ESA call for proposals: support to young researchers

3 February 2010

ESA is again offering young scientists the opportunity to undertake innovative research projects aimed at advancing the understanding of the Earth system, with a call for proposals for the Changing Earth Science Network initiative.

This initiative, launched last year, supports European postdoctoral scientists for two years to undertake innovative research projects that address specific scientific challenges outlined in ESA’s science strategy for Earth observation (EO).

The strategy, drafted in collaboration with the scientific community, outlines the 25 major scientific challenges faced today in which EO may provide key contributions to understand better the interacting components of the Earth system, how they are affected by changes our planet is undergoing and, at the same time, how they are impacting the overall Earth system.

As the initiative aims to foster the development of a dynamic network of young scientists in Europe with a detailed knowledge of ESA and its EO programmes, selected candidates will have the option to carry out part of their research in an ESA centre as a visiting scientist. This opportunity enhances direct cooperation between ESA and the new generation of scientists from ESA Member States.

The new call for proposals was issued on 29 January. From the proposals received, up to 10 postdoctoral scientists from Member States will be selected. The deadline for the proposal submission is 29 March 2010.

Following the first call for proposals issued at the end of 2008, 11 projects were selected covering different components of the Earth system, including oceans, atmosphere, land, cryosphere and solid Earth, and key areas of research where ESA missions may provide a key contribution.

This initial group of selected scientists presented their preliminary results at a dedicated workshop held at ESA’s Earth Observation Centre (ESRIN) in Frascati, Italy, last November.

The workshop included several interesting presentations demonstrating the potential of ESA EO data to address key points in Earth science.

The topics addressed covered cutting-edge research in oceanic, land, atmospheric and solid Earth thematic areas, including improvements in the retrievals of atmospheric carbon dioxide from Envisat’s Sciamachy instrument; assimilation of ocean colour data from Envisat’s optical MERIS instrument into biogeochemical ocean models in order to gain a more precise insight into the carbon fluxes between the ocean and the atmosphere; and the use of Synthetic Aperture Radar data to understand the geophysical processes leading to the formation of the rift valley in East Africa.

The Changing Earth Science Network was developed as one of the main programmatic components of the Support to Science Element (STSE).

The new call for proposals and all the documentation can be accessed from the STSE website.

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