ESA Research Fellowship in Space Science

European Space Agency (ESA)

Grant amount: Approximately €60,000

Anticipated deadline: Oct 1, 2019

Applicant type: Postdoctoral Researcher

Funding uses: Fellowship

Location of project: Netherlands, Spain

Location of residency: Anywhere in the world

Location of citizenship: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Czech Republic Expand all

View website    Save Need help writing this grant?


General Information

The European Space Agency Postdoctoral Research Fellowship Programme is aimed at providing young scientists, holding a PhD or the equivalent degree, with the means to perform research in space science. 

Appointments for an ESA research fellowship are for two years, after which Fellows normally leave ESA. 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.

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 € 2500. 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.

Research Programmes

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 and carried out 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 have no additional functional duties nor are they involved in support activities for ESA missions, but they are encouraged to take an active part in the scientific life of the establishments.

The research projects proposed by applicants for an ESA Fellowship or for the International Trainee Programme 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 on the ESTEC faculty research and ESAC faculty research pages or at the research programme overview page. Candidates should consult these pages to identify which of the two centres offers the best overlap with their research programmes 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.

Research Programmes by topic:

  • Solar physics, heliophysics, and space plasma physics
  • Planetary science
  • Astrophysics: stars and planets
  • Astrophysics: galaxies and interstellar medium
  • Cosmology
  • Fundamental physics
  • Instrumentation

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

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


  • The Research Fellow Programme is open to nationals 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 UK, and Canada; Bulgaria, Latvia, Slovakia and Slovenia as European Cooperating States (ECS).
  • 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.


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