Head of the Φ-Lab
European Space Agency
Frascati, Italy
18h fa


Head of the Φ-Lab in the Future Systems Department, Directorate of Earth Observation Programmes.


Under the direct authority of the Head of Department, the postholder is responsible for promoting investments in industrial innovation within the EO domain and developing partnerships with new actors entering the EO sector.

The postholder will foster entrepreneurial initiatives aimed at developing new business opportunities in EO for both its upstream and downstream segments and improving European economic operators’ competitiveness in global markets including those for :

  • EO missions, satellites and subsystems;
  • mission operations;
  • ground segment technologies;
  • Duties include :

  • facilitating high-risk / high-potential developments based on co-funding, public-private partnerships (PPP) and other financial risk-mitigation mechanisms;
  • enabling pioneers of radically innovative technologies in space and non-space domains to connect and interact with mainstream activities across all EOP Departments to demonstrate their benefits for ESA’s EO activities;
  • managing a cooperative framework through which these actors can work with ESA to explore the potential of these new technologies for EO by rapidly prototyping new, disruptive concepts in an informal, multidisciplinary, collaborative environment : the Φ-lab;
  • elaborating detailed proposals for applying such technologies in mainstream activities across all EOP Departments.
  • The postholder will be supported by the Φ-lab Explore Office team responsible for exploring new technologies from space and non-

    space domains, prototyping, demonstrating and adapting them for use on EO missions, systems, products, applications and services, and also by the Φ-

    lab Invest Office team responsible for activities fostering investment in industrial innovation within the EO domain.

    Technical competencies Knowledge of scientific discipline, including strategic vision of the Earth Observation areaUnderstanding of space system architecturesExperience in the development of EO applicationsComputer science including Artificial Intelligence technologiesKnowledge of innovation-

    related processesKnowledge of international scientific communityKnowledge in EO Big Data and digital services Leadership competencies Developing & motivating peopleStrategic vision & business contextActing as a role model Behavioural competencies Problem SolvingResponsible Decision-

    MakingTeamworkAmbassadorshipInnovation & CreativityRelationship Management Education

    Master's degree or equivalent qualification in engineering, physics or mathematics. Holding a PhD is a strong asset.

    Additional requirements

    Candidates should also have :

  • proven experience of leading, motivating and developing a team of experts in a project or R&D environment;
  • 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 throughout the organisation;
  • demonstrated excellent leadership, relationship management and communication skills, both oral and written;
  • a proven track record of representing the Agency’s interests to external interfaces;
  • 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 to support others (team members, upper management, other stakeholders) in this process.
  • Experience in managing managers and multiple teams is an asset, as is international experience, i.e. outside the candidate’s home country, as well as experience in various functional areas relevant to ESA’s activities.

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