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ESA Co-funded Research

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ESA / About Us / Careers at ESA

ESA is looking for novel ideas related to space activities, and novelty is the differentiator. 

ESA is offering to co-fund novel, space-related PhD and post-doc research activities. Part of the effort to strengthen the innovation capacity of the European space sector, these co-funded research activities increase interaction between ESA, European universities, research and industry.

Sponsorship may be provided in a number of ways:

  • Co-funding – ESA co-funds with up to 50% and up to €90,000 research for a doctoral degree (typically three years) or post-doctoral investigation (typically two years)
  • Access to ESTEC laboratories: researchers are able to use ESTEC facilities
  • Technical support –participants gain access to ESA experts with whom to discuss concepts and assess their potential for space applications
  • Participants are encouraged to include industrial partners for further cooperation and build 'innovation networks'

Who can apply?

Researchers (PhD or post-doc research projects)

How to apply?

Innovative doctoral or post-doctoral research proposals need to be submitted to the Open Discovery Channel at ESA’s new Open Space Innovation Platform.  Apply any time of the year, evaluations take place each month.

When does it start?

For selected co-funded research activities, contracts will have to be signed between ESA and the host university. Depending on processing time at the host university, up to six months can be necessary before the actual research activity can start.

More information
Open Discovery Channel: