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My winning proposal: Seeing the big picture

Image: ESP-MACCS consortium

The European Space Agency awards fellowships for tackling grand challenges using Earth observation data

Top tips

  • Focus on answering big questions that go beyond generating datasets, and keep that focus in mind when writing
  • Getting the costing right and approved by your institution is almost as important as the scientific proposal
  • Do your homework on which datasets are available, and which aren’t, so you can show where they fit in your project
  • Try to combine datasets that look at different aspects of the Earth system
  • Don’t overpromise—two years goes by very quickly

Earth observation has come a long way since David Bowie sang about sitting in a tin can far above the world in 1969. Nowadays, the European Space Agency has a wealth of datasets to offer Earth systems researchers and, through its Living Planet Fellowship scheme, ESA aims to support early career researchers to use its Earth observation data on projects focused on major social challenges.

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