Call for Applications: EMSA/CA/2022/15 - Project Officer for Earth Observation Services to Frontex

Post: EMSA/CA/2022/15 - Project Officer for Earth Observation Services to Frontex
Directorate/Unit: Unit 2.2: Surveillance
Type of post: Contractual Agent
Function group: IV
Location: Lisbon
Closing date for applications: 9 March 2023

The selection of candidates will follow the EMSA Staff Recruitment Procedure. Candidates must apply for this post via the EMSA website http://www.emsa.europa.eu - vacancies. Please note that to make an EMSA on-line application you will need to create your EMSA profile using a valid e-mail address and a password.

1. Background

The European Maritime Safety Agency was established for the purpose of ensuring a high, uniform and effective level of maritime safety, maritime security as well as prevention of and response to pollution by ships within the EU.

The idea of a European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA)  originated in the late 1990's along with a number of other important European maritime safety initiatives. EMSA was set up as the decentralised agency that would provide a major source of support to the European Commission and the Member States in the field of maritime safety, security and prevention of pollution from ships. The Agency was established by Regulation (EC) No 1406/2002 and subsequent amendments have refined and enlarged its mandate to cover among other measures, the efficiency of maritime transport.

2. Tasks of the agency

The Agency provides technical, operational and scientific assistance to the European Commission and Member States in the fields of maritime safety, maritime security, prevention of, and response to, pollution caused by ships as well as response to marine pollution caused by oil and gas installations.

The Agency also contributes to the overall efficiency of maritime traffic and maritime transport and supports European cooperation on coastguard functions.

EMSA's activities can be broadly described as:

  • providing technical and scientific assistance to the Member States and the European Commission in the proper development and implementation of EU legislation on maritime safety, security, prevention of pollution by ships and maritime transport administrative simplification;
  • monitoring the implementation of EU legislation through visits and inspections;
  • improving cooperation with and between Member States;
  • building capacity of national competent authorities;
  • providing operational assistance, including developing, managing and maintaining maritime services related to ships, ship monitoring and enforcement;
  • carrying out operational preparedness, detection and response tasks with respect to pollution caused by ships and marine pollution by oil and gas installations;
  • at the request of the European Commission, providing technical operational assistance to non-EU countries around relevant sea basins.

3. Unit 2.2: Surveillance

The mission of Unit 2.2 is to provide maritime surveillance services to enhance the Agency’s maritime information picture by implementing solutions that put at the centre the operational needs of users. This is achieved by managing the sourcing and day-to-day operations of the Earth Observation information flow from satellites, through the provision of Automatic Identification System information detected by satellites (SAT-AIS), and by transmission of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) based information. This involves both the set-up of routine surveillance services based on requests made by maritime authorities and other Coast Guard Agencies and the support that is provided through the EMSA contingency plan in response to maritime emergencies.

Unit 2.2 is responsible for the general sourcing and day-to-day provision of the extensive portfolio of satellite-based earth observation data, added value products and alert services, as derived from Synthetic Aperture Radar and optical satellites, in support to the operational requirements of multiple maritime user communities.

These are the main components of three distinct services: i) CleanSeaNet, the European oil spill detection and monitoring service; ii) Copernicus Maritime Surveillance, as delegated by the Commission to the Agency and iii) satellite imagery-based services provided to Frontex for maritime border control surveillance.

As for RPAS and Satellite Communication Services, Unit 2.2 is responsible for the set-up of RPAS operations and the general sourcing and day-to-day provision of RPAS and Satellite communication-based information, such as AIS messages, live video, radar detections, distress signals and emissions measurements, to support the operational requirements of multiple maritime user communities, including other EU Agencies in the framework of the Coast guard cooperation. This information complements the general maritime information picture including the oil spill detection and monitoring service (CleanSeaNet), the ship source emission surveillance (SOx detection) as well as the vessel detection via satellite for maritime surveillance. In addition, by installing RPAS on board EMSA and other EU Agencies/Member States authorities’ vessels this service further supports pollution response and other Coast Guard activities at sea.

4. Functions and duties

Under the responsibility of the Head of Unit, the Project Officer for Earth Observation Services to Frontex will be responsible for the following tasks:

  • Planning, ordering and monitoring the delivery of radar and optical satellite image acquisitions, as required by Frontex;
  • Providing day to day support to Frontex in the scope of earth observation services;
  • Providing training to Frontex in the scope of earth observation services;
  • Supporting the Frontex SLA team in reporting obligations concerning earth observation services;
  • Participating in EMSA’s Contingency Plan Rota, and the associated standby duty service;
  • Supporting the Quality Control of EMSA Earth Observation services;
  • Supporting the drafting of business requirements and business validation activities in what concerns earth observation services;
  • Assisting the Earth Observation Services team where required.

This position will entail predefined working hours (start time at 08:00 or end time at 20:00).  

5. Eligibility and Selection Criteria


A.1 Education and experience

  • A level of education which corresponds to completed university studies of at least three years attested by a diploma AND appropriate professional experience of at least one year.

It should be noted that due to the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union on the 31/01/2020, candidates from the United Kingdom who do not hold the nationality of another European Union Member State, are not eligible.

Only qualifications that have been awarded in EU Member States or that are subject to the equivalence certificates issued by the authorities in the EU Member States will be taken into consideration. Please note, that degrees awarded by the United Kingdom up to 31/12/2020 are considered as valid.

A.2 Language skills

  • The main working language in the field of maritime safety is English. Candidates must therefore have a very good command of oral English as well as in writing with a satisfactory knowledge of at least one other official language of the European Union to the extent necessary for the performance of the above-mentioned duties.


B.1. Essential

  • At least two years of full-time relevant professional experience in activities linked, or similar, with the above-mentioned functions and duties;
  • Proven professional experience in the Earth Observation field;
  • A knowledge of Earth Observation systems and technologies.

B.2. Advantageous

  • Proven experience in using radar and optical satellite imagery for maritime surveillance purposes;
  • A knowledge of operational maritime surveillance systems;
  • A knowledge of remote sensing techniques for image processing and interpretation, with a focus on vessel and feature detection.

Applicants must meet the required eligibility criteria concerning the required educational qualifications and years of experience, as well as the essential criteria by the deadline for this call for applications.

The advantageous criteria will be considered by the Selection Board depending on the number of applicants meeting the essential criteria.

In addition to the requirements above, candidates invited to the interview and test phase may also be assessed against the following supplementary requirements (soft skills):

  • Ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with people of different nationality and cultural backgrounds;
  • Ability to deal with people effectively, respectfully and courteously;
  • Ability to communicate clearly and present complex subjects simply, both orally and in writing;
  • Ability to work under pressure and to respond quickly to new demands.

6. General conditions

In order to be eligible the candidate must:

  • Be a national of one of the Member States of the European Union or of Iceland or Norway;
  • Be entitled to his/her full rights as a citizen;
  • Have fulfilled the obligations imposed on him/her by the laws concerning military service;
  • Meet the character requirements for the duties involved; and
  • Be physically fit to perform the duties linked to the post.

It should be noted that due to the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union on the 31/01/2020, candidates from the United Kingdom who do not hold the nationality of another European Union Member State, are not eligible for calls for applications at EMSA due to the fact that they do not fulfil the requirements of Article 82.3 of the Conditions of Employment of Other Servants, namely, that they do not hold the nationality of a EU Member State.

7. Conditions of employment

The Project Officer for Earth Observation Services to Frontex will be appointed by the Executive Director, upon recommendation of the Chairperson of the Selection Committee.

This vacancy notice concerns a Contract Agent position, pursuant to Article 3a and Title IV of the Conditions or Employment of other servants of the European Union.

The initial duration of the contract is three years, with possibility of renewal. However, the contract of employment is subject to the continuity of the Service Level Agreement between FRONTEX and EMSA for the provision of surveillance tools and services in support of FRONTEX activities, including for the implementation of the EUROSUR.

The successful candidate(s)will be recruited in Function Group IV (FG IV). The grade will be determined in accordance with the number of years of professional experience.

The basic monthly salary, before any deductions or allowances, weighted for Lisbon, at 1 July 2022 for the entry grade of Function Group IV (FGIV, Grade 13, Step 1) is 3702.98EUR.

In addition to the basic salary, staff members may be entitled to various allowances, such as an expatriation allowance (16% of basic salary), household allowance, dependent child allowance and education allowance. The salary is subject to a Community tax deducted at source and staff members are exempt of national taxation.

EMSA offers a comprehensive welfare package including pension scheme, medical, accident and occupational disease insurance coverage, unemployment and invalidity allowance. Further information regarding rights and conditions of employment can be found in the following document.

Please note that in line with the Staff Regulations recruited candidates shall be required to demonstrate before their first promotion the ability to work in a third European Community language.

The place of employment is Lisbon, Portugal.

Candidates are advised that if they are offered a post, and accept, they must undergo a compulsory medical examination to establish that they meet the standard of physical fitness necessary to perform the duties involved.

EMSA is an Agency focused on gender balance and a harmonic workplace and strongly encourages the applications of women for the positions where they are underrepresented.

8. Submission of applications

Candidates should ensure that they clearly indicate how they meet the selection criteria in their application and motivation letter.

Candidates must submit their application electronically solely via the EMSA website within the deadline. Applications by any other means (hard copy or ordinary e-mail) or submitted after the deadline will not be accepted.

All candidates will receive an acknowledgement of receipt for their application.

EMSA is an equal opportunities employer. Staff is selected without prejudice as to sex, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation.

You may apply in any of the official languages of the European Union, but it would be helpful to apply in English in order to facilitate the selection process.

9. The selection process

For each selection process a Selection Committee is nominated. The selection is carried out in two phases:

1. In the first phase all eligible applications will be evaluated by the Selection Committee and scored against the selection criteria. Please note that non-compliance with at least one of the essential selection criteria will result in the exclusion of the candidate from the selection process. Advantageous criteria constitute additional assets and will not result in exclusion, if not fulfilled. The advantageous criteria will be considered by the Selection Committee depending on the number of applicants meeting the essential selection criteria.

On this basis, the Selection Committee will invite to the interview and to the test phase the best qualified candidates (maximum of 15), on condition that they have achieved at least 60% of the highest possible score during the evaluation of applications. Should the case arise that there are various candidates scoring the same number of points in the 15th ranking, the number of candidates to be invited will be increased accordingly to accommodate this. 

2. In the second phase, the selected candidates will be invited to pass one or several written tests related to the job profile and to take part in a selection interview.

During this recruitment phase, the selected candidates will be evaluated by the Selection Committee. After the interviews and tests, the Selection Committee will draw up a list of the most suitable candidates to be proposed to the Appointing Authority. Only candidates receiving at least 70% of the maximum points at interview and at the test phase will be included in the list of the most suitable candidates. The Appointing Authority will select the successful candidate and decide whether to also adopt a reserve list. The successful candidates will be informed accordingly.

Candidates are strictly forbidden to make any contact with the members of the selection committee, either directly or indirectly. Any infringement of this rule will lead to disqualification from the selection procedure.

All candidates will receive an information letter of the outcome of their application.

Please be informed that the interviews and/or the written tests are likely to be organised remotely. Further information on the organisation of the  test and interview will be provided upon invitation.

Please note that a binding commitment can only be made after verification of all conditions and will take the form of a contract signed by the Executive Director.

The reserve list will remain valid until 31/12/2024, with the possibility of renewal. Therefore, candidates whose name will be put on a reserve list could be offered a contract during this time. Please note however, that inclusion in the reserve list does not guarantee recruitment. 

Please note that the selection process may take several months to be completed and that no information will be released during this period. Once a selection process has been completed, its status will be displayed in the e-recruitment.

Please note that once you have created your EMSA profile, any correspondence regarding your application must be sent or received via your EMSA profile.

For any prior enquiry, please refer to the FAQ (Frequently asked questions) section, or send an e-mail to recruitment@emsa.europa.eu

Requests for information:

An applicant who would like further information or considers that he/she has grounds for complaint concerning a particular decision of the selection procedure may send a request by e-mail to recruitment@emsa.europa.eu preferably within 10 working days from the date he/she was notified.

EMSA Human Resources will forward the request to the Chairperson of the Selection Committee and the applicant will receive a reply as soon as possible.

How to lodge a complaint:

An applicant may lodge a complaint under Article 90(2) of the Staff Regulations of Officials of the European Communities and Conditions of employment of other servants of the European Communities by email to recruitment@emsa.europa.eu or registered mail at the following address:

Human Resources Unit


Praca Europa 4

1249-206 Lisbon


The time limit for initiating this type of procedure is three months (see Article 90(2) of the Staff Regulations as amended by Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 1023/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 October 2013, OJ L 287, 29.10.2013 from the time you become aware of the act allegedly prejudicing your interests.

Applicants can make a complaint to the European Ombudsman. Before submitting a complaint to the European Ombudsman applicants must already have contacted EMSA about the matter and used all the internal administrative options for review and/or complaints provided for in the Staff Regulations.

More information: https://www.ombudsman.europa.eu/en/home

Personal Data protection:


The processing of personal data in the Community institutions and bodies like agencies is regulated by Regulation (EU) 2018/1725 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2018 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data by the Union institutions, bodies, offices and agencies and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Regulation (EC) No 45/2001 and Decision No 1247/2002/EC.

The Applicant shall have the right of access to his/her personal data and the right to rectify any such data that is inaccurate or incomplete. Should the Applicant have any queries concerning the processing of his/her personal data, (s)he shall address them to the delegated controller of the data, Head of Human Resources Unit. The Applicant shall have right of recourse at any time to the European Data Protection Supervisor.

For more on personal data protection and related documents see the Personal Data Protection page.