Internal Research Fellow (PostDoc) in the Directorate of Science at ESTEC, ESAC or STScl

Updated: 6 months ago
Deadline: The position may have been removed or expired!

Internal Research Fellowship 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. 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, European Space Research and Technology Centre, Noordwijk, The Netherlands, or

ESAC, European Space Astronomy Centre, Villanueva de la Cañada, Spain, or

STScl - ESA Office, Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, Maryland, USA 

Our team and mission

The European Space Agency maintains a world-leading Science Programme with missions in heliophysics, planetary science, astrophysics, and fundamental physics. The Science and Operations Department, within ESA's Directorate of Science, hosts the scientists and engineers that oversee the space missions from study to end of operations; it develops the science operation systems for the missions and conducts their science operations in flight; it archives and curates their data during operations and beyond. The main objective of the department is to maximise the scientific return of the missions for the benefit of humankind. The Science and Operations Department also supports research activities, which are coordinated by the ESA Science Faculty. Research Fellows are encouraged to take leading roles in Faculty research programmes and initiatives, in close collaboration with scientific staff. The Research Fellowship programme nurtures and strengthens the links between ESA and the scientific communities in the Member States.

Research Fellows spend their time on their independent scientific research and can choose to spend up to 20% of the time on scientific activities in support of ESA science-related activities.

You are encouraged to visit the ESA website ( ) for an overview of ESA’s Science Programme.

Field(s) of activity/research for the traineeship

We are welcoming all proposals for innovative research associated with one or more of our missions (linked from the web site above). For an overview of the on-going space science research activities at the different sites, and more details about the fellowships, please visit our website: .

You should consult these pages to identify which of the establishments offers the most relevant environment for your research. You are welcome and encouraged to contact any of the scientists working in areas of your interest.

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 and obtained your PhD before starting the Research Fellowship. Applications submitted by candidates within five years of receiving their PhD are preferred.

Additional requirements

Cross-cultural sensitivity.

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 .

The Agency may require applicants to undergo selection tests.

With the application, 4 separate documents must be provided in the "additional documents" field of the "application information" section:

1.    CV
2.    Motivation letter
3.    List of publications separate from the CV, concisely indicating your individual contribution to each paper.
4.    A research proposal of no more than 4 pages outlining your proposed research.

Furthermore, candidates should indicate their preferred location (ESTEC, ESAC, or STScI).

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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