Project Controller

Job Req ID:  16029
Closing Date:  8 January 2023 23:59 CET/CEST
Establishment:  ESTEC, Noordwijk, Netherlands
Directorate:  Directorate of Earth Observation Programmes
Publication:  Internal & External
Vacancy Type:  Permanent
Date Posted:  28 November 2022


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. 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  



If selected for this position, you will be assigned to one of the Copernicus missions as well as to activities at the Copernicus programme level. You will report hierarchically to the Head of the Project Control and Management Support Office for Copernicus (EOP-BC), and functionally to the project manager(s) of the assigned project(s).
You will act as the direct interface between the project and ESA Corporate Control, Finance and Procurement, as well as industrial contractors, for all matters within their domains of activity.

The Project Controller is responsible for supporting the Project Manager with all activities related to project cost, schedule and risk management, project management processes and administrative functions, and for reporting to the Senior Financial Controller as needed for the Directorate’s internal and external reporting. You will assume key responsibilities for the preparation, procurement and monitoring of complex procurement actions, from tendering to closure of contracts, and for management, financial and planning aspects. You will be required to maintain multiple interfaces inside and outside ESA, conduct negotiations with industrial contractors and play a key role in supporting the Project Manager in programmatic decision making.

The Project Controller will also support the Head of the Project Control and Management Support Office for Copernicus (EOP-BC) in the modernisation of the IT tools as well as in programme-wide analysis and other activities.


Typical project control duties and activities include:

  • preparing, developing and maintaining the overall programmatic aspects of the project/missions, including space segment, payload, launch, ground segment and Agency-provided services. The programmatic aspects include cost, financial commitments, procurements, schedule, risks, logistics, progress control and geographical return, as well as general project administration;
  • preparing and maintaining cost plans covering industrial and operating (including workforce-related) costs;
  • implementing and operating planning and control procedures to provide full visibility on the progress of all activities using established procedures and information systems; this includes maintenance of project-related data in the ESA ERP system; 
  • assisting with the preparation of tender documents with respect to cost, management and schedule/planning requirements and participating in the evaluation of proposals; preparing information required for subsequent contract negotiations and participating in all tasks related to the placing of contracts, including negotiations with industry; supporting project/mission managers in change control/review boards;
  • monitoring assigned contracts and ensuring industry’s compliance with established formal requirements for management, costs, schedule, risks, industrial return and reporting, including deviations from plans and trends;
  • acting as the main interface with industry on control matters:
    • In this context, active monitoring is expected; you will identify and report trends, deviations from plans and potential problem areas and will propose remedial actions in coordination with the Project Manager;
    • Compliance with budgetary provisions and financial regulations is also expected;
    • implementing, within the framework of the Agency-wide risk management policy, risk management procedures and identifying potential problem areas therein, proposing mitigation actions and preparing risk reports as required;
  • supporting the preparation and organisation of project reviews/audits and participating in reviews/audits in the areas of project control-related responsibility;
  • participating in the establishment and maintenance of the Directorate’s project control procedures and computerised information systems;
  • supporting the Head of the Project Control and Management Support Office and Senior Financial Controller in the performance of their duties.


Technical competencies

Excellent understanding of IT systems, capable of designing the architecture and implement potentially complex control tools and mechanisms
Ability to rapidly assimilate and synthesise complex information using Excel and other tools
Expert knowledge of an SAP based ERP systems and related queries
Budgeting, cost control and resources and activities planning, including risk management
Cost and financial regulatory framework, including accounting standards and auditing
Understanding of space system architectures
Strong analytical and reporting skills
Understanding of the relevant ESA procurement regulations

Behavioural competencies

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


A master's degree in engineering or business administration is required.

Additional requirements

You must have previous professional experience as a controller in a project or programme, preferably at Agency or industry level. Experience in another function in finance, controlling and auditing will be considered a (key) asset. Some knowledge and/or understanding of space systems architecture will be also considered an asset.

Substantial experience is essential in the application of project management and project control principles and advanced project control techniques, as well as in the preparation, negotiation and implementation of major industrial procurements. Engineering experience in a project or programme will be considered an asset.

Knowledge of computer systems and information/planning/coordination tools (e.g. esa-p, Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Project), as well as familiarity with modern dashboarding tools, is essential.

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 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.