Project Scientist


Direct Entry Job Permanent Noordwijk, The Netherlands

Uploaded 1 Nov 2019

Job Description

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

ESTEC, Noordwijk, The Netherlands  


Working in the Science Support Office of the Directorate of Science and following a period of familiarisation, the postholder will initially be assigned to the post of ARIEL Study or Project Scientist, depending on the mission phase.

The Science Support Office 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 the maximum scientific return is achieved within the technical and programmatic constraints.

ARIEL is a mission to study exoplanets by conducting atmospheric 0.5-8.0 μm transit and eclipse spectroscopy and optical photometry. Currently in its study phase, ARIEL is being prepared for launch in 2028.  Its results will supplement those of ESA’s CHEOPS and PLATO missions which focus on high precision photometry of exoplanets, as well as the NASA/ESA/CSA JWST observatory mission which will perform detailed spectroscopic observations of exoplanets.


Reporting to the Head of the Science Support Office, the postholder will perform main duties initially including:

  • Providing scientific expertise and support to the ARIEL mission in all normal functions as the study or project scientist;
  • Coordinating and chairing the mission’s Science Team meetings and activities;
  • Advising the project manager on all technical and operational aspects affecting the mission's scientific performance;
  • Monitoring the progress of the implemented technology developments and industrial activities;
  • Providing scientific input and guidance to the execution of ARIEL mission operations including pipeline processing, calibration and data product deliveries;
  • Representing the interests of the general scientific community in ARIEL, organising activities related to their participation in the mission;
  • Preparing and maintaining the mission’s top-level scientific requirements;
  • Preparing internal and external reports, including to the ESA advisory structure;
  • On request, providing support to other studies or projects, including those in other Directorates;
  • Supporting ESA outreach, communication and education activities in promoting the mission and its scientific results to a variety of audiences, including the general public;
  • Actively pursuing personal scientific research, participating in the Office's research activities.

Other information

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

he 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.

The closing date for applications is 1st December 2019.

If you require support with your application due to a disability, please email [email protected].


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. (

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.

Person Specification

Technical competencies

  • Knowledge of the current status of exoplanet science and a good understanding of the next steps in this field
  • Knowledge of exoplanet missions and facilities
  • Knowledge of infrared spectroscopic techniques
  • Experience of the development of instruments for space missions and their operation and calibration
  • Experience of the analysis and interpretation of ground- or space-based astronomical data
  • Experience of the organisation of international scientific projects or campaigns
  • Experience of the management of scientific teams
  • Research/publication record

Behavioural competencies

  • Communication
  • Problem Solving
  • Relationship Management
  • Fostering cooperation & effective team-working
  • Ambassadorship


PhD or equivalent degree in astronomy, physics or a related discipline

Additional requirements

The ability to liaise effectively with both scientists and engineers and an affinity for and experience in communications and outreach are essential.