ESA Space Science Faculty

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The primary mission of ESA’s Directorate of Science is to “Empower Europe to Lead Space Science” via support to astronomical and solar-system research in the member states by developing and operating world-class space missions beyond the reach of individual countries.

Of the many functions needed to carry out this task effectively, some require the skills, judgement, and up-to-date space science knowledge that only scientists engaged in front-line research can provide. Their competency provides scientific judgement on matters pertaining to the scientific performance and use of the ESA missions and they should be encouraged to initiate, commission, and supervise continuous improvements for the benefit of all users. The ESA scientists also interact with the scientific community to stimulate new and innovative scientific applications of instruments and missions.

The ESA Space Science Faculty is a scientific forum within which ideas and views of interest to ESA and its scientists can be discussed.


In brief, the role of the Faculty:

  • survey and stimulate the research environment at ESA, supporting the research activities of the Directorate
  • provide a forum for scientific exchange between all scientists in the Directorate and beyond to the scientific community
  • develop novel ideas in space science, supporting the activities and missions of the Directorate
  • provide an advisory expert body to Directorate leadership on space science
  • promote ESA as a research centre in Europe among the scientific community

Faculty members in the SCI directorate are primarily located at ESTEC (in Noordwijk, The Netherlands), ESAC (in Villafranca del Castillo near Madrid, Spain) and the ESA Office at Space Telescope Science Institute (Baltimore, Maryland, USA). The Faculty also welcomes associate members from other ESA directorates, the Spanish Centro de Astrobiología (CAB) co-located at ESAC, and around the globe as long-term collaborators.

The current co-chairs of the ESA Space Science Faculty are Matteo Guainazzi (ESTEC), Bruno Merín (ESAC) and Chris Evans (STScI) and the ESA Space Science Faculty council members are:

  • Bruno Altieri and Jos de Bruijne: co-chairing the committee for the scientific review of the Research Fellowship applications, and 3rd year extensions.
  • Jacobo Ebrero and Peter Kretschmar: co-chairing the committee for the scientific review of the Research Proposals.
  • Álvaro Labiano and Ricardo Pérez Martínez: coordinating the approval, book-keeping and outcome tracking of the Faculty visitor programme.
  • Alicia Rouco Escorial and Sascha Zeegers: co-chairing the committee for the organisation of science seminars.
  • Chris Evans and Matteo Guainazzi: co-chairing the Scientific Organising Committee of the yearly Science Workshop (SSW).
  • Emily Rickman and Colin Wilson:  co-chairing the involvement of the Science Directorate in OSIP.
  • Bruno Merín: managing the Overleaf licenses for Faculty members.
  • Jorge Lillo-Box is an observer at the Council for the Center for Astrobiology (CAB) at ESAC.