Head of the Mission Operations Division in 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: 
Government Agency
European Space Agency
Department Name: 
Operations Department
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 Head of the Operations Department, the postholder is responsible for the overall management of the operations and for the execution of the science operations of the Directorate missions, after successful completion of in-orbit commissioning. The postholder will work in close collaboration with other elements of the Directorate including the Science Support Office, the Management Support Office and the Projects Department.


The main duties include:

  • overall managing of Science Directorate missions in orbit, following commissioning and until the end of in-orbit operations, interfacing as required with the Directorate of Operations;
  • being responsible for all schedule, budget, staffing and operational performance aspects of missions under the Division's responsibility and ensuring that the necessary resources are available on time within the programme-level constraints;
  • executing the science operations of missions under the Division's responsibility;
  • ensuring that the maximum scientific return is maintained as a target throughout the operational phases of the Division's missions;
  • maintaining a positive and motivating working environment in the Division;
  • managing the Division’s workforce with accountability for all resources and activities delegated to it;
  • maintaining and developing Division members’ expertise and scientific/technical competence in order to meet current and future needs, taking due account of their motivation, aspirations and professional development;
  • participating in the research activities of the Department and fostering ongoing research by Division personnel;
  • monitoring ongoing science operations activities and new concepts internally and externally for potential relevance to future missions.

Technical competencies

  • Experience in science operations, preferably in the context of ESA missions
  • Knowledge of space projects, including instrumentation and operations
  • Managing large technical and scientific teams
  • Experience in interfacing with external parties, especially the scientific community and Principal Investigator teams
  • Experience in research in space science

Leadership competencies

  • Driving performance
  • Fostering cooperation & effective team-working
  • Developing & motivating people
  • Strategic vision & business context

Behavioural competencies

  • Responsible Decision-Making
  • Communication
  • Planning & Organisation
  • Customer Focus


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

Additional requirements

It is desirable that candidates also:

  • have proven experience of leading, motivating and developing large teams in an international science context, a specific asset being experience of managing managers and multiple teams;
  • be able to anticipate problems, solve complex issues and relate situations to  context;
  • be able to reach solution-oriented, pragmatic and timely decisions of high standard and integrity while also supporting others (team members, upper 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: 
Wednesday, October 31, 2018
Current Status of Position: 
Accepting Applicants
Apply to Job
Attention To: 
Kasia Osuch
Institution/Company Job ID or Reference Code: 
Req ID 6521