Science Operations Scientist

Updated: 2 months ago

Vacancy in the Directorate of Science.

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 .

ESAC, Villanueva de la Cañada, Spain  


The European Space Agency maintains a world-leading Science Programme with missions in heliophysics, planetary science, astrophysics and fundamental physics. Its mission is to “empower Europe to lead space science”. 

The Department of Science and Operations (SCI-S) within ESA's Directorate for Science hosts the scientists and engineers who oversee the space missions from study to end of operations, develops the science operation systems for the missions and operates the missions in space, and archives and curates their data during operations and beyond. Its main objective is to maximise the scientific output of the missions for the benefit of humankind.  

You will initially be assigned as Science Operations Scientist and Archive Scientist for High-Energy Astronomy Missions, to the XMM-Newton and INTEGRAL missions, under the direct responsibility of the Mission Managers for XMM-Newton and INTEGRAL within the Mission Operations Division of the Science and Operations Department (SCI-S). 


If selected for this position, you will initially be responsible for high-energy astronomy cross-calibration, scientific data processing and archive product generation. You will work in close collaboration with the Mission Managers and Project Scientists of high-energy missions currently in operations, as well as with staff in the ESAC Science Data Centre, and will be responsible for coordinating the work of the companies providing services to support your tasks. 

You will be expected to strive for innovation and excellence in synergies between operations of current and future ESA high-energy astronomy missions, especially with respect to cross-calibration, scientific data processing and archive product generation.

Specific responsibilities will include: 

  • ensuring improvements and monitoring of the instrument calibration of current and upcoming high-energy missions, with a special emphasis on understanding the cross-calibration between different instruments and missions;
  • actively coordinating (cross-)calibration studies and campaigns with partners in other space agencies;
  • advising future high-energy missions during their study or project phases on questions of scientific data processing, calibration needs and approaches;
  • involvement in scientific data processing, especially for the maintenance and modernisation of the scientific pipeline processing of XMM-Newton data and the generation of legacy products for INTEGRAL and XMM-Newton.
  • overseeing maintenance and further development of the INTEGRAL Science Legacy Archive (ISLA) and of the XMM-Newton Science Archive (XSA) driven by the needs of the missions’ users and in line with the overall archive developments;
  • enabling, in collaboration with the ESAC Science Data Centre, the shaping of a multi-mission, high-energy science archive framework that exploits the synergies between current and future high-energy mission archives, as well as other ESA astronomy mission archives.

Technical competencies

Conducting active research in a relevant field of space science

Experience in defining, setting up and/or operating space science projects

Experience in coordinating internal/external stakeholders on scientific projects

Behavioural competencies

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


A PhD in astrophysics is required for this post.

Additional requirements

As this post includes the possibility of evolving into coordination and managerial tasks, the potential to manage individuals or a team is required. 

People management experience is an asset, as is international experience, i.e. outside your home country, as well as experience in diverse functional areas relevant to ESA activities.

Experience with high-energy astronomy mission operations, instrument calibration, scientific data processing or science data archives is a further 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.     

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 .


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 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. 

Recruitment will normally be at the first grade in the band (A2); however, if the candidate selected has little or no experience, the position may be filled at A1 level.

*Member States, Associate Members or Cooperating States.

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