Hyperspectral Applications Scientist

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Vacancy in the Directorate of Earth Observation Programmes.


ESA is an equal opportunity employer, committed to achieving diversity within the workforce and creating an inclusive working environment. We therefore welcome applications from all qualified candidates irrespective of gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, beliefs, age, disability or other characteristics. Applications from women are encouraged.


This post is classified A2A4 on the Coordinated Organisations’ salary scale.


ESRIN, Frascati, Italy


Hyperspectral Applications Scientist in the Data Applications Division, Science, Applications and Climate Department, Directorate of Earth Observation Programmes.


Reporting to the Head of the Applications Section, you will be responsible for defining and implementing projects supporting the development of innovative Earth observation (EO) imaging spectroscopy applications.


High-spatial resolution imaging spectroscopy in the visible to shortwave infrared wavelength range (hyperspectral instruments providing a spatial sampling distance of 20 to 30 metres) is a powerful tool for the remote sensing of Earth surface properties and dynamics. Spectroscopic observations with hundreds of contiguous spectral channels provide crucial detection sensitivity for a wide range of key geophysical processes. The technique has gradually evolved from technological demonstration projects and early scientific studies towards pre-operational applications and is now one of the fastest growing areas in remote sensing given the rich volume of data generated by hyperspectral instruments. Applications are linked to most domains and ecosystem types and functions and are often strongly interconnected. They include:


  • vegetation traits and dynamics, such as agriculture operations, forest management, photosynthetic and non-photosynthetic vegetation biomass, plant nitrogen retrieval and peatland monitoring;
  • soil properties, such as toxic element assessment, topsoil organic carbon and land degradation;
  • atmospheric applications, such as mapping methane point sources and characterisation of other anthropogenic GHG emissions;
  • mineral composition and abundance and urban applications;
  • inland and coastal aquatic ecosystems, such as water management, pollution, wetlands restoration and hydrology;
  • cryosphere applications, such as snow and ice condition monitoring in mountainous and polar environments.


Your tasks and responsibilities will include:


  • managing Earth observation applications projects in the context of ESA programmes, particularly for activities in Block 4 (Science for Society) of the ESA FutureEO programme and its Sentinel user preparation (SUP) objectives;
  • organising thematic consultation meetings to review state-of-the-art EO hyperspectral applications in order to collect new user needs and recommendations;
  • engaging with new user communities involved in the various domains in close coordination with the Data Applications Division;
  • pioneering EO products, analytics and precursor services relating to the wide range of hyperspectral applications, including agriculture, soils, hydrology, surface water, urban and forestry;
  • developing innovative EO applications with a multi-mission synergy approach, fully leveraging cloud computing environments, big data analytics and cutting-edge information technologies and pursuing open-source algorithms and tools;
  • enhancing the data exploitation for hyperspectral applications in synergy with other non-EO data streams and models;
  • facilitating the uptake of the applications developed by the heterogeneous end-user communities, such as policy implementers, industry sectors, civil society organisations, environmental agencies and financial entities;
  • establishing partnerships with key relevant policy stakeholders, such as the EU and the UN, and with authoritative user organisations, for example national ministries, statistical offices, local authorities and environment agencies, to contribute to the international responses to global societal challenges such as the Sustainable Development Goals and the European Green Deal;
  • demonstrating the upscaling potential of hyperspectral applications towards global products and its potential to monitor dynamic processes with high temporal revisits, handling the complex challenge of the enormous data stream from hyperspectral instruments;
  • supporting the collection of evolving user needs for future EO hyperspectral mission applications, such as NewSpace, Sentinel Next Generation, Sentinel Expansion missions and national missions;
  • fostering communication and scientific publications on project achievements;
  • supporting the preparation and definition of relevant future new ESA programme elements.


In addition, you will:


  • support other activities of the Data Applications Division and other relevant ESA programmes;
  • contribute to ESA communication efforts, promoting EO hyperspectral application results, mission achievements and EO’s benefits for society;
  • supervising and supporting the work of Young Graduate Trainees and Research Fellows, organising their activities and ensuring a motivating work environment.

Technical competencies

Knowledge of scientific discipline and remote sensing retrieval techniques for hyperspectral applications
Experience in the management of R&D activities
Knowledge of international and European environmental and development policy context
Experience in the coordination and leadership of international scientific collaborations

Behavioural competencies

Result Orientation
Operational Efficiency
Fostering Cooperation
Relationship Management
Continuous Improvement
Forward Thinking


A master’s or PhD in remote sensing, geophysics, engineering or relevant subjects in relation to EO hyperspectral (high-spatial resolution imaging spectroscopy) applications is required for this post

Additional requirements

At least four years of experience in related remote sensing applications development with a multi-mission approach, and/or relevant research.
Knowledge of international hyperspectral technical and end-user communities.


The following will be considered assets:
• Knowledge of and experience in high-resolution thermal remote sensing and applications, for example evapotranspiration and water productivity;
• International work experience gained outside your home country.

Other information

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

For further information please visit: Professionals, What we offer and FAQ


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 Agency may require applicants to undergo selection tests.


At the Agency we value diversity and we welcome people with disabilities. Whenever possible, we seek to accommodate individuals with disabilities by providing the necessary support at the workplace. The Human Resources Department can also provide assistance during the recruitment process. If you would like to discuss this further please contact us email contact.human.resources@esa.int.


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, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and Canada, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia and Slovenia.


According to the ESA Convention, the recruitment of staff must take into account an adequate distribution of posts among nationals of the ESA Member States*. When short-listing for an interview, 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 conducted by an external background screening service.


Recruitment will normally be at the first grade in the band (A2); however, if the candidate selected has little or no experience, the position may be filled at A1 level.

*Member States, Associate Members or Cooperating States.