Skip to content

European Space Agency Post-graduate Research Grant Programme

The European Space Agency (ESA) Grant Programme aims to encourage original research on the history of the ESA and its predecessor organisations, ELDO AND ESRO.

Two grants of EUR 5000, funded by ESA and administered by the European University Institute (EUI), may be awarded each year to support research based on the historical fonds of the organisation that are deposited at the Historical Archives of the European Union. 

Selected candidates enjoy a unique research experience at the HAEU, embedded in the international scholarly community of the EUI in Florence.


The grant competition is open to post-graduate students and early career academics in history and other social sciences and humanities who are either nationals of or are affiliated with an academic institution in ESA Member, Associate or Cooperating States.

These include current postgraduate students (master’s and doctoral candidates), as well as postdoctoral researchers or university teachers who have completed a master’s degree or doctorate within ten years preceding the date of application, and who currently hold an academic appointment. In view of the languages used in the ESA historical archives, candidates should have a sound knowledge of English and basic knowledge of French.

Research objectives of the ESA grant

The ESA grant is meant to increase knowledge about the origins of the European Space Agency, the development of European space research, and the evolution of Europe’s activities in space. In 2024, the funders are especially keen to support projects that examine how the ESA came into being, from historical and/or organizational points of view.

The research should form the basis for an academic publication (thesis, dissertation, book or scholarly article) that provides an analysis of some dimension of the ESA, European space research and/or Europe in space. Research projects presented by postgraduate students or postdoctoral researchers should preferably relate directly to their master’s or doctoral field of research.  

Application Procedure and Deadline

The 2024 call for applications will open from 1 March 2024 until 31 May 2024.

Candidates must apply through the HAEU's online application form once the call is open.

Applications and all supporting documentation must be submitted in either English or French.

To complete the online application, candidates should prepare the following files:

  • CV, including recent publications (2 pages maximum);
  • Presentation of the research proposal, including a description of the research subject and its relevance to the history of the ESA, its academic significance, the proposed research methodology and timetable, and plan for scholarly publication of the research results (5 pages maximum);
  • Bibliography of sources and studies related to the research (5 pages maximum);
  • Justification of the need to use the ESA archival fonds at the HAEU in Florence (2 pages maximum);
  • Letter of recommendation from a university or university-level research institute providing an evaluation of the scholarly significance of the project and an assessment of the candidate’s qualifications, abilities and motivation to carry out the proposed research.

The deadline to apply is 31 May 2024.


The ESA and the HAEU will organise the selection of the candidates, taking into consideration the excellence of the application file, the significance and originality of the proposed research, the feasibility of the project, the project’s relevance to the history of the ESA, the candidate’s ability to carry out the research, and most importantly the necessity for using primary archival sources at the HAEU.

The selection is based on equal treatment of applicants, with no discrimination based on nationality (ethnic origin), race, colour, religion or other beliefs, age, disability, sexual orientation and gender of the applicants.

Grant Awards

Successful applicants will receive a research grant of EUR 5000.

The grant will be paid in two instalments:

  • a first instalment of EUR 2000 at the start of the research, as attested by the Director of the HAEU;
  • a second instalment of EUR 3000 after the research results have been published by the grant holder and once the grant holder has informed the Director of the HAEU on the publication. The results must be published within 30 months after the grant is taken up.
  • The publication shall be issued at the latest 36 months from when the grant was attributed.

Publications and Commitments

Grant holders undertake to ensure that all subsequent publications or productions using in whole or in part the results obtained under the auspices of the research grant appropriately acknowledge the grant programme. In addition, they will provide ESA and the HAEU with a copy of the publication. ESA and HAEU may invite the researcher to present the outcome of the project and use the publication for promotion and educational purposes.

More information

Questions about the European Space Agency (ESA) Grant Programme may be sent to [email protected]

Selected projects

Cirac-Claveras, Gemma
The History of a Curve. Satellites, Sea Level Rise, and Climate Change.

Groll, Dorian
Governing climate through satellites and algorithms. The development, diffusion and use of Copernicus data for climate governance.

Frankowski, Pawel 
Choosing to collaborate: the role of norms in outer space in the ESA/Russia relations 1985-1994

Savina, Tonio
ESA-China astro-political relations in the post-cold war era: an archival analysis.’

Page last updated on 29/02/2024

Go back to top of the page