Project Scientist

Vacancy 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.

This post is classified A2-A4 on the Coordinated Organisations’ salary scale.

ESTEC, Noordwijk, The Netherlands  

You will report to the Head of the Solar System Section in the Science Division, within the Directorate of Science, and, following a period of familiarisation, will be assigned to the post of Project Scientist, initially for the Mars Express and ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter missions. You will also give support to the Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer (JUICE) mission over the longer term.

The Science Division provides study and project scientist support to the Science Directorate’s missions throughout all phases, including study, implementation, operations and post-operations, and is responsible for ensuring that maximum scientific return is achieved within the technical and programmatic constraints.

The Mars Express mission studies all aspects of the Martian environment, from subsurface to upper atmosphere, and records data on the Martian moons. The Trace Gas Orbiter mission conducts investigations into the biological and geological origin of trace gases, monitors the atmospheric composition, maps the subsurface hydrogen, and images surface features. Both missions provide an in-depth analysis of the history of the Red Planet, in particular regarding the role played by water in all its forms (solid, liquid, gas). The JUICE mission, due to launch in 2022, will perform detailed investigations of Jupiter and its system from 2029 onwards, encompassing their inter-relationship and complexity, with particular emphasis on Ganymede as a planetary body and potential habitat. Investigations of Europa and Callisto will complete the comparative picture of the Jovian icy moons.

  • Ensuring that maximum scientific return from a mission is maintained as a target throughout all phases (study, development, operations, archiving), within the technical, financial, programmatic and safety constraints;
  • Coordinating the definition of science requirements with the corresponding Science Study Team or Science Working Team (SST/SWT), and monitoring their implementation during all phases;
  • Acting, for all scientific matters, as the interface between internal study, development, and operations teams on the one hand, and external scientific teams, partners, and the community on the other;
  • Preparing and disseminating relevant scientific documentation and reporting to ESA management and, as requested, the Advisory Structure;
  • Promoting the mission to the wider scientific community via conferences and electronic means, and supporting broader Directorate and Agency communications, outreach, and education activities;
  • Actively pursuing personal scientific research, and participating in the Section’s research activities.
Knowledge of atmospheric science
Experience in remote sensing retrieval techniques
Experience in interfacing with external parties, especially the scientific community and Principal Investigator teams
Experience of the organisation of international scientific projects or campaigns
Research/publication record

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


A PhD in planetary sciences is required.

Knowledge of Mars missions is required. Experience in the analysis and interpretation of planetary mission data is required. Experience in the development of instruments for space missions, their operation and archive is an asset, as is the ability to coordinate projects in parallel. Experience in communications and outreach with the science community and general public is an asset.

Other information

For behavioural competencies expected from ESA staff in general, please refer to the ESA Competency Framework.     

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 at


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 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. (

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. 

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.