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The European Space Agency (ESA)
Head of the Operations Development Division
The European Space Agency (ESA)
ESAC, the European Space Astronomy Centre, is the ‘home’ of ESA’s space-telescope and planetary missions, the place from where science operations are conducted, and where all of the scientific data produced are archived and made accessible to the world.
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Publicado: hace 5 meses
Fecha límite de solicitud: jul. 21
Ubicación: Villanueva de la Cañada, España
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Head of the Operations Development Division

ESA is an equal opportunity employer, committed to achieving diversity within the workforce and creating an inclusive working environment. Applications from women are encouraged.

Head of the Operations Development Division This post is classified A5  on the Coordinated Organisations' salary scale.

ESAC, Villanueva de la Cañada, Spain

Under the direct authority of the Head of Department, the Head of the Operations Development Division in the Operations Department, Directorate of Science,  is responsible for developing the science operations of the Directorate's missions, following scientific requirements set by the respective project teams/scientists. For each mission, the Division is responsible for all activities associated with the pre-launch definition, implementation and verification of science operations as well as for successful completion of their inorbit commissioning and thereafter smooth transfer to the mission operations division. In performing these tasks, the incumbent will work in close collaboration with other Department and Directorate entities including the Science Support and Management Support Offices and the Future Missions and Science Projects Departments. The postholder is assisted by individual mission teams, each led by a Science Operations Development Manager.

Duties will include:

  • defining and optimising science operations for individual missions (including data processing and archiving, mission data products), particularly at the time of mission and instrument design (e.g. for Cosmic Vision missions);
  • advising on the resources required to deliver appropriate science operations, negotiating internally and where appropriate externally for the provision of those resources and adequate levels of funding;
  • supporting Principal Investigators and projects in defining common technical approaches to ground testing and orbital operations;
  • developing, procuring and verifying the science operations systems, tools, software and hardware to be used in the operational phases of missions;
  • managing resources, both staff and facilities, within the available cost envelope (including any industrial contracts associated with Division tasks);
  • interfacing as needed with Member State entities providing contributions to science ground segment;
  • liaising with national and international organisations concerning science operations and data systems;
  • monitoring ongoing science operations activities and new concepts for science operations internally and externally for potential relevance to future missions;
  • ensuring that Division personnel maintain scientific and technical proficiency for their duties.

Technical competencies

  • Science operations development
  • Large scientific software systems development
  • Background in one or more of the following domains: solar systems science, astrophysics, space science

Leadership competencies

  • Driving Performance
  • Developing & Motivating People
  • Strategic Vision & Business Context
  • Leading Change

Behavioural competencies

  • Results Orientation
  • Problem Solving
  • Planning & Organisation
  • Communication
  • Relationship Management

Additional requirements

Candidates should have:

  • proven experience of leading, motivating and developing large teams in an international scientific context; experience of managing managers and multiple teams is an asset.
  • the ability to provide strategic direction to the individuals and teams within the Division and relate team objectives to the overall and evolving organisational goals and context;
  • the ability to drive performance and foster cooperation within and across teams,;
  • demonstrated excellent leadership, relationship management and communication skills;
  • a proven track record of interacting with external parties, especially the scientific community and Principal Investigator teams;
  • excellent cognitive, analytical, delegation, planning and organisational skills;
  • the ability to anticipate problems, solve complex issues and relate situations to their context;
  • the ability to reach solution-oriented, pragmatic and timely decisions of high standard and integrity as well as support others (team members, upper management, other stakeholders) in this process.


Applicants for this post should have a PhD or equivalent degree in physics, space science, solar system science or astronomy.

For behavioural competencies expected from ESA staff in general, please refer to the ESA Competency Framework.    

For more information on the role of ESA managers in the implementation of corporate human resources policies, please follow Responsibilities of ESA managers.

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 closing date for application is 21 July 2017.

The Agency may require applicants to undergo selection tests.

If you require support with your application due to a disability, please email

Please note that applications are only considered from nationals of one of the following States: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania,  Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and Canada.

Priority will first be given to internal candidates and secondly to external candidates from under-represented Member States.

In accordance with the European Space Agency's security procedures and as part of the selection process, successful candidates will be required to undergo basic screening before appointment.

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