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Vacancy: Research Coordinator – Earth Observations (Oxfordshire, UK)

Research Coordinator – Earth Observations
Oxfordshire, UK
Closing date 4 February 2019

A PDF of the position description is available here

Location: ESA Climate Office, ECSAT, Harwell Campus, Didcot, Oxfordshire, UK with regular visits to the Swedish Hub of Future Earth Secretariat in Stockholm. Some international travel will be required.

Support Period: Jan 2019 – Dec 2021

Specific Tasks:

The Research Coordinator shall address the challenges listed in the ESA Earth Observation strategy and the Future Earth 2025 Vision. This is broken down into tasks supporting Future Earth, tasks supporting ESA and tasks supporting the wider Earth Observations (EO) community:

Support to Future Earth

  • This will be done by linking projects and programmes within ESA with the Global Research Projects and Knowledge Action Networks of Future Earth. ESA’s Climate Change Initiative programme and Earth Observation Envelope Programme offer a number of ways to link Future Earth and ESA through joint projects and activities, designed to maximise the use of ESA data and further the aims of Future Earth. The Research Coordinator will advise on where links to the Global Research Projects and Knowledge Action Networks can be made and look to initiate new links.
  • Develop joint activities between ESA and Future Earth that create new users of ESA EO data and/or find new uses for existing ESA EO data and data products.
  • Manage the budget, in cooperation with Future Earth Global Hub Director, for the joint activities.
  • Support the four current joint ESA-Future Earth initiatives that will kick off in 2019 (awarded December 2018), and other planned joint activities, including ESA sessions at the Global Land Project and IMBER conferences.
  • Bring Future Earth scientists to meetings organised and supported by ESA to promote the potential of Earth observation data to new communities and develop links with the Global Research Projects and Knowledge Action Networks.
  • Increase ESA involvement in Future Earth conferences and events, e.g. through sponsorship, keynote speakers, joint sessions, etc.
  • Work with the Future Earth Media Lab to bring EO data to an even wider audience while simultaneously bring the Future Earth narrative to life.

Support to the ESA Climate Change Initiative Programme

  • Provide an interface between the Climate Change Initiative (CCI) and the Future Earth community to ensure that the products derived from the CCI are appropriate, available and accepted by the scientific community. Facilitate the involvement of Future Earth researchers in the exploitation of the CCI data sets.
  • Manage the interface between the outreach tools of the CCI programme (Climate from Space, Open Data Portal, Toolbox) and the research community within Future Earth. Specifically, provide project management support for the Knowledge Exchange contract.
  • Document and publicise achievements of the CCI Programme through appropriate channels (through Future Earth and other Newsletters, at conferences and in the scientific literature, in coordination with ESA Staff).
  • Support the involvement of the CCI programme in upcoming conferences and meetings such as the annual ESA CCI Collocation meeting, the annual ESA CCI CMUG meeting, and relevant Future Earth conferences.
  • Support the involvement of the CCI programme in the UNFCCC COP and SBSTA events, as well as representation in the IPCC reports, and coordinate this work with Future Earth where appropriate.
  • Maintain the CCI publications database.

Contributions in a wider EO context

  • Act as the liaison between Future Earth and the Group on Earth Observation (GEO), known as the GEO Principle, to identify strategic collaborations and opportunities for Future Earth to engage with GEO and its members. In this context, contribute to the science-policy planning of Future Earth to maximise the impact and relevance of Future Earth’s work.
  • Provide support to Future Earth in its interaction with the wider Earth Observation community, e.g. with the Committee of Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS), CODATA, etc.


Essential skills:

  • A PhD, preferably in Earth Sciences, or 3-5 years relevant experience working in the academic sector.
  • A deep understanding of Earth Observations and global environmental change research.
  • Good knowledge of the European Space Agency and experience in environmental remote sensing applications development and/or research.
  • Good knowledge of Future Earth, as well as the key international science coordination networks and groups. 
  • Strong interpersonal skills and ability to work independently and within a team.
  • Excellent communication and networking skills.
  • Excellent organisational and planning skills, with the ability to work independently and prioritise own workload.
  • Ability to think strategically, see needs and take initiative.
  • Ability to work flexibly and adaptably.
  • Very good knowledge of English, both verbal and written. The working languages of the European Space Agency are English and French. The knowledge of French or another member-state language is an asset.

Preferred Skills

  • Applicants should have experience in the exploitation of Earth Observation data, particularly ESA missions
  • Good knowledge of the international climate community and policy decisions.
  • Experience of managing and reviewing budgets and grants.
  • Flexible and willing to work on a range of activities to meet the needs of ESA and Future Earth.

In line with Asylum & Immigration Legislation, all applicants must be eligible to live and work in the EU. The successful applicant will not be an employee of ESA or Future Earth and must be able to enter into a legal agreement with Future Earth, either through a consultancy company or via their own company. 

About the partnership

The European Space Agency has partnered with Future Earth to encourage new and innovative ways of using satellite Earth observation data. Seed funding is available for Future Earth Global Research Projects and Networks to expand the use of ESA Earth Observation (EO) data, products, and tools in order help support transformations towards sustainability. Support is also available for the Future Earth community to participate in meetings organised or supported by ESA in order to better link users of EO data with the data providers.

The partnership strengthens Future Earth’s links with the observation community and ensures that ESA’s strategic direction is guided by Future Earth. The first call for ESA-Future Earth Activities was in November 2016, which were awarded in early 2017.  The second call was in late 2018. 

Further details of the previous joint activities are available on the Future Earth website.

Application Process

Send a CV and cover letter in English, with your motivation and how your experience matches the role. Include the name and contact details of two referees. Selection and interviews are ongoing. Mark your application with "Future Earth" and send by e-mail to Further information can be obtained from Zlatko Kotevski +46 708 575 888 from the recruitment firm Tresurs Business Development.

Closing Date: 4 February 2019