Le National Trainee Programme belge à l'ESA

Call for application 2023 is CLOSED

Your space career starts with three initials: NTP

Are you fascinated by space and want to carry out genuinely cutting-edge research? With the Belgian National Trainee Programme, or NTP, we give you the opportunity to work on current space projects at the European Space Agency (ESA). Satellite operations, robotics, manned and unmanned spaceflight, Earth observation and mission analysis are just some of the exciting areas of work in which our trainees have taken on demanding tasks.

Vertical take-off for young researchers

As a trainee at ESA, you will gain your first professional experience in research, planning and development. You are in the best place to do so. You will work in interdisciplinary teams of scientists from the 22 ESA member states, some of them world leaders in their field.
You need to fulfill the following requirements:

  • Belgian citizenship
  • To have completed a technical or science university degree, Master's degree (completed no more than two years ago) or a PhD
  • Occasionally – depending on the specific vacancy – also an economics or law degree
  • Very good command of English – knowledge of another foreign language, especially French, is an advantage
  • Eagerness to work in an international environment

Every year we announce approximately 5 NTP positions. You will receive a monthly bursary from the Belgian Science Policy Office (BELSPO) for the total duration of employment – 12 to a maximum of 24 months. You will be based at one of the ESA sites (Germany, France, Italy, Spain, UK, the Netherlands or even Belgium). This is a great opportunity to achieve a successful career in the space sector – all you have to do is decide where you want your  mission to take you.

Turn your enthusiasm for space into a career: your application

Open Belgian NTP positions with a technical or natural science scope, sometimes also for those with an economics or law degree, are generally announced by BELSPO once a year in August for employment starting around November/December of the same year. You may apply for one position only. By the time you start working at ESA you should have earned your degree – not at the time of your application. The application should be in English, and consist of a motivation letter and your CV (preferably Europass format ) including date of birth and citizenship.

Send the documents to

The selection process

If we are convinced by your application, we will invite you to an interview with BELSPO and ESA experts in September. The relevant ESA department will also be involved in deciding whether or not you´re accepted to the NTP. The successful candidates will be announced in October and will receive their contract at a kick-off event. Usually, on-the-job training at ESA will start in November or December of the same year or January of the following year.

Getting serious: terms and remuneration

Throughout the two-year trainee programme, you will receive a monthly bursary of at least 2600€ from BELSPO. In addition - and depending on your location - BELSPO will support you at the beginning of your traineeship with a one-off grant for relocation and travel expenses, including the return trip.
As a NTP trainee at ESA, an experienced ESA tutor will supervise you throughout your trainee period. BELSPO will also support you and would like to be informed of the work you are performing. At the mid-term and end of the trainee period BELSPO asks each trainee to provide a written report on the experience gained throughout the NTP.


Tom Verbeke
Recherches et applications spatiales