Living Planet Fellowship call for proposals 2023


The LPF aims at supporting the new generation of scientists in ESA Member States to undertake cutting-edge research in Earth Observation and Earth System Science, maximise the scientific impact of ESA missions and European EO capacity and respond to the main challenges of the ESA science strategy.

This call is motivated by the urgent need to foster the new generation of scientists to develop advanced science-based solutions that respond to the major challenges that society is facing in the onset of this century.

With this call ESA plans to support a new set of research post-doctoral positions to be co-funded by ESA with a maximum overall price of 150KEuro. This call includes also the following important additional opportunities: e.g.,

  • An option to support the scientific use of cloud computing capabilities,
  • An option to support small ground-based experiments and in-situ data collection,
  • A new visiting scientist scheme to join the ESA Earth System Science Hub.
  • A visiting scientist scheme to promote cross-institute collaboration



The main objective of the Living Planet Fellowship is

“to support young scientists, at post-doctoral level, to undertake cutting-edge research in Earth Observation, Earth System Science or Climate Research, maximising the scientific return of ESA and European EO missions and datasets through the development of novel EO methods, techniques and products, and by delivering excellent scientific results addressing the grand Earth Science challenges of the next decade, enabling improved predictions of the physical interaction of society with the Earth system.”

The Living Planet Fellowship aims to achieve this objective by:

  • Enabling leading edge research to be undertaken by the new generation of scientists with focus on major scientific challenges and knowledge gaps in Earth system science that may contribute to respond to the urgent societal needs underpinning the European and global environmental and development agendas.
  • Maximising the scientific impact of the unique and unexplored opportunities offered by the increasing European space-based observing capacity (Sentinels, Earth Explorers, meteorological missions, national and commercial missions) complemented with 3rd party mission data, existing long-term EO-based data records (e.g., ESA heritage mission data, CCI ECVs), in-situ data and citizen observations.
  • Promoting an open science approach where sharing data, results and knowledge is at the core of the scientific value chain.
  • Capitalizing on novel and emerging technologies, incorporating platform technologies, advances in ICT, data intensive science or Artificial Intelligence as an amplifier and accelerator of science.



Host Organisations’ Candidates shall propose a 2-year research plan contributing to at least one of the following areas:

  1. Advancing Novel Methods and Techniques: Targeted research projects aimed at developing innovative methods, novel algorithms and new EO products and datasets expanding the scientific use of the Sentinel missions, the Earth Explorers or the ESA long-term data archives into new scientific areas and application domains. Activities shall establish a solid basis to expand the missions’ product portfolio and stimulate novel science results and innovative applications. Priority will be given to develop and validate novel algorithms, data processing techniques, advanced methodologies and new EO-based products that may maximise the novel capabilities offered by the Sentinel missions, the unique data offered by the Earth Explorers, the long-term series of ESA data archives, and its synergies also in combination with meteorological and non-ESA missions.
  2. Advancing Earth System Science: Cutting-edge scientific activities aimed at maximizing the scientific impact of ESA and European missions in terms of new discoveries and advances in Earth system science addressing the challenges of the ESA EO Science Strategy (Section 3). Projects shall contribute to answer major open questions in Earth system science, address global scientific challenges and community priorities posed by international Earth System Science communities and international science groups (e.g., WCRP, SOLAS, AIMES, iLEAPS, GCP, etc…). Priority will be given to activities that maximise the scientific return (in terms of scientific results and publications) of ESA and European EO assets including Sentinel, Earth Explorers and Meteo mission data, the long-term ESA archive and existing EO-based long-term datasets (e.g., ESA project results).
  3. Activities in Support of the Sentinel User Preparation Programme: scientific research aimed at preparation of European entities to exploit the opportunities offered by the future Copernicus Sentinel Expansion and Next Generation missions. In particular, projects shall contribute to the development of the scientific basis for novel methods, algorithms and products beyond core mission objectives and goals with a focus on exploring the scientific opportunities offered by the huge synergistic potential across missions in all domains of Earth system science. Activities are expected to be based on “proxy” data (similar sensors and data types that could be used to simulate the data) from existing missions (e.g., national missions), airborne campaigns or even simulated data (e.g., model inversions).


While the emphasis is on scientific excellence, a balance will be sought in awards across the three themes.




Open call28th August 2023
Submission of Proposals27th October 2023
Communication of Results (tentative)4th Quarter 2023
Beginning of Activities (tentative)1st Quarter 2024


Any questions relating to this Call must be sent, by e-mail to, not later than two (2) weeks before the Closing Date.



Frequently Asked Questions

Clarification 1