Head of the Operations Department

Submission Information
Publish Date: 
Monday, July 30, 2018
Archive Date: 
Monday, August 27, 2018
Job Summary
Job Category: 
Science Management
Institution Classification/Type: 
Villanueva de la Canada
Job Announcement Text: 


Vacancy in the Directorate of Science.

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


ESAC, Villanueva de la Cañada, Spain  


Under the direct authority of the Director of Science, the postholder is responsible for the management and operation of the Directorate’s missions once successfully commissioned. These responsibilities are discharged in full coordination with the Directorate’s Departments and Offices and, as appropriate, with the Directorate of Operations.


The postholder is responsible for leading and managing the Department in carrying out its tasks, which includes:

  • overall managing of the Directorate's missions in orbit, following completion of in-orbit commissioning;
  • ensuring that the maximum scientific return is maintained as a target through the operational phases of the Directorate's missions;
  • managing and executing science operations in the operational phase of missions;
  • developing the science operations for the Directorate’s missions in cooperation with the Future Missions Department, the Projects Department and the Science Support Office;
  • responsibility for all aspects of the schedule, budget, staffing and operational performance aspects of activities under the Department 's responsibility, ensuring the necessary resources are available on time, within programme-level constraints;
  • ensuring a positive and motivating working environment in the Department;
  • managing the Department workforce with accountability for all resources and activities delegated to it;
  • maintaining and developing Department member's expertise and scientific/technical competence to meet current and future needs, taking due account of their motivation, aspirations and ongoing professional development;
  • participating in research activities and fostering research by Department personnel.

Technical competencies

  • Extensive experience in the development and execution of science operations, preferably of large space- or ground-based international projects
  • Knowledge of space projects, including instrumentation and operations
  • Extensive experience in managing (and managing the managers of) large scientific and technical teams, preferably in an international context
  • Experience in interfacing with external parties, especially the scientific community and Principal Investigator teams
  • Experience in research in space science

Leadership competencies

  • Strategic vision & business context
  • Fostering cooperation & effective team-working
  • Leading change
  • Promoting diversity
  • Developing & motivating people

Behavioural competencies

  • Communication
  • Ambassadorship
  • Customer Focus
  • Planning & Organisation


Applicants should have a PhD or equivalent degree in astrophysics, physics or space/planetary/heliospheric science.

Additional requirements

Candidates should also have:

  • the ability to provide strategic direction to individuals and teams and relate team objectives to the overall and evolving organisational goals and context;
  • the ability to anticipate problems, solve complex issues and relate situations to their context as well as to support others (team members, senior management, other stakeholders) in this process.

Other Information

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

The closing date for applications is 31 August 2018.

For further details please visit the Application website


Application Deadline: 
Friday, August 31, 2018
Selection Deadline: 
Thursday, October 11, 2018
Current Status of Position: 
Accepting Applicants
Apply to Job
Attention To: 
Kasia Osuch
Institution/Company Job ID or Reference Code: 
Req ID 7421