Internal Research Fellow (PostDoc) in Power Management

European Space Agency (ESA)



Internal Research Fellowship Opportunity in the Directorate of Technology, Engineering and Quality.


ESA is an equal opportunity employer, committed to achieving diversity within the workforce and creating an inclusive working environment. For this purpose, we welcome applications from all qualified candidates irrespective of gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, beliefs, age, disability or other characteristics. Applications from women are encouraged.


This post is classified F2 on the Coordinated Organisations’ salary scale.


ESTEC, Noordwijk, Netherlands


Our team and mission

The Power Management and Distribution Section is a lively, social and competent group of people, with a great work atmosphere. Young Graduate Trainees (YGT) and Research Fellows are fully integrated into the Section and participate in all meetings. They have access to support from all members of the Section as needed. The Section is responsible for:

• power system architectures, working on the optimum architecture definition and the overall sizing of the system, linking with colleagues from the solar array and battery sections;
• primary power system units, working on the topologies and features of the main power conversion units;
• secondary power conversion, working on DC/DC converters, control systems, protections, etc.;
• distribution systems, working on the safest and most efficient way to distribute protected power to all units;
• technologies for power conversion, working on the use of GaN and SiC switches, digital control, new topologies, etc.

In addition to performing their assigned tasks, YGTs and Research Fellows are welcome to participate in any other activity taking place within the Section if they are particularly interested in them.


You are encouraged to visit the ESA website:

Field(s) of activity/research for the traineeship

You will be integrated into the Power Management Section with colleagues working on a wide variety of power electronics and power systems issues.


In particular, your research activities will be dedicated to the study of new system topologies with new components and control methods. GaN switches have opened the door to new topological concepts that were unthinkable with conventional Si MOSFETs. The reduced cost and better performance enable the use of more complex arrangements, including multi-port connections through a single switching cell.

The idea is to study the power system topologies to connect the following items:
– the solar array
– the battery
– the main power bus
– the electrical propulsion bus
– a possible avionics dual bus

through a single switching cell that is connected or disconnected by a bi-directional GaN switches arrangement.

Combined with the use of a fixed ratio conversion stage (DCX), this will enable the building of very flexible and capable power systems based on standard modules.

From a technology point of view, the use of GaN switches and digital control form the basis of the concept.
Digital control will be used in a multi-layer system, controlling the switching cells at local level and the global power system connections to produce the power flow to the ports required at every moment: the battery, the payload, the platform or the electrical propulsion system.


From a topology point of view, a variety of options must be explored, including four-switch buck-boost topologies, Dual Active Bridges, DCX transformers and resonant topologies.

Technical competencies

Ability to conduct research autonomously
Knowledge relevant to the field of research
Breadth of exposure coming from past and/or current research/activities
Ability to gather and share relevant information
General interest in space and space research
Research/publication record

Behavioural competencies

Result Orientation
Operational Efficiency
Fostering Cooperation
Relationship Management
Continuous Improvement
Forward Thinking


You should have recently completed or be close to completion of a PhD in a related technical or scientific discipline. For this position, a PhD in any topic related to power conversion or power systems is required. Preference will be given to candidates who have received their doctorate in the last five years

Additional requirements

Knowledge on modelling, simulation tools and Python will be an asset.
Hands-on experience in the design, breadboard manufacturing and testing of DC/DC converters will be an asset.
In addition to your CV and cover letter, please also include a research proposal of no more than 5 pages

The working languages of the Agency are English and French. A good knowledge of one of these is required. Knowledge of another Member State language would be an asset.

Other information

For behavioural competencies expected from ESA staff in general, please refer to the ESA Competency Framework.


For further information on the Internal Research Fellowship Programme please visit: Internal Research Fellowship


The Agency may require applicants to undergo selection tests.


In addition to your CV and your motivation letter, please add your proposal of no more than 5 pages outlining your proposed research in the “additional documents” field of the “application information” section.

At the Agency we value diversity and we welcome people with disabilities. Whenever possible, we seek to accommodate individuals with disabilities by providing the necessary support at the workplace. The Human Resources Department can also provide assistance during the recruitment process. If you would like to discuss this further please contact us at [email protected].


Please note that applications are only considered from nationals of one of the following States: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. Nationals from Latvia, Lithuania and Slovenia, as Associate Member States, or Canada as a Cooperating State, can apply as well as those from Bulgaria, Cyprus and Slovakia as European Cooperating States (ECS).

According to the ESA Convention, the recruitment of staff must take into account an adequate distribution of posts among nationals of the ESA Member States*. When short-listing for an interview, priority will first be given to candidates from under-represented or balanced Member States*.(


In accordance with the European Space Agency’s security procedures and as part of the selection process, successful candidates will be required to undergo basic screening before appointment conducted by an external background screening service.

*Member States, Associate Members or Cooperating States.

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