Science & Exploration

Research Announcements

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ESA / Science & Exploration / Human and Robotic Exploration / Research

ESA research announcements are the official access routes for institutional users to use research facilities managed by ESA's Directorate of Human and Robotic Exploration. The Science Department of ESA’s Human Spaceflight and Exploration Directorate recently undertook an extensive exercise to create a new strategy, focusing on a set of newly-defined goals to positively shape its research programme and maximise research. 

The roadmaps can be found here.

Scientists are strongly encouraged to address at least one the topics highlighted in the document above in their proposal. The following continuously-open research announcement opportunities are available:

Call for Ideas: SciSpacE biology roadmaps evolution post 2024 and refinement of ESA's Space Station biology research capabilities
The SciSpacE research goals and specific objectives were defined with the research community in 2016 as 'Science Roadmaps' which cover a broad range of life and physical research areas as well as cross-disciplinary topics. The potential extension of International Space Station operations until 2030 provides the opportunity to evolve the current roadmaps to address gaps, refine research focus areas and experimental approaches. The objective of this call for ideas is to engage the European research community in the refining the focus areas for the SciSpacE Biology Roadmaps in the post-2024 period and the evolution of the International Space Station Biology research capabilities to enable associated experimental studies. Taking into account the current roadmap objectives, boundary conditions and preliminary recommendations described in the Call For Ideas, researchers are invited to propose ideas for key research questions to be addressed within the context of the roadmap objectives.
Deadline: 7 February 2020 

Download the Biology Roadmaps in PDF format.

Download the Call For Ideas proposal template in Word format.


Call for Concordia research medical doctor candidates

Every year since 2005 ESA has been sponsoring a medical doctor to spend almost one year on the Antarctic Concordia station run by the French IPEV polar institute and the Italian PNRA Antarctic programme. In order to pursue ESA related activities at Concordia, ESA releases a call for candidates with a medical degree to fill the Research MD position for the next Concordia Winter-Over crew of 2021.

Deadline: 14 January 2020

Download the application form in PDF format.

Topical Team opportunity

ESA has a long history of supporting so-called Topical Teams to enhance European collaboration and focus on research. Topical Teams, depending on their subject, include experts from European universities, research entities and industries who together formulate succinct and relevant proposals for comprehensive research. Support to new Topical Teams in the “Science in the Space Environment (SciSpacE)” programme will continue and expanded to multidisciplinary research to increase international collaboration.

Download the information package in PDF format.

Download the submission proposal template in Word format.

Drop tower

The Bremen drop tower is one of the tallest and best-known drop tower facilities in Europe. At the heart of the facility is the 146-m tall tower surrounded by support facilities that include control rooms, laboratories and workshops. Capsules are released from a height of 120 m offering 4.74 s of microgravity experiment time. The capsule experiences a deceleration of up to 50 g after the experiment is completed. Through this continuously-open research announcement, scientists are invited to apply with experiment proposals that use the unique capabilities of the drop tower.

Dedicated information package

Proposal submission template

Ground-based facilities programme

ESA's ground-based facilities programme is a highly valuable low-cost tool allowing scientists to push forward their understanding of basic science aspects, preparing for more complex spaceflight experiments and advancing human and biological aspects for exploration. Through this continuously-open research announcement, scientists are invited to apply with experiment proposals that use the capabilities of the facilities in this programme.

Dedicated information package

Proposal submission template

Investigating biological effects of space radiation

Radiation in space is considered a potential ‘show-stopper’ for human exploration of space. ESA' programme "Investigating biological effects of space radiation" (IBER) was formed to advance knowledge that is needed sustain long-duration human exploration missions. This continuously-open research announcement scientists are invited to apply with experiment proposals that use the capabilities of the facilities that are part of IBER.

Dedicated information package

Proposal submission template

Microgravity Application Promotion

Due to funding issues, this programme has been discontinued. The Microgravity Application Promotions programme will be continued in 2020 in an evolved form within ESA's Business in Space Growth Network (for more information, please go to:

Parabolic flights

Parabolic flights are the only sub-orbital carriers that allow scientists to run biological, biomedical and physiological experiments in microgravity or other (reduced) gravity levels. In addition to testing facilities before use in space, parabolic flights validate operational and experimental procedures, and train astronauts for future spaceflight. Through this continuously-open research announcement, scientists are invited to apply with experiment proposals that use the the parabolic flight aircraft.

Dedicated information package

Proposal submission template

Sounding rockets

Sounding rockets launch experiments to the edge of space before falling back to Earth. These flights can carry 100-kg experiments up to 750 km high with up to 13 minutes of microgravity. Through this continuously-open research announcement, scientists are invited to apply with experiment proposals that use the sounding rocket launches that participate in this programme.

Dedicated information package

Proposal submission template

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