Internal Research Fellow in Earth Observation for Earth System Science

Frascati, Italy, ESA [11983]

Field(s) of expertise
Education and STEM
Job type

About this job

ESA is looking for an Internal Research Fellow in Earth Observation for Earth System Science.

Our team and mission
You will report to the Head of the Science Section in the Applications Division within the Science, Applications and Climate Department of the Directorate of Earth Observation Programmes. In the execution of the tasks, you will work in close cooperation with other staff from the Directorate of Earth Observation Programmes.
The Applications Division is a dynamic R&D team leading research and development activities, in partnership with European and international industry and academia, with the aim of advancing science, developing novel applications, supporting the growth of industry and contributing to establishing a European ecosystem of exploitation platforms to maximise the impact of European missions for society.

You will be part of the Earth System Science Hub, a new science laboratory in ESA working as a centre for networking and scientific collaboration among world-class researchers in Member States (MS) and worldwide. The Hub will be an integral part of a new strategy to implement the scientific exploitation programme of ESA and will serve as a catalyser for new ideas and scientific breakthroughs in EO and Earth system science.

This facility will bring together young and senior scientists of different disciplines in Earth Observation and Earth system science to work together sharing different expertise and capabilities and undertaking collaborative research in order to promote a community response to the main science challenges of this decade and, in particular, to contribute to the development of a community science solution to the “Digital Twin Earth” vision.
Interested candidates are encouraged to visit the ESA website: www.esa.int


Field(s) of activities/research/learning areas
ESA, together with the scientific community, is actively engaged in a number of scientific developments aimed at advancing Earth observation capabilities and Earth system science and its contribution in responding to the global challenges that society is facing in the onset of this century. In particular, together with international partners and the scientific community ESA aims to:

  • advance our observing capacity and the scientific foundations for the next generation of EO space-based methods, algorithms and data products;
  • exploit novel EO capacity to advance our basic understanding of the Earth system and the complex interactions among the different components of the Earth system and human activities;
  • translate new knowledge and scientific results into actionable solutions for society.

In this context, you will be involved in the scientific activities of the Science Section within one of the following thematic priorities:

  • the Polar regions its processes and connections to the Earth and climate system with particular focus on major science challenges: e.g., the observation and modelling of Greenland and Antarctica ice sheet dynamics, their hydrological processes and interactions with the atmosphere and the oceans;
  • the Arctic and Antarctic oceans;
  • the Arctic permafrost and methane emissions.

You will also contribute to the coordination and implementation of the activities of the ESA Polar science cluster: https://eo4society.esa.int/communities/scientists/esa-polar-science-cluster/ Activities will capitalise of the synergistic opportunities offered by the latest advances in EO technology with special attention being given to the Sentinel missions and the Earth Explorers.

Of particular interest are the synergistic opportunities offered by the coordination of Cryosat and NASA’s IceSat 2 observations. Land surface processes with a focus on the hydrological and terrestrial carbon cycles at basin, regional and global scales, with particular attention to the development of a new generation of observational products at high resolution characterising complex land surface processes, their sensitivity to climate change and their interactions with human activities (e.g., agriculture, forestry, energy and water consumption). Activities will focus particularly on the exploration and exploitation of the novel capabilities and increasing synergistic potential offered by the latest EO satellite systems (e.g., Copernicus Sentinel series of the European Copernicus Programme, ESA Earth Explorers, meteorological missions, novel national and commercial missions) complemented with field measurements and high resolution land surface models.

You will also contribute to the coordination and implementation of the activities of the ESA science clusters in the above domains: e.g. :

Field(s) of activities/research/learning areas
You shall indicate in the proposal the preferred theme. You will be involved in different activities including:
1. Undertaking internal research aimed at addressing major observational gaps and scientific priorities in the above domains enhancing our capacity to observe and better understand the complex processes governing the Earth and climate system including feedback with human activities and ecosystems and contributing to the development of a solid scientific basis for Digital Twin Earth.
2. Supporting the definition, technical supervision and coordination of scientific exploitation projects carried out by external teams of experts and scientists, addressing the exploration and exploitation of the novel and increasingly synergistic potential offered by the latest EO satellite systems and contributing to advance Earth system science in the above domains.
3. Supporting ESA’s interface and dialogue with the scientific communities, including supporting the organisation of ESA workshops and conferences, training, education and outreach actions and continuous dialogue with international science groups such as WCRP or Future Earth.


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

Applicants should have recently completed, or be close to completing 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. In particular for this position, the following is required: PhD or equivalent qualification in physics, engineering or Earth system science with research experience and peer-reviewed publications in relevant topics for the fields of research proposed.

Additional requirements
You should also have:

  • Experience in research based on the use of relevant satellite measurements;
  • Science software development experience and programming skills;
  • Good analytical and communication skills and an ability to work in a multicultural environment in an autonomous manner.

Additional experience in modelling will be an asset. 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.

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

The closing date for applications is 12 March 2021.

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

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
We are the European Space Agency. Our mission is the peaceful exploration and use of space for the benefit of everyone. We watch over the Earth, develop and launch inspiring and unique space projects, train astronauts and push the boundaries of science and technology, seeking answers to the big questions about the Universe. We are a family of scientists, engineers and business professionals from all over Europe working together in a diverse and multinational environment. We are dedicated to united space in Europe and united Europe in space. Learn more: http://www.esa.int/

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