ESA Research Fellowship in Space Science

European Space Agency (ESA)

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Deadline: Nov 15, 2020

Grant amount: Approximately €60,000

Fields of work: Physics Planetary Science

Applicant type: Postdoctoral Researcher

Funding uses: Fellowship

Location of project: Anywhere in the world

Location of residency: Anywhere in the world

Location of citizenship: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Cyprus Show all

Must travel to: Netherlands, Spain, Baltimore city, Maryland

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General Information 

The ESA Postdoctoral Research Fellowship Programme aims at providing scientists in their early stages of career the opportunity to perform research in space science. Research Fellows are also expected to foster a lively scientific environment in the directorate, inspiring ESA scientists to get involved in new scientific activities and nurture and strengthen the links between ESA and the scientific communities in the Member States.

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 2021).

Appointments for an ESA research fellowship are initially for two years, whereas a third year extension is frequently granted. The fellowship in space science may be held at one of three locations:

About 8 positions shall be offered for this call, shared between ESAC (Spain), ESTEC (Netherlands), and the ESA office at STScI (Baltimore, USA).

Research Programs

Member States mandate the European Space Agency to act as a science enabler in Europe by implementing exploratory missions with ambitious and compelling scientific goals. Scientists are employed by ESA to carry out research projects in parallel with their functional responsibilities. Functional responsibilities are typically in support of ESA missions. The broad range of Astronomy and Solar System missions in ESA's portfolio generates a large diversity of exciting space research activities and opportunities.

Conditions and Benefits

  • Contracts are for two years, frequently renewed for a third year.
  • The monthly remuneration (tax free) falls within a predetermined range of €3000 to €3800 per month.  
  • Fellows may be entitled to an expatriation allowance and/or to an installation allowance on arrival. Removal expenses are not reimbursed. 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.
  • 2.5 days paid leave per month.
  • Health coverage under ESA’s social security scheme, which includes medical expenses, invalidity and death benefits. A monthly deduction in remuneration covers these short-term and long-term risks.
  • Research Fellows working at STScI (Baltimore, USA) will be issued a G4 visa.

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.


  • Who can apply: 
    • 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, and the United Kingdom. Nationals from Slovenia, as an Associate Member, or Canada as a Cooperating State, can apply as well as those from Bulgaria, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania and Slovakia as European Cooperating States (ECS).
    • ESA is an equal opportunity employer, committed to achieving diversity within the workforce and creating an inclusive working environment. Applications from women are especially encouraged.
    • Appointments for an ESA research fellowship are for two years, with a possible third year extension. The fellowship in space science is tenable at the European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) in Noordwijk, the Netherlands, or at the European Space Astronomy Centre (ESAC) in Villafranca del Castillo near Madrid, Spain.
    • Applicants should have recently completed, or be close to completing their PhD in a technical or scientific discipline. 


  • Preference will be given to applications submitted by candidates within five years of receiving their PhD.
  • Strong preference will be given to candidates from under-represented Member States ( and from nationals of European Coorporating States.
  • Applications from female scientists and other under-represented minorities are especially encouraged.


  • The Fellowship Programme does not currently grant fellowships in institutions outside of ESA.

This page was last reviewed August 10, 2020 and last updated August 10, 2020