ESA title

Internship in Bibliographical Research at EAC

30/09/2016 2830 views 4 likes
ESA / About Us / Careers at ESA

The Astronaut Training Division at the European Astronaut Centre is looking for a highly motivated master’s student with a background in aerospace or extreme environments medicine (interface between human beings and the environment) and experience in bibliography research for a six-month internship.

Overview of the Astronaut Training Division

The Astronaut Training Division, located at the European Astronaut Centre at Cologne, is responsible for the definition, development, implementation and evaluation of ESA astronaut training programmes. Concerning astronaut training for the International Space Station (ISS), the Division is in charge of the training of all ISS astronauts from ESA and from the International Partners on all ESA provided ISS contributions.


Overview of the EURAC Institute of Mountain Emergency Medicine

The Institute of Mountain Emergency Medicine, located at the European Academy at Bolzano, aims to improve the diagnosis and treatment of casualties and acutely ill patients in mountainous regions. The main focus of the research embraces physiological adaptations/diseases related to extreme environments and investigations on the treatment of injuries and acute illnesses in difficult terrain.

Overview of the CAVES course

CAVES is an expeditionary team training programme conducted by ESA as a space analogue, in underground caves in Italy. This course prepares astronauts from all ISS Partner agencies to work safely and effectively as international teams in critical environments, while performing science and exploration, according to an ISS-like operational setup.

More on CAVES can be found in the links provided.


Underground caves have been used for a long time to study human adaptation to extreme environments (e.g. darkness, low/high temperature and high humidity). A number of physiological and neurobiological aspects (e.g. endocrinological and immunological changes, nutrition deficiencies, cardiovascular function at rest and during exercise, visual dysfunction, sleep disturbances, vestibular/sensorimotor changes, feeling behaviour) have been studied. Moreover, a number of reports have been published regarding atmospheric science, radiation and medical rescue operations in caves (e.g. air composition, partial pressure of oxygen and carbon dioxide, radiation level, cold and heat illness, incidents in caves and rescue operation).  Results from this research may be useful within the prospect of future long duration space flight and consequently to adapt the training programme for astronauts.


Overview of the tasks proposed in this internship

There is important scientific literature on the subject and it would be very useful to produce a structured overview of what has been studied and reported.

The first part of the project, currently on-going, has mostly focused on human physiology (e.g. immunologic changes, visual dysfunction and hormonal response) and neuroscience (e.g. circadian rhythm, hallucinations, vestibular/sensorimotor changes, feeling behaviour). The continuation of the bibliographic research will additionally cover subjects such as emergency medicine, radiation,  psychological aspects and atmospheric science.

Under the direction of a Research Director, the selected intern will be in charge of continuing the scientific review of biomedical and rescue researches performed in underground caves and prepare a final report summarising the findings of the review.


Duties will include:

  • To explore all available sources of scientific publications
  • To contact universities or libraries in order to get publications
  • To integrate the data from all bibliography sources
  • To support the writing of at least two reviews about physiological, psychological and/or rescue aspects in cave environment (discussing challenges expected on space exploration missions)


Desired skills & experience:

  • Applicants must be fluent in English
  • Applicants must be fluent in Italian and/or French (knowledge of minimum 1 of the two languages is required, knowledge of both is an asset)
  • Applicants should be enrolled in a Masters course or equivalent post-graduate qualification (preferred subjects are aerospace medicine, extreme environments medicine, psychology or human-environment interface)
  • Experience in bibliography research and familiarity with databases such as PubMed, Cochrane and EMBASE is an asset
  • Applicants must be organised and result oriented


Enthusiasm and the willingness to show initiative are important. Successful applicants will be expected to work as part of a team within a multi-cultural environment. 

Terms and Conditions:

  • full-time internship 5 days per week (40 hours per week)
  • €600 monthly allowance  for non-residents and €300 for residents. A non-resident is defined as someone living more than 50 km from EAC
  • Student interns have to provide a university enrolment certificate and must be enrolled as a student throughout the entire duration of the student internship
  • Student interns have to provide their own health insurance, accident insurance and travel expenses
  • duty station is the European Astronaut Centre outside Cologne, near Cologne-Bonn airport
  • earliest start date: 16 January 2017
  • you must be a citizen of an ESA member or cooperating state in order to be eligible
  • more information and the application form can be found in the links provided.

Closing date:

The closing date for applications is 15 November 2016.

How to apply:

Interested? If so, please send to your:

  1. Curriculum Vitae
  2. Letter of Motivation
  3. ESA application form

Related Links