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Chief Exploration Scientist

European Space Agency


Posted 3 weeks ago


Join ESA as the Chief Exploration Scientist to shape the future of space exploration with your scientific expertise and leadership.


icon Salary

No salary declared 😔

icon Location

Porz-Wahn, DE - Resident assignment to EAC, Cologne, Germany

icon Expires

Expires at anytime

The Directorate of Human and Robotic Exploration Programmes (D/HRE) at the European Space Agency (ESA) is on the forefront of extraterrestrial exploration, combining human and robotic efforts to expand our presence and scientific knowledge in space. This is an incredible opportunity to contribute to the international efforts of scientific discovery, economic development, and to inspire the public through groundbreaking space missions.

  • Lead the scientific direction of ESA's exploration missions and programmes.
  • Act as the principal scientific advisor, ensuring the alignment of missions with scientific integrity and strategic objectives.
  • Engage with international partners and the scientific community, providing scientific leadership and vision.
  • Manage projects, oversee technical operations, and disseminate knowledge effectively.
  • Extensive experience in space-related scientific research.
  • Proven ability to integrate science and engineering, collaborating with technical teams.
  • Experience in managing scientific budgets and resources.
  • Familiarity with international scientific collaborations and partnerships.
  • Doctoral degree (PhD) in space science or a related field.
  • Deep understanding of ESA’s exploration roadmap and strategic priorities.
  • Expertise in science communication, public outreach, and team leadership.

ESA values diversity and inclusion and encourages qualified candidates of all backgrounds to apply, especially women and those from underrepresented groups.

The Directorate of Human and Robotic Exploration Programmes (D/HRE) is a programme directorate within the ESA matrix structure. Through partnership between humans and robots, D/HRE is dedicated to exploring destinations in space in which humans are already living and working – or will live and work in the future – for the purpose of scientific research, economic development, international cooperation and public inspiration.

Under the direct authority of the Director of Human and Robotic Exploration, the Chief Exploration Scientist serves as the principal scientific advisor to the Directorate, ensuring the scientific integrity, alignment and strategic direction of exploration missions, programmes and research activities. The Chief Exploration Scientist champions scientific excellence while maintaining a strong awareness of technical, operational and budgetary constraints.

Your tasks and responsibilities will include: Scientific leadership, financial resources and vision, interfacing with international partners and the scientific community, project management and technical oversight, knowledge management and dissemination.

Technical competencies required include extensive record of accomplishment in space-related scientific research, demonstrated ability to bridge science and engineering through effective collaboration with technical teams, experience in managing scientific budgets and resources, and familiarity with international scientific collaborations and partnerships.

A doctoral degree (PhD) in a field of space science or a closely related discipline is required. In-depth understanding of ESA’s exploration roadmap and strategic priorities, experience in science communication and public outreach, proven experience of leading, motivating and developing a team are also required.

ESA is an equal opportunity employer, committed to achieving diversity within the workforce and creating an inclusive working environment. We therefore welcome applications from all qualified candidates irrespective of gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, beliefs, age, disability or other characteristics. Applications from women are encouraged.


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