The Paul Scherrer Institute PSI is the largest research institute for natural and engineering sciences within Switzerland. We perform cutting-edge research in the fields of future technologies, energy and climate, health innovation and fundamentals of nature. By performing fundamental and applied research, we work on sustainable solutions for major challenges facing society, science and economy. PSI is committed to the training of future generations. Therefore, about one quarter of our staff are post-docs, post-graduates or apprentices. Altogether, PSI employs 2200 people.

The European Space Deep-tech Innovation Centre (ESDI) is a joint initiative between the European Space Agency (ESA) and Switzerland. ESDI tackles bottleneck use- inspired deep-tech challenges and unlocks new commercial opportunities by supporting ambitious, clearly defined, and measurable research programs in the areas of quantum technologies, data management and processing, materials innovation and processing, and sustainable space ecosystem. Within this context ESDI will run a Phi-Lab within the new ESA Phi-labNET for innovation.

Join our team located in the new Park Innovaare right beside PSI as a

Program Manager ESA Center of Excellence in Materials (Scientist)

Your tasks

Reporting directly to the Head ESDI (ESA) and as member of the senior team, your primary responsibility is to oversee the successful launch of a designated ESA Phi-Lab Research Program, nurturing an environment of disruptive innovation within this specific domain. You will manage the program's operations, collaborate with other Program Managers, and contribute to the Phi-lab's overall mission. Your duties include implementing research roadmaps for technology acceleration within your program and building a network of individuals and organizations interested in the technologies developed through these research activities. Your goal is to facilitate emergent innovations and the transition of accelerated and matured technologies into commercialization.

Your tasks will include:
  • Establishing the programs for materials quality and materials process innovation at the Phi-Lab at ESDI, creating mechanisms that foster cross-fertilization and inter-disciplinary collaboration
  • Contributing to ESDI’s foresight to identify current and future technology needs of the European space sector, particularly of ESA
  • Designing, advertising and delivering open calls for use-inspired research for space objectives including contractual and financial aspects
  • Establishing a network of academic, industry and ESA partners in the relevant fields
  • Elaborating and providing support to the promotion and positioning of ESDI and Phi-Lab at ESDI as a centre of disruptive innovation
  • Contributing to the project and administrative tasks of ESDI and Phi-Lab at ESDI

Your profile

  • PhD degree in a relevant field (e.g., materials sciences, physics, chemistry, engineering, etc.) or equivalent research experience (minimum 4 years) and proven ability to design and deliver research programs, experience working in/with industry is preferred
  • Affinity to space
  • Relevant networks and connections in materials innovation and processing and preferably space sector
  • Further education or experience in technology management, entrepreneurship or innovation management and commercialization is an asset
  • Visionary critical and creative thinker comfortable with complexity, decentralization and flexibility in uncertain environments
  • Highly proficient in spoken and written English and at minimum one additional Swiss language

We offer

Our institution is based on an interdisciplinary, innovative and dynamic collaboration. You will profit from a systematic training on the job, in addition to personal development possibilities and our pronounced vocational training culture. If you wish to optimally combine work and family life or other personal interests, we are able to support you with our modern employment conditions and the on-site infrastructure. 

This is a fixed-term position. The employment contract will (initially) be limited to 4 years.

For further information, please contact Dr Thierry Strässle, phone +41 56 310 32 46.

Please submit your application online by 19 July 2024 for the position as a Program Manager ESA Center of Excellence in Materials (Scientist) (index no. 1100-00).

Paul Scherrer Institut, Human Resources Management, Adina Keller, 5232 Villigen PSI, Switzerland