Announcement of opportunities for the ESA PRESTIGE programme

Young scientists and engineers working on a high-level ESA project.

Announcement of opportunities for the ESA PRESTIGE programme


3 September 2008
The ESA Education Office is pleased to invite universities in ESA Member or Cooperating States1 to participate in the ESA “PRESTIGE” programme (PRrogram in Education for Space, Technology, Innovation and knowledGE).

Background Information
In recent years, ESA has identified the need to reinforce education/research in particular technical domains, seen as the critical areas of knowledge for future space programmes. In this context, the ESA Education PRESTIGE programme intends to foster that knowledge by granting research and training opportunities to European universities linked to these technical domains.

The objective of this initiative is twofold:

  • To increase the competence of European universities in areas identified as critical for the space domain, through a close research collaboration with ESA;
  • To provide opportunities to European students in their final year of a university Master or PhD course for a research internship at ESA in the identified fields, thus facilitating the transfer of knowledge and interaction between ESA and the universities.

To this end, the ESA PRESTIGE programme has identified a set of internship opportunities focusing on those areas where there is a shortage of competences.  

ESA offers various opportunities for young engineers and scientists.

Approach to the Implementation Phases
The ESA PRESTIGE programme consists of 2 phases, namely:

  • Phase 1: Research Activity (typically 6 months)
    The selected universities will receive grants up to 20k€ for two student scholarships who together, with the identified university research group, shall start a research activity on the ESA-identified space-related field. The students could include this research activity as part of their Master’s or PhD thesis syllabus.
  • Phase 2: Internship Period2 (typically 6 months)

    The selected students (typically 2 per university) will have the opportunity of a follow-on research activity at the European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC, the Netherlands) in a high-level, expert environment with support from ESA Scientists/engineers.

For the selected universities, it is also intended that the cooperation with ESA is performed during a period of up to 3 years3 to allow for the consolidation of close cooperation and the adequate knowledge sharing/acquisition4. Therefore, a total of up to 6 internship opportunities (2 per year) could be offered to the selected university groups.
Identified Research Topic Opportunities
Please visit the following link for the Statement of Work of the opportunities offered for this year. The applicants should fill in independent proposals for each of the opportunities listed in the Statement of Work.
Submission of Proposals
 In order to make the selection, the ESA Education Office solicits Letters of Intent from universities wishing to apply for a sponsorship within the ESA PRESTIGE programme.

Letters of Intent must be accompanied by the CVs of the 2 students proposed for an internship at ESA, and also the CV(s) of the academic staff that will be involved in the research project.

All of this material should be submitted to before 15 October 2008.

An acknowledgement of receipt will be given by return of e-mail.

1 The 17 ESA Member States are: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. Canada, Hungary, Poland, Romania and the Czech Republic participate in some ESA projects under cooperation agreements.

2 Phase 2 activities will be funded, subject to an agreement with the Education Office, by the ESA Human Resources Department The terms and conditions of this Phase 2 will be therefore announced later on the web.

3 It should be understood that the grant of 20k€ covers only the Phase 1 of the first year. If the contract is renewed for more years (up to a maximum of 3 years) additional grants will need to be provided for every additional year.

4 The Purchase Order process will follow the rules defined in the ESA General Purchase Conditions tailored when necessary by the special conditions to be defined in the ESA Purchase Order issued to each selected university.
In addition, the evolution of the programme will be revisited on a yearly basis in order to assess whether it provides the expected results or not.