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

Job Req ID:  16009
Closing Date:  07 October 2022
Establishment:  ESTEC, Noordwijk, Netherlands
Directorate:  Directorate of Science
Publication:  External Only
Vacancy Type:  Internal Research Fellow
Date Posted:  23 September 2022



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.


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


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

The opportunity

ESA's postdoctoral Research Fellowship programme offers early-career scientists and engineers the possibility to carry out independent research in a variety of disciplines related to space science, space applications, or space technology. ESA Fellowships provide a unique opportunity to work with scientists and engineers at the forefront of space science, and experience first-hand how ESA works with communities across the Member States to maximise the scientific return from our missions.

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 Department for Science and Operations, within ESA's Directorate for 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

Breadth of exposure coming from past and/or current research/activities
Knowledge relevant to the field of research
Research/publication record
Ability to conduct research autonomously
General interest in space and space research
Ability to gather and share relevant information

Behavioural competencies

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


You must have 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.


  • Fellows are members of the ESA Science Faculty, which supports a wide range of research and scientific activities. Fellows are important contributors to these initiatives. More information can be found at
  • Research Fellows have no teaching obligations but do have various opportunities to supervise undergraduate or masters-level student trainees. 

The review committee will consist of members with diverse areas of expertise. Therefore, the application should be written for a general audience of space scientists. The application will be evaluated with respect to scientific excellence of the candidate, proposed research at ESA (e.g., regarding feasibility, future impact), and synergies with existing ESA research activities at the selected site. See also Further Questions, Tips and Hints.

Appointments for an ESA Research Fellowship are initially for 2 years, with the possibility of a 3rd year extension.
Please refer to: Call for applications:
Careers at ESA website:


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.


The closing date for applications is 07 October 2022.


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).


If you require support with your application due to a disability, please 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, and the United Kingdom. Nationals from Latvia, Lithuania and Slovenia, as Associate Member States, or Canada as a Cooperating State, can apply as well as those from Bulgaria, Cyprus and Slovakia 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 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. 

*Member States, Associate Members or Cooperating States.