How to apply

Fill in the online application form (the links will be active around early September 2019). You need to upload your CV, your motivation letter and your research proposal.

The motivation letter must contain contact information of three referees willing to write letters of reference and who we can contact at a later stage of the selection process. Please provide us also with a prioritised list of the establsihments (ESAC, ESTEC, or STScI) you are willing to work.

Your research proposal must clearly state:

  • Section 1: Title of your Research Project

    If you prefer, you can identify a staff member you want to work with. The list of staff members at ESAC is here and from ESTEC here.

  • Section 2: Purpose of Fellowship at ESA (in about 250 words, give a very brief summary of your research programme and explain why it is relevant to ESA's science activities.)
  • Section 3: Current and past research and future plans for the Fellowship (use up to about 1500 words and a couple of figures, plus any references, to provide a detailed description of your current and proposed research.)
  • Section 4: List of publications (list refereed and unrefereed papers separatly, give authors, title and bibliographic reference but no abstract, unless the paper is unpublished)

For your research proposal, we recommend you use this Word template or this LaTeX template.

Take into account that applications wll be reviewed by a panel of space scientists who may not all be expert in your area, and comprehensiveness to a general physicist is highly encouraged. The evaluation criteria comprises the scientific value of the proposal, realism (e.g. schedule), the value for ESA (e.g., related to one or more ESA missions, links to activities in the faculty of the preferred establishment), and the past/potential productivity of the applicant (publications, expected impact of publishable results).

Applications satisfying the general conditions for eligibility will be evaluated, and highly ranked applicants will be invited for an interview.

Interested candidates are encouraged to visit the ESA website:

Changes compared to previous calls:

  • It is no longer necessary to contact and choose a mentor for the application (will be done after arrival).
  • Only provide contact details for reference letters, which will be requested by us if needed.
  • It is not necessary to identify an establishment in your application, however a prioritised list of establishments has to be provided.

What happens after the application has been received?

Inquiries regarding the application process can be sent at any time to the fellowship coordinators.

Within 3-4 weeks, candidates considered for interview will be contacted to produce a video recording following pre-formulated questions. The concept is explained under

About 2-3 weeks later, candidates selected for a personal interview will be notified. Besides an interview, candidates are asked to give a short talk (15 min + 5 min for questions) to present their current and proposed research programme at a jamboree open to the whole science faculty.

During their visit, normally lasting two days, candidates are encouraged to interact with other fellows and staff members, to familiarise themselves with the ESA science faculty.

Successful candidates will be notified within 2-3 weeks of the conclusion of the interviews and normally fellowships commence in the autumn (September/October).