ESA Postdoctoral Research Fellowships in Space Science, 2018, Spain and Netherlands

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The ESA Postdoctoral Research Fellowship Programme is aimed at providing scientists in the early stages of their career, holding a PhD or the equivalent degree, with the means to perform research in space science. The programme is open to suitably qualified applicants who have completed their PhD (or equivalent) or will have completed it by the start of the fellowship (autumn 2018). Preference will be given to applications submitted by candidates within five years of receiving their PhD.

About 8 positions shall be offered for this call, shared between ESAC (Spain) and ESTEC (Netherlands)


As part of their mandate, the Scientific Support Office at ESTEC and the Science Operations Department at ESAC conduct research programmes covering many areas of space science. These research activities are coordinated by the ESA Science Faculty, a body made up by the scientists in both places. Research Fellows are encouraged to participate in these programmes, which are led by the scientific staff (with the appropriate engineering, technical and administrative support). Research Fellows are in principle fully dedicated to scientific research and have no functional duties. However they may choose to spend up to 20% of their time on scientific activities in support of an ESA mission. Additionally they encouraged to take an active part in the scientific life of the establishments.

The research projects proposed by applicants for an ESA Fellowship should be related to ESA’s scientific missions, to the space research programmes of the ESA member states or to the scientific activities of the ESA Science Faculty. A brief summary of the research activities carried out by Faculty members can be found :

  • For ESAC on the ESAC research area page and the ESAC Faculty research groups web page
  • For ESTEC on the ESTEC faculty research and the ESTEC research programme overview page.

Candidates should consult these pages to identify which of the two establishments offers the most relevant environment for the candidate’s research proposal and to identify one or more staff members who could act as mentors. While certain research programmes can be pursued at both centres, in most cases the location of the mentor defines where a fellowship can be held.

Candidates are strongly encouraged to contact the identified staff members to discuss their research proposals before submitting an application.


The salary of ESA fellows falls within a pre-determined range and varies depending on qualifications and experience. Average monthly net salaries (tax free) are around € 3000. Fellows may be entitled to an expatriation allowance and/or to an installation allowance if they meet the conditions of entitlement. Removal expenses are not reimbursed. Depending on their place of recruitment, fellows may be reimbursed travel expenses in economy class (when travelling by air) or in first class (when travelling by train) to their duty station for themselves and, if applicable, for their spouse and children at the beginning and end of their assignment. Fellows are enrolled in the ESA’s Social Security Scheme which covers medical expenses, invalidity and death benefits. A monthly deduction covers these short-term and long-term risks.


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