Portfolio Scientist in Physical Sciences

Updated: 2 months ago

Vacancy in the Directorate of Human and Robotic Exploration Programmes.

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.

This post is classified A2-A4 on the Coordinated Organisations’ salary scale .

ESTEC, Noordwijk, Netherlands  


The SciSpacE element of the Human and Robotic Exploration (HRE) Terrae Novae programme covers a wide range of platforms and destinations, such as ground-based research facilities, drop tower, parabolic flights, sounding rockets, ISS and other future LEO platforms, Lunar Gateway, Moon and Mars.

Reporting to the SciSpacE Team Leader, you will oversee and manage various aspects relating to science selection, implementation, development, planning and community engagement within the field of space research. In this role, you will be required to coordinate science selection processes, identify peer reviewers and communicate results to the European science community.


Your tasks and responsibilities will include:

  • science selection:
    • Writing, updating and managing science selection processes such as Announcements of Opportunity and research calls for space research led by ESA or ESA participation in international calls, including the communication of the process and results to the European science community;
    • Identifying peer reviewers and coordinating review process for science selection.
  • science implementation:
    • Leading the definition of experimental and scientific requirements for activities implemented by ESA and coordinating with science teams and international partners as required;
    • Ensuring the creation of and adherence to the data management plan associated with the activity;
    • Safeguarding the science requirements associated with ESA payloads and research throughout the life cycle of the space activity or mission;
    • Monitoring associated technology developments and tracking scientific performance through the life cycle of the mission;
    • Advising project and mission managers on technical and operational aspects that may affect science objectives;
    • Providing scientific input and guidance to the execution of mission operations on crewed and robotic missions;
    • Providing support to ESA studies or projects linked to the science of Human and Robotic Exploration;
    • Coordinating the post-mission reporting and tracking results in the form of scientific publications resulting from the science activity;
    • Ensuring that science activities are reported on and that data is maintained in the appropriate reporting tools.
  • science development, planning and strategy:
    • Providing in-depth scientific expertise and support to the development of ESA elements of science strategy, science policy and/or science planning;
    • Identifying and supporting collaborative activities within ESA, in Europe and internationally to promote ESA’s science interests;
    • Actively pursuing personal scientific research, participating in research activities without any perceived or real conflict of interest.
  • support for Agency activities:
    • Preparing reports relating to ESA science activities for presentation internally and/or externally, including to the ESA advisory structure;
    • Supporting ESA outreach, communication and education activities relating to Human and Robotic Exploration science;
    • Promoting ESA’s activities and scientific results to a variety of audiences, including the general public;
    • Supervision of Young Graduate Trainees, interns, Research Fellows and participants in other similar programmes in your own area of expertise as required.
  • community engagement:
    • Representing ESA to the external scientific community;
    • Maintaining an awareness of trends in research and development that could support the ESA Human and Robotic Exploration science programme;
    • Participating in relevant scientific associations and conferences to communicate on the ESA Human and Robotic Exploration science programme;
    • Working with the European and international science community to advance the ESA Human and Robotic Exploration programme.

Technical competencies

Experience in the conduct and publication of scientific research

Demonstrated research in soft matter physics, fluid dynamics and/or high energy physics

Understanding of the current state of scientific knowledge at the given destination/platform and an awareness of priorities for future research

Knowledge of the activities, programs and goals of the European Space Agency

Experience in the organization of international scientific activities

Experience in science management at the academic, industrial or governmental level

Behavioural competencies

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


A PhD in physical sciences is required for this post.

Additional requirements

Expertise in one or more of the following topics would be an asset: soft matter physics, fluid dynamics and/or high energy physics.

Experience in optical techniques such as spectroscopy, light scattering, microscopy, multispectral imaging and photodetectors 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 please visit: Professionals , What we offer  and FAQ    

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.     

Applicants must be eligible to access technology and hardware which is subject to European and US export control regulations.

The Agency may require applicants to undergo selection tests.

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 email contact.human.resources@esa.int .


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, the United Kingdom and Canada, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia and Slovenia.

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 internal candidates and secondly to external 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. 

In principle, recruitment will be within the advertised grade band (A2-A4). However, if the selected candidate has less than four years of relevant professional experience following the completion of the master’s degree, the position may be filled at A1 level. 

*Member States, Associate Members or Cooperating States.

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