• About the MELiSSA Foundation

    The MELiSSA foundation is a non-profit organisation created by the MELiSSA consortium for the purpose to manage a fund dedicated to finance a pool of MELiSSA PhD students. The board of the the Foundation currently consists of Prof. Dr. Max Mergeay (Director) and Rob Suters LLM (Managing Director). The committee in charge of evaluating PhD applications consists of representatives of the MELiSSA community, ESA and independent scientists.

    The MELiSSA Foundation PS is a private foundation (private stichting) based in Brussels incorporated under Belgian law registered under nr. 0547759097

    For contact details please visit contact.

  • Are you interested to join the space business?

    Are you interested to join the space business?

    We are looking for project managers to work with us on exciting initiatives in the field of biobased economy and circular models based upon the MELiSSA closed life support system.

    We are also looking for interns with a keen understanding of both advanced clean technology and business sense. IPStar is engaged to perform commercial feasibility studies for several projects in the field of ballast water treatment, photo bioreactors, life sciences and circular economy. If you are a student with a background in one of these subjects or a related subject we welcome your inquiry.

    Besides a compensation package we offer a great opportunity to get into the exciting field of space exploration. All of our projects benefit mankind and give you a chance to develop your technological savviness and combine this with a practical business oriented perspective for - often - humanitarian spinoffs.

    Interested? Send us a message.

MELiSSA Program

  • MELiSSA logo

    The MELiSSA Space Research Program

    The acronym MELiSSA means 'Micro Ecological Life Support System Alternative'. It refers to a space research program aiming to develop an artificial ecosystem for regenerative life support systems for long-term space missions to lunar bases or flights to Mars. The MELiSSA Project is managed by the ESA ESTEC Thermal and Environmental Control Section (TEC-MCT). The project started 25 years ago and is based on a collaborative development program between 14 partners and a number of supporting sub-contractors. 

    The MELiSSA initiative is internationally recognized as the most advanced effort to develop artificial life support systems. For more information please visit the ESA website.

  • The MELiSSA partners

    The MELiSSA consortium today consists of 14 partners including ESA and the MEliSSA Foundation, several universities and companies. Below is a list of MELiSSA partners. If you wish to review the keywords that summarize their contribution to the MELiSSA project which should be used as a guideline by PhD applications you can visit the download section.

    - European Space Agency

    - Université Blaise Pascal – Clermont-Ferrand

    - Ghent University

    - IPStar B.V.

    - SCK•CEN, Belgian Nuclear Research Center

    - University of Guelph

    - Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

    - Vlaamse Instelling voor Technologisch Onderzoek  N.V. (VITO)

    - Sherpa Engineering S.A.

    - University of Naples Federico II

    - University of Lausanne

    - University of Mons

    - EnginSoft S.p.A.

    - MELiSSA Foundation PS

Workshop registration

  • Registration for the MELiSSA Workshop in Lausanne from 8th to 9th June 2016


    The registration period for speakers with

    abstract submission is closed. Registration without abstract is possible until May 1, 2016.


    To register for the workshop please fill in the fields below. After registration you will receive a confirmation e-mail including details for payment.

    The workshop fee is 30,- € for students and 90,- € for non-students. Please ensure payment for the workshop by May 15 ultimately. We are approaching maximum capacity for the workshop and will give priority to people whose attendance was confirmed by bank transfer.


PhD program

  • Call for Doctorate (Ph.D.) proposals open June 15, 2015



    The First MELiSSA Call for Doctorate Proposals is closed


    Background and objectives

    The European Space Agency (ESA), an international organization with 22 Member States (www.esa.int), is Europe’s gateway to space. Its mission is to shape the development of Europe’s space capability and ensure that investment in space continues to deliver benefits to the citizens of Europe and the world.

    Targeted Areas of Research

    The MELISSA project (Micro-Ecological Life Support Alternative) has been initiated with the objective develop  regenerative life support systems for long term space missions. The main objective of the project is to design and engineer an artificial environment allowing ideally 100% of recycling of waste to produce oxygen, water and food utilizing a combination of waste processing compartments colonized by specific microorganisms or plants. Such an ambitious objective comes with challenges among them the highly multidisciplinary approach and the very long term research. Due to its nature and principal objectives the MELiSSA project requires a strong strategic vision on the interaction between different processes as well as between research institutes.

    In order to reinforce this interaction as well as the continuity of the research, national delegations, external audits as well as MELiSSA institutes have recommended to organize a Pool of MELiSSA PhDs, abbreviated: the POMP program. The POMP program is set up to attract students belonging to the faculties of Sciences, Engineering and Agronomy (Bioengineering). The main objective is to organize a European competition for MELiSSA PhDs candidates, over six countries: Belgium, Switzerland, Spain, Ireland, Italy and Romania.

    Please note that candidates can be from any country in the world. The hosting university hoewever must be located in one of the above POMP countries.  

    The POMP program and fund is managed by the MELiSSA Foundation. The MELiSSA Foundation will also leverage the POMP program by involving the Ph.D. students in ‘team events’ such as the MELiSSA summer university, the yearly MELiSSA meeting and the COSPAR conference. COSPAR is the major biannual conference on Space research. For more information see COSPAR.

    To be admitted to the POMP PhD program, candidates must:
    - hold a university degree equivalent to a master's degree with a focus in the same subject as the intended field of study.

    - have a good command of English and of the working language of the university you plan to do your PhD.

    Further specific admission requirements may be set by the department that has advertised the position.


    Proposal Submission Process
    To enroll in the POMP program, candidates should submit their application following the information written in the call for applications.

    How to apply

    Applicants have to:
    1. follow the instructions provided;
    2. fill in the forms providing the requested information and email the documents as pdf file only;
    3. pay € 20.00 (administration fee). This fee will be refunded to all applicants who are invited for an interview.

    Please transfer the administration fee using the following information:

    MELiSSA Foundation PS
    IBAN: BE50 3631 3283 9318
    VAT: BE547759097


    Different documents are available for download to help to prepare a proposal to this call:

    1. list of MELiSSA partners (with keywords about their activities) which will collaborate with the University departments interested in the call.

    2. list of main MELiSSA publications

    3. document stating how to prepare a PhD proposal

    4. list of research themes proposed by the MELiSSA partners  that could serve as discussion base with the hosting Universities

    Please consult the download section



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