PARIS (ESA PR) — Today, the ESA Council appointed Dr Josef Aschbacher as the next Director General of ESA, for a period of four years. He will succeed Prof. Jan Wörner, whose term of office ends on 30 June 2021.
Dr Aschbacher is currently ESA Director of Earth Observation Programmes and Head of ESRIN, ESA’s centre for Earth Observation near Rome.
Born in Austria, Dr Aschbacher studied at the University of Innsbruck, where he obtained Masters and PhD degrees in Natural Sciences. He has over three decades of experience working in international organisations, including ESA, the European Commission, the Austrian Space Agency and Asian Institute of Technology.
Josef Aschbacher took up duty as Director of Earth Observation Programmes (D/EOP) on 1 July 2016 and as Head of ESRIN, ESA’s centre for Earth Observation, near Rome, on 1 August 2016.
Josef Aschbacher began his career in ESA in 1990 as a Young Graduate at ESRIN. From 1991 to 1993 he was seconded as ESA Representative to Southeast Asia to the Asian Institute of Technology in Bangkok, Thailand.
From 1994 to 2001 he worked at the European Commission Joint Research Centre in Ispra, Italy, where he was, in his last post, the Scientific Assistant to the Director of the Space Applications Institute. He returned to ESA headquarters, in Paris, in 2001 as Programme Coordinator, where he was primarily responsible for advancing Copernicus activities within ESA.
In 2006 he became Head of the Copernicus Space Office, where he led all activities for Copernicus within the Agency and with external partners, in particular the European Commission.
In 2014, he was promoted to Head of Programme Planning and Coordination at ESRIN, where he was responsible for planning ESA’s Earth Observation programmes and for formulating and implementing programmatic and strategic decisions across the Directorate.