including aspects of blockchain and cryptography unlocking solutions for flight software development and software quality assurance. The flight software and all the related development artefacts, including requirements, models, documentation, source code and test evidence, are an integral part of every space mission. The artefacts are generated throughout the entire software development life cycle, which is covered by well-established processes and standards described in ECSS-E-ST-40C and ECSS-Q-ST-80C Rev.1. Distributed ledger technology can bring many benefits to the quality assurance of the software development by increasing transparency and traceability. As the technology is based on cryptography methods, such as hashing and digital signatures, for example, a solid understanding of these methodologies and of secure coding is essential.

For aerospace projects, a tamper-proof way of handling configuration management, product baselines, release management and all the above-mentioned artefacts is desirable. As a member of the Software Product Assurance Section located at ESTEC, you will conduct research into standard software product assurance activities and will also address new methods and tools to further automate and digitalise the software and programmable logic development and quality assurance processes. You will also be involved in developing the software product assurance research roadmap and, in addition, will be required to identify opportunities to collaborate with other Agency research programmes.

Your research activity will include:
•    studying the open literature, scientific publications and standards focusing on software engineering and software product assurance processes;
•    gaining familiarity with software product assurance practices, tools and methods, code quality analysis, secure coding, and related enabling technologies such as blockchain and cryptography;
•    developing a good understanding of the relevant European space standards (ECSS) on software development, programmable logic device development and their quality assurance aspects;
•    identifying life-cycle processes and requirements that may benefit from the adoption of technologies such as blockchain;
•    performing analysis and trade-off and then proposing an approach to address one or more identified improvement opportunities;
•    active participation in conferences and meetings to disseminate your research findings and results;
•    actively contributing to the development of the software product assurance research roadmap.

Technical competencies

Ability to conduct research autonomously

Breadth of exposure coming from past and/or current research/activities

Research/publication record

Knowledge relevant to the field of research

General interest in space and space research

Ability to gather and share relevant information

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 computer science or (software) engineering. Preference will be given to candidates who have been awarded their doctorate within the past five years.

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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