Vacature Internal Research Fellow Postdoc

Internal Research Fellow Postdoc in Noordwijk Zh

Internal Research Fellow (PostDoc) in Artificial Intelligence

Job Requisition ID: 18204

Closing Date: 11 December 2023 23:59 CET/CEST

Establishment: ESTEC, Noordwijk, Netherlands

Directorate: Directorate of Technology, Engineering and Quality

Publication: External Only

Vacancy Type: Internal Research Fellow

Date Posted: 20 November 2023

Internal Research Fellowship Opportunity in the Directorate of Technology, Engineering and Quality .

ESA is an equal opportunity employer, committed to achieving diversity within the workforce and creating an inclusive working environment. For this purpose, we 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

Our team and mission

This research fellowship will be undertaken in ESA's Advanced Concepts Team (ACT), a group of postdoctoral research fellows and young graduates from a broad variety of academic fields aiming to pursue academic careers. The team's task is to monitor, perform and foster research on advanced space systems, innovative concepts and working methods. It interacts externally almost exclusively with academia and operates as a truly interdisciplinary team bound by high scientific standards. Through its research, the team acts as a pathfinder to explore novel, potentially promising areas for ESA and the space sector, ranging from applied to basic fundamental research topics. An important task of the team is to communicate scientific trends and results as input to the strategic planning of the Agency.

The Advanced Concepts Team is at the forefront of developing and applying artificial intelligence (AI) techniques in the context of space. AI research initiatives were initiated within the ACT in 2006, with a primary focus on enhancing various aspects of space missions. This endeavour involved augmenting mission design tools with alternative approaches based on swarm intelligence, evolutionary robotics, evolutionary computing, deep neural architectures, reinforcement learning and neuromorphic computing, among other things. Given the continual influx of innovative ideas and solutions emerging from AI research, the team is entrusted with the responsibility of monitoring and developing ground-breaking findings and incorporating them into creative and pioneering domains.

You are strongly encouraged to familiarise yourself with the research done by the ACT , especially in the field of artificial intelligence but also in the complementary fields of computer science and the other main research lines of the team.

You are encouraged to visit the ESA website:

Field(s) of activity/research for the traineeship

You will be responsible for proposing and conducting research in the field of artificial intelligence with a specific focus on theoretical aspects and their applications in space-related contexts. Research areas and projects are determined collaboratively, with research fellows contributing their expert insights and judgment to select topics and leading some of the necessary developments. In addition, the team aligns some of its research choices with the strategic directions of the Agency. Previous research interests have encompassed a wide array of topics, including symbolic regression, evolutionary computing, physically-informed neural networks, neuromorphic architectures, neural ordinary differential equations, Hamiltonian neural networks, neural radiance fields, large language models, reservoir computing and liquid state machines.

Scientifically, you will:

  • propose and conduct research in the field of AI, potentially collaborating with universities in ESA Member States, especially through the Ariadna programme;
  • evaluate and explore emerging concepts and theoretical methods in AI to identify potential synergies with ESA's objectives;
  • enhance the collection of open-source tools managed and advanced by the team, aligning with the principles of open science philosophy;
  • stay up to date on the latest developments in AI, ensuring that ESA's AI initiatives remain relevant and competitive.

As a Research Fellow with the ACT, you will:

  • publish results in peer-reviewed publications and use modern communication tools to communicate with the broader audience within and external to ESA;
  • lead and assist in interdisciplinary projects with other ACT researchers;
  • collaborate with your peers in the field to foster knowledge exchange and innovation;
  • participate, together with the team, in the assessment of proposed space system concepts - not restricted to artificial intelligence and computer science - and propose new concepts and assessment studies;
  • perform and participate in assessments on topics of strategic interest to ESA, providing in-house expertise towards strategy development.

Technical competencies

Knowledge relevant to your field of research

Research track record

Ability to conduct research autonomously

Breadth of exposure obtained from past and/or current research

Interest in space and space research

Ability to gather and share relevant information


You must have obtained:

  • a degree in AI, computer science, mathematics or engineering;
  • a PhD in AI, before taking up duty, with a thesis topic relevant to the tasks outlined above.

You should be aiming toward a career in academia and/or research.

Additional requirements

You should also have:

  • Interest in and ability to perform prospective interdisciplinary research;
  • Ability to contextualise specialised areas of research and quickly assess their potential with respect to other domains and applications (rapid prototyping);
  • Academic networking skills to create functioning links with universities and research institutes;
  • Ability to work in a team as well as independently in accordance with your own research plans and directions;
  • Natural curiosity and a passion for new subjects and research areas;
  • Proficiency in C++ and Python programming languages.

Specific characteristics of the Research Fellowship
The position of Research Fellow (RF) in ESA's Advanced Concepts Team is similar to a regular academic postdoctoral placement, but with a number of notable differences:

The working languages of the Agency are English and French. A good knowledge of one of these is required. Knowledge of another Member State language would be an asset.

The Agency may require applicants to undergo selection tests.

In addition to your CV and your motivation letter, please add your proposal of no more than 5 pages outlining your proposed research in the "additional documents" field of the "application information" section.

Functie:internal research fellow postdoc
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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