Ocean and Ice Senior Scientist – European Space Agency

Vacancy in the Directorate of Earth Observation Programmes.

ESA is an equal opportunity employer, committed to achieving diversity within the workforce and creating an inclusive working environment. Applications from women are encouraged.

Ocean and Ice Senior Scientist

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

ESTEC, Noordwijk, The Netherlands  


Senior Scientist in the Earth Surfaces and Interior Section in the Earth and Mission Science Division of the Science, Applications and Climate Department, Directorate of Earth Observation Programmes.


Under the authority of the Head of the Earth Surfaces and Interior Section of the Earth and Mission Science Division of the Science, Applications and Climate Department, your main tasks and responsibilities will be:

  • providing Mission Scientist and accompanying scientific study management support to new mission concepts, preparatory and mission development activities of approved missions, in-orbit commissioning phase calibration/validation, or the operations phase, to ensure their payloads and the end-to-end system fulfil the relevant mission requirements;
  • establishing, maintaining and convening international advisory groups related to these missions; initiating and conducting in-house and external scientific studies; organising mission-specific science workshops/conferences, supporting geophysical algorithm development and related research;
  • providing scientific support and advice to EO Ocean and Ice Surface mission teams across the respective FutureEO, Earth Watch, Copernicus and Operational Meteorology Programme domains; and maintenance of external interface to the European Commission and EUMETSAT for the corresponding mission advisory structures;
  • supporting identification and critical review of requirements originating from the EO user communities and advising the Head of Section on their interests and aspirations;
  • managing implementation of independent peer review of Earth Surfaces Mission Ideas or Mission Concept Proposals in response to Agency Calls;
  • communicating research results in connection with Earth Surfaces missions, and serving as ESA Ambassador at relevant events such as scientific conferences and user consultations;
  • managing, supervising and monitoring external scientific study contracts and KPI reporting, quarterly reporting.

You will be expected to work closely with the Future Systems, Projects and the Mission Management and Ground Segments Departments to perform delegated activities requiring the Earth Surfaces and Interior section’s scientific expertise and manpower support.

Technical competencies

  • Knowledge of Ocean and Ice scientific discipline, including use of active microwave sensors in Earth Observation in the Ocean and Ice domain
  • Knowledge of ESA Earth surfaces missions under study or implementation
  • Knowledge of active/passive sensors
  • Knowledge of space projects, including instrumentation and operations
  • Knowledge of the role of mission science during different mission phases
  • Knowledge of international scientific community

Behavioural competencies

  • Ambassadorship
  • Communication
  • Problem Solving
  • Planning & Organisation
  • Relationship Management


PhD or equivalent degree in relevant scientific disciplines.

Additional requirements

10 years’ relevant proven experience (including PhD) in Earth observation satellite remote sensing-based Earth surfaces sciences. You will be familiar with current and future planned concepts, instrumentation and plans within the relevant EOP programme domains. Particular importance will be attached to your capabilities to function in a team, credibility within the EO remote-sensing science community and familiarity with the programmatic outlook in the EarthExplorer, EarthWatch and Copernicus domains.


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