Project Scientist for HST & JWST

Baltimore, Maryland, United States (USA), ESA [12487]

Field(s) of expertise
Education and STEM
Job type

About this job

ESA is looking for a Project Scientist for HST & JWST.

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.

The European Space Agency maintains a world-leading Science Programme with missions in heliophysics, planetary science, astrophysics and fundamental physics. The Department of Science and Operations (SCI-S), in ESA’s Directorate of Science, hosts the scientists and engineers who oversee the space missions from study to end of operations; it develops the science operation systems for the missions and operates the missions in space; it archives and curates their data during operations and beyond. Our main objective is to maximise the scientific output of the missions for the benefit of humankind.

The Project Scientist for HST and JWST interfaces with and directly engages with the ESA astronomical community (and the public) with the goal of keeping the missions prominent and visible in Europe. You will ensure that maximum scientific return from the missions is maintained as a target throughout all phases, keeping within the technical, financial, programmatic and safety constraints, working with the Mission Manager to design and implement activities that increase the scientific value of the missions with stakeholders.
In this role, you will also act as Head of the ESA Office in STScI and be the prime ESA ambassador at the STScI, playing a key role in maintaining strong links between the leadership of the ESA Science Directorate and the leadership at STScI. You will serve as the point of contact for all ESA Office activities that interface with STScI.

This position is an exciting opportunity to lead the ESA Office at the Space Telescope Science Institute and provide scientific support and representation for the Hubble Space Telescope and James Webb Space Telescope. As Head of the ESA Office at STScI you will report to the Head of the Science Division in the Science and Operations Department, and report functionally in your role as project scientist to the Head of the Astrophysics Observatories Section in the Science Division, which provides study and project scientist support to the Science Directorate’s missions.


The duties of the Project Scientist are:

  • Proposing and overseeing the appointment of ESA community representatives on STScI committees, including the Institute Visiting Committee, and committees for the missions (e.g. user committees, time allocation committees, JWST Early Release Observations interagency committee).
  • Acting, for all scientific matters, as the interface between internal development, and operations teams on the one hand and external scientific teams, partners, and the wider scientific community on the other.
  • For the mission extension proposals the Project Scientist leads the development of the science case. 
  • Promoting missions to the wider scientific community (e.g. through conferences, town halls, master classes as well as via social media and electronic newsletters). You will also support broader Directorate and Agency communications, outreach, and education activities aimed at the general public.

The Project Scientist is expected to actively pursue personal scientific research and participate in the Science Faculty.
The duties of the Head of the ESA Office include:

  • Managing the ESA Office (‘ESA-STScI Unit’ – SCI-SCB) and liaising with the STScI Director/Deputy on issues of relevance to the ESA presence at STScI.
  • Acting as contact point at STScI for implementation of the contract between ESA and the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) which provides backing to ESA operations at STScI.
  • Coordinating communications, jointly with the ESA HST and JWST Mission Manager, within the ESA Office and within STScI between the ESA team and the AURA activities.


Technical competencies
Active researcher in a relevant field of space science
Experience in coordinating the scientific community
Experience in space mission operations
Experience in promoting science to the wider scientific community and general public
A PhD in astrophysics (or equivalent) is required.
Additional requirements
Further assets for this position are:
Experience in communication and outreach with the science community and with the public;
Experience in managing industrial contracts is an asset;
International work experience, i.e. outside your home country;
A good understanding of the European and worldwide space science context, including the programmatic context.
For a complete job description, click on “apply”.
The closing date for applications is 28 July 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, Latvia, Lithuania and Slovenia.

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 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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