Marc Heppener

MARC HEPPENER is retired Chief Science Officer for Human Spaceflight and Robotic Exploration and now works as scientific consultant. He studied Physical Chemistry at the University of Amsterdam where he also obtained his PhD in picosecond molecular spectroscopy. In 1986 he joined SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research in as Project Leader detector development for X-ray astrophysics missions. In 1989 he was appointed SRON Programme Manager external research, responsible for the Dutch National support programmes in Earth Observation and Microgravity research. He also was Dutch delegate and later Chairman of ESA’s Microgravity Programme Board, and member of various national boards and commissions, among which the instrument development steering committees for GOME, SCIAMACHY and GOCE.

In 1999 he became  Head of the Science and Application Division in the ESA Directorate of Human Spaceflight. Here he was responsible for the scientific utilisation of the International Space Station and other research platforms. He also authored the ELIPS programme proposal, adopted and extended at several ESA Ministerial Councils.

In 2009 he was appointed for 3 years as Director of Science and Strategy Development at the European Science Foundation, responsible for the scientific activities at ESF’s Standing Committees and Expert Boards, as well as liasing with national European Research Councils, the European Commission and other actors. In 2012 he became responsible for ESA’s High Level Science Policy Advisory Committee, the highest-level science advisory group of the Agency, reporting directly to the Director General. Three years later he was appointed Chief Science Officer and Head of the Science Department at the directorate for Human Spaceflight and Robotic Exploration at the European Space Agency. In this capacity he developed the SciSpacE element of the novel European Exploration Envelope Programme (E3P) that was endorsed at the ESA Ministerial Council in 2016. He retired from ESA in 2018.