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European Space Agency Post-graduate Research Grant Programme

The European Space Agency (ESA) and the European University Institute (EUI) offer a grant programme for European post-graduate scholars in history and other social sciences and humanities interested in ESA and Europe in space to conduct research at the Historical Archives of the European Union (HAEU). The historical archives of ESA and its predecessor organisations (ELDO and ESRO) are deposited at the HAEU and are open for consultation after 15 years.

Two research grants of EUR 5,000 each will be available each year.

Purpose and Objectives

The grant programme provides young scholars in history and other social sciences and humanities from Europe (either nationals of or affiliated to an academic institution in ESA Member, Associate or Cooperating States), who are interested in ESA and Europe in space, with a unique research experience in the HAEU, embedded in the international scholarly community of the EUI in Florence.

Eligibility and Admission

  • All current postgraduate students (master’s and doctoral candidates);
  • All 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.

Successful applicants will prepare a publication (thesis, dissertation, book or scholarly article) related to the history or other social sciences and humanities of ESA and 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.

In view of the languages used in the ESA historical archives, candidates should have a sound knowledge of English and basic knowledge of French.

Application Procedure and Deadline

The call for applications will be opened on 15 April 2023. Candidates may apply through the HAEU's online application form.

The deadline for applications is 31 July 2023.

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

Completed application files should include:

  • CV with any previous publications (max 2 pages);
  • Presentation of the research proposal, including a description of the research subject, its academic significance, the proposed research methodology and timetable, and plan for scholarly publication  of the research results (max 5 pages);
  • Bibliography of sources and studies related to the research (max 5 pages);
  • Justification of the need to use the ESA archival fonds at the HAEU in Florence (max 2 pages);
  • 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.

Grant Awards

Successful applicants will receive a research grant of EUR 5,000 to cover all research expenses.

The grant will be paid in two instalments:

  • a first instalment of EUR 2,000 at the start of the research, as attested by the Director of the HAEU;
  • a second instalment of EUR 3,000 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.


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 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.

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.

Selected projects

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 27/06/2023

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