Artificial Intelligence (AI) has the power to accelerate the global response to climate change and is the focus of a new research fellowship position call with the European Space Agency.

AI algorithms can systematically organise petabytes of data, uncover new insights and train models that predict change. This makes their application across the fields of Earth observation and climate research increasingly attractive, especially when the need to slow and adapt to negative future consequences is becoming ever more urgent.

The new two-year fellowship is a joint collaboration between two parts of ESA’s Directorate of Earth Observation Programme - the Climate Office which oversees the development of key global climate satellite datasets (part of its Climate Change Initiative) and informs both the UNFCCC and the wider science community and the innovation-focussed phi lab (Φ-lab) which connects partners from industry, national and international organisations and the third sector through its AI4EO initiative.

AI is regularly deployed in EO research but remains in its infancy. The aim of the this new fellowship is accelerate exploitation of state-of-the-art AI techniques to improve development of ESA’s EO-based datasets that address Essential Climate Variables and form the basis for characterising climate change. It is anticipated that the fellowship will develop and curate training data sets and tools to enable the user community to develop AI4Climate applications that will enhance societal resilience to climate change, particularly in the areas of health, air quality and urban heat island, as well as applying global data to inform regional actions.

The fellowship is a unique post-doctoral research opportunity to undertake innovative and applied research with access to both AI4EO and climate experts. Year one will be based in the Φ-lab, at ESA’s ESRIN facility, Frascati Italy. The fellow will be embedded in the ESA Climate Office at ECSAT, Oxfordshire, UK in year two.

Applicants should have recently completed, or be close to completion of a PhD in a related technical or scientific discipline. Preference will be given to applications submitted by candidates within five years of receiving their PhD

The successful candidate should also have:

  • Ability to handle satellite and satellite-based EO datasets.
  • Ability to deliver high-quality research and publish in high-level journals
  • Ability to present findings of research activities to technical and lay audience
  • Knowledge of themes of interest, such as EO, AI, Climate, analytics, and New Space
  • Proven experience leading research, with international recognition.
  • Ability to think outside the box and explore new avenues, with natural curiosity and a passion for new subjects and research areas
  • Ability to work in a multicultural environment as part of a team
  • Experience with one or more general purpose programming languages (e.g. Python) and with general purpose deep learning frameworks e.g. Tensorflow, PyTorch;
  • Natural curiosity and a passion for new subjects and research areas, including AI, EO, and New Space

The closing date for applications is 15 January 2023 23:59 CET/CEST.

Further information on this Internal Research Fellowship is available from ESA's job opportunities page.