ESA co-funded Phd studentships through the Open space innovation platform (osip)


ESA’s Open Space Innovation Platform promotes new ideas for space technology and applications. The most relevant funding channel for SCI-S is the ESA co-funding of PhD studentships. This channel replaces the Networking/Parntering Initicative (NPI).  

PhD students will be co-funded by ESA up to 90000 Euros, but not exceeding 50 % of the total cost. These posts are typically for three years. In the past, the PhD students in science spent a total of about 6 months at ESAC, distributed over one or two short visits per year which. In the future, we intend to move towards one 6-12 months research stay at ESAC or ESTEC instead of several shorter visits.

There are two sources for ESA co-funding of PhD studentships. ESA’s Discovery and Preparation Program selects a number of research ideas for PhD theses from all of ESA for each month. Ideas can be submitted at any time. In addition, SCI-S funds up to 4 projects out of all ideas that have been received by end of January.  The next deadline is 31 January 2020. Start of the selected programs is foreseen for approximately October 2020.  Except for the deadline from SCI-S, the application process is the same for both funding sources.

The application for co-funding takes place in two steps. First the research idea needs to be submitted. Anyone can submit an idea. Go to and select the channel “Open Discovery Ideas Channel”, then click  on “Submit your Idea”.  To submit an idea, ESA staff needs to sign in using their corporate login, while others have  to register first to get an account. The main selection criterion from the Open Space Innovation Platform is novelty of the idea, see the OSIP website for more information.  For ideas to be implemented in SCI-S, important criteria are the scientific value of the research and the benefit to the Research Programs performed by scientists at SCI-S.

When filling in the web form, please provide in the “Scheme Specific Information” a description of the foreseen research and its novelty relative to the state of the art and how it connects to research currently done at SCI-S. There is no enforced limit, but we expect typically 1000-2000 words to be sufficient. Please also mention that the project is foreseen for implementation in SCI-S.  

In the second application step, selected ideas are followed by a more detailed proposal phase. This includes a more detailed project description, a letter of commitment from the University and possibly other co-funding sources, CVs of the student and the University supervisor, and for SCI-S, we will also ask for a letter of commitment for the ESA part of the supervision/tutoring  of the student. Therefore, the cooperation should in practice already be pre-agreed between SCI-S scientists) and the University partner when submitting the idea.

Questions on the co-funding of PhD studentships in SCI-S can be asked by email.



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