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Earth Observation Applications Specialist

Job Req ID:  12248
Closing Date:  19 April 2021
Establishment:  ESRIN, Frascati, Italy
Directorate:  Directorate of Earth Observation Programmes
Publication:  Internal & External
Vacancy Type:  Fixed-Term
Date Posted:  22 March 2021


Vacancy in the Directorate of Earth Observation Programmes.


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 position is for a limited duration of four years, non-renewable and is classified in the A2/A4 grade band of the Coordinated Organisations’ salary scale. 



World Bank (WB) HQ, Washington DC, USA   


Earth Observation Applications Specialist in the Sustainable Initiatives Office of the Science, Applications and Climate Department, Directorate of Earth Observation Programmes; seconded from ESA to the World Bank Group (Sustainable Development Practice Group).


ESA has been partnering with the WB since 2008. The activities to be performed by you fall within the scope of the new ESA Earth Watch Global Development Assistance (GDA) programme element. GDA is ESA’s contribution to space for the International Development Assistance (Space for IDA) initiative, jointly implemented with WB and the Asian Development Bank (ADB). These activities support EO service providers to bridge the gap between new applications and proven EO-based information services for mainstreamed integration in WB operations and sustainable transfer to client countries. It capitalises on innovative developments in science and technology resulting from ESA and European national EO missions and builds on lessons learnt during precursor initiatives such as, most recently, Earth Observation for Sustainable Development (EO4SD).



You will support the setup and implementation of space for IDA and act as liaison between ESA and WB. This will involve cooperating closely with both WB staff and end-users in client states (developing countries) to provide support to technical/analytical projects deployed through specialist European EO service providers; as well as providing support for programmatic developments related to complementary capacity-building activities implemented through dedicated WB efforts. The objective of this joint initiative is to deliver improvements in efficiencies and impact to WB operations, leading to adoption and long-term sustainability of EO-based products and services in global development.


Your main tasks will be to:


•    liaise with WB task and country teams and their client counterparts to facilitate smooth and timely interaction with the ESA teams managing the setup of agile EO service implementation for WB projects/programmes in selected sustainable development domains;
•    liaise with WB management (sectoral, regional, corporate) to ensure integration of GDA technical/analytical services in WB programmatic and strategic planning and financing (trust funds, loan operations, IDA financing), i.e. provide support for and monitor the design/implementation of complementary capacity-building and skills transfer activities;
•    raise awareness of EO capabilities across a broad network of WB staff and capture and report on their operational requirements for geospatial information, with a view to establishing adoption and sustainable integration of such services in WB operations;
•    be involved in communicating on achievements via relevant communication and education channels.


Technical competencies

Detailed understanding of the global sustainable development context (applications and policy) and development finance principles
Knowledge of World Bank operations as well as trust fund management is an advantage
ESA Earth Observation policies and programmes as well as broad capabilities of the European EO service sector

Behavioural competencies

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


A university degree in remote sensing / geospatial sciences / geography / earth sciences is required.

Additional requirements

For this position, you must have:


•    experience of dealing with institutional users (especially in developing countries), identifying longer-term opportunities for EO information services, and understanding the associated information requirements;
•    excellent organisational and communication skills (written and oral);
•    a background in geospatial information science and integrated Earth observation analytics along with related project management and implementation experience.


You are also required to have:


•    an understanding of agile development principles
•    demonstrated experience of working at or in collaboration with international financial institutions such as the World Bank or regional development banks, especially regarding the financing of new initiatives.


You should have good inter-personal skills and be able to work effectively, both in a team setting and autonomously. You must be able and willing to work in a highly multicultural environment and adapt to its complexities.
You should be self-motivated, results-oriented, and be flexible to work in a broad range of technical areas. You need to be able to translate complex technical concepts into layman’s terms from both the EO and the development finance perspectives.
You should have a minimum of five years’ experience or an equivalent combination of post-graduate education and experience in the area of EO applications.


Other information

For behavioural competencies expected from ESA staff in general, please refer to the ESA Competency Framework.     

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 at 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 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. (https://esamultimedia.esa.int/docs/careers/NationalityTargets.pdf)


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. 


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.