Internal Research Fellow (PostDoc) in Manned Spaceflight Facility for Cultivated Meat


Noordwijk, The Netherlands, ESA [10781]

Field(s) of expertise
Aerospace Engineering Education and STEM
Job type

About this job

ESA is looking for an Internal Research Fellow (PostDoc) in Manned Spaceflight Facility for Cultivated Meat.

Field(s) of activities/research

Future human exploration missions beyond Low-Earth Orbit will result in unprecedented constraints on the supply and re-supply of food to meet the energy requirements of the crew. For very long missions (with no opportunity to pre-deploy food depots or re-supply from Earth), it may be impractical or even impossible to launch and store all the food required with the crew, and alternative approaches will be required. In addition, before that time, as missions get longer, there may be a ‘trade-off’ point at which it may be optimal (from a mass/volume/resources perspective) to switch from launching food to a combination of launching food and in-flight production.

You will identify, investigate and evaluate present developments in the area of cultivated meat (meat produced by in vitro cell culture of animal cells, instead of from slaughtered animals), as well as its end-to-end processing value chain, including resources required and waste products generated.

You will, on the basis of expected exploration mission scenarios (mission duration, crew number and projected energy requirements to achieve energy balance), evaluate the feasibility of implementing present cultivated meat solutions and technologies. Compatibility of the solutions with the requirements and constraints of these missions will be evaluated and where incompatible, alternatives will be identified and evaluated. Likely ‘trade-off’ points will be identified on the basis of different mission scenarios. One of the key aspects to be considered in the project is that the processing of cultivated meat in space be a closed loop solution, whether as a stand-alone solution or in conjunction with other systems.


• Characterising crew nutritional needs in expected exploration mission scenarios;
• Assessing the implications of crew nutritional needs on launch mass and volume, on-board storage, and waste production and management;
• Identifying existing cultivated meat solutions, their technology readiness level and ongoing developments;
• Specifically, for an in-flight cultivated meat production facility:
• Defining key requirements for an in-flight bioreactor;
• Potential multi-use opportunities for a bioreactor, including the growth of human cells;
• Identifying potential solutions for 3D bioprinting of meat in microgravity and defining key requirements;
• Performing a trade-off of different cultivated meat solutions in terms of their capacity to meet crew nutritional needs, resources required and waste produced;
• Identifying an optimal solution or combination of solutions for expected exploration mission scenarios;
• Identifying ‘trade-off’ points for expected exploration mission scenarios, where including in-flight cultivated meat production may be operationally optimal to meet crew nutritional needs.


Technical competencies

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


You should have recently completed, or be close to completion of a PhD in a related technical or scientific discipline. Preference will be given to applications submitted by candidates within five years of receiving their PhD.

Additional requirements

PhD or equivalent qualification in medical/cell tissue biology and/or space engineering.
A working knowledge of human metabolism and nutritional requirements is desirable.

For a complete job description and to apply, click on “apply”.

The closing date for applications is 1 November 2020.


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

We offer

The European Space Agency (ESA) is an equal opportunities employer that offers competitive salaries exempt from national income tax and excellent employment conditions, such as allowances for expatriates and relocation support.
For more information: http://www.esa.int/About_Us/Careers_at_ESA

About us

The European Space Agency (ESA) is Europe’s gateway to space. Its mission is to shape the development of Europe’s space capability and ensure that investment in space continues to deliver benefits to the citizens of Europe and the world. ESA is an international organisation with 22 Member States. By coordinating the financial and intellectual resources of its members, it can undertake programmes and activities far beyond the scope of any single European country.
Learn more: http://www.esa.int/