Vacature Head

Head in Noordwijk Zh

Head of the Payload Technology Validation Section

Job Requisition ID: 18052

Closing Date: 28 November 2023 23:59 CET/CEST

Establishment: ESTEC, Noordwijk, Netherlands

Directorate: Directorate of Science

Publication: Internal & External

Vacancy Type: Permanent

Date Posted: 7 November 2023

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.

ESTEC, Noordwijk, Netherlands


The Future Missions Department (SCI-F) is in charge of mission preparation activities for the Science Programmes, including in particular mission definition studies (Phases 0/A/B1) and technology development activities. Within the Future Missions Department, the science payload instrumentation for science missions is partly or fully provided by ESA Member States under the Agency's overall management.
The Payload Technology Validation Section is in charge of specific mission-oriented validation activities for science missions, aiming to reduce development risks to the payloads in the implementation phase and to support the scientific community in the Member States.


Reporting to the Head of the Science Instrumentation Division (SCI-FI), your responsibilities will include:

  • overall management of the Section's activities and hardware heritage in accordance with the objectives set by the Head of Division;
  • for future science missions, the detailed definition and timely implementation of mission-specific payload technology validation activities on the ground, relating for example to critical interfaces with the spacecraft or science performance dependence on the sensor degradation induced by radiation damage, required to reduce the mission development risks or enable an implementation decision.
  • contributing to elaborating and implementing the Cosmic Vision and Voyage 2050 technology development plans;
  • identifying and elaborating new instrument technologies required for the Science Directorate's programmes, participating in the elaboration and implementation of the Cosmic Vision and Voyage 2050 technology development plan and performing follow-up of nationally funded activities;
  • providing payload expertise and support to projects under development as required, for example through participation in reviews and technical support;
  • providing specific support on request for projects under development, such as Ariel, and missions in operation, such as Euclid;
  • providing general support to the Department's activities: evaluating proposals in response to calls for missions, participating in reviews and providing payload expertise for system studies.

Technical Competencies

Experience with science instruments in all phases

Experience in the design, performance analysis, development and testing of various types of space instrumentation and detectors

Experience in dealing with complex space payloads and space science technology development

A well-developed system view and understanding of payload requirements, development needs, knowledge of payload technologies and general space instrumentation

Hands-on experience in payload validation activities


A PhD or master's degree in engineering or applied physics is required.

Additional requirements

You should, in addition, have:

  • the potential to manage individuals or a diverse team of technicians, engineers and scientists within the Section;
  • the ability to organise individual and team activities and ensure a motivating work environment;
  • strong leadership capabilities, with proven relationship management and communication skills;
  • the ability to drive your team's performance, developing your people by encouraging learning, delegating responsibility and giving regular and constructive feedback;
  • strong problem-solving skills to deal with day-to-day operational challenges, together with demonstrated planning and organisational skills;
  • a strong result orientation with the ability to set priorities and present practical solutions both orally and in writing;
  • the ability to manage challenging situations proactively and constructively and to be customer-focused.

People management experience is an asset, as is international experience, i.e. outside your home country, as well as experience in diverse functional areas relevant to ESA activities.

Salaris:onbekend – onbekend
Uren per week:1 – 40

Heb je interesse in deze vacature en wil je graag op deze functie solliciteren? Neem dan contact op met ARES - (Association of Retired ESA Staff in Nederland). via onbekend of onbekend. Of bezoek hun website onbekend.

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