ESA Ethics Ombudsperson

European Space Agency - ESA
Added: April 20, 2024

ESA Ethics Ombudsperson

Job Requisition ID: 18597

Closing Date: 2 May 2024 23:59 CET/CEST

Establishment: ESA Headquarters, Paris, France

Directorate: Director General

Publication: External Only

Type of Contract: Various Agreements

Date Posted: 4 April 2024


The European Space Agency (ESA) consistently promotes ethical behaviour through different mechanisms, and to this aim is setting up an Ethics Ombudsperson.

The ESA Ethics Ombudsperson shall operate in an advisory capacity and be an independent contact point for individuals working at ESA, for receiving and assessing allegations of unethical behaviour having taken place at ESA’s premises or in the context of its operations. They shall provide recommendations on addressing the allegations, under the applicable legal framework, to the individuals, the Director General (DG) and/or the relevant ESA Services.

While the other applicable ESA reporting mechanisms remain available, the ESA Ethics Ombudsperson provides an additional channel for solving issues, without formal decision-making powers.


Remote work from an ESA Member State with some travel to different ESA establishments.


The ESA Ethics Ombudsperson shall:

  • provide advice to all individuals working at ESA about mechanisms that are available within ESA’s applicable policies and/or procedures on ethical matters;
  • act as a designated, independent, external contact point for receiving allegations of unethical behaviour, recommend to the DG and/or the relevant Agency Services, appropriate measures, including the launch of an investigation, within the ESA legal framework as per the applicable policies and procedures;
  • be informed of the outcome/s of such measures and/or investigations recommended by the Ombudsperson, and further escalate the matters with the DG, as deemed necessary;
  • advise the DG and relevant Agency Services on ethical matters, where relevant, with a view of strengthening of ESA policies or procedures and their implementation, including lessons learned;
  • provide the ESA Council with an annual activity report including statistics and recommendations to enhance ethics at ESA.

Envisaged profile

To safeguard the independence of the role, the ESA Ethics Ombudsperson shall not be a serving or former staff member or expert/consultant of the Agency, nor a serving or former member of Delegations of Member States, Associate Members States or Cooperating States, nor a serving or former member of the Audit Commission or ESA Oversight Committee. An impeccable record for integrity and professional ethical standards is essential.

Technical competencies

  • Seasoned Ethics, compliance and risk management acumen, ideally gained while working in large international, inter-governmental organisations;
  • Extensive expertise in analytical and evaluative competencies in the Ethics domain, including in an environment with existing legal and compliance requirements and investigative approaches;
  • Strong understanding of conflicts of interest concepts and management, ESG, Diversity and Inclusion principles and whistleblower protection against retaliation;
  • Excellent ability to interact with stakeholders at varying seniority levels and provide guidance, practical advice and follow up on ethical matters, with highest standards of confidentiality and personal data protection, inspiring trust and confidence;
  • Proven ability to build and maintain strong cross-functional relationships, balancing strategic direction and practical advice;
  • Outstanding written and verbal communication skills (in English), clearly and concisely articulating complex concepts, proficiency in providing advisory briefings or reports to senior leaders (including ESA Council);
  • Proven track record of process/policy development and improvement as well as cultural change.

Education And Experience

  • Advanced university degree (master's degree or equivalent degree) in public or business administration, law, applied ethics or public ethics with a focus on administrative ethics, governance, human resources and/or labour relations.
  • A minimum of fifteen years of experience in public administration, human resources management, administrative law, ethics, compliance, risk management, audit functions or anti-corruption programmes within a large public sector institution or international organisation.
  • A minimum of seven years of serving as executive or senior manager roles, leading prominent activities in the area mentioned above.

Assessment and appointment

Qualifying candidates will be assessed by a pre-selection Board. Based on the recommendations of the Board, the ESA Director General will submit a proposal to ESA Council concerning the nomination to be made for the role of ESA Ethics Ombudsperson.

Remuneration And Additional Information

Owing to the advisory and demand-led nature of the role, the ESA Ethics Ombudsperson role will be governed by ESA's arrangements for expert and consultancy contracts, with the remuneration based on a days-worked basis.

The ESA Ethics Ombudsperson’s term of office is set at three years, renewable once for another period of three years. The Agency shall provide for all necessary facilities, including IT tools, to support the ESA Ethics Ombudsperson in the carrying out of their duties.

Please note that the Agency will only consider candidates from the following states:

Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Canada, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia and Slovenia.

The working languages of the Agency are English and French. A very good knowledge of English is required, and knowledge of French would be an asset.

The selected candidate will be required to undergo background screening, including checking of references.

The closing date for submission of applications is 4 weeks after publication.

At the Agency we value diversity and we welcome people with disabilities. Whenever possible, we seek to accommodate individuals with disabilities by providing the necessary support at the workplace. The Human Resources Department can also provide assistance during the recruitment process. If you would like to discuss this further please contact us at