Josef Aschbacher is the Director of Earth Observation Programmes at ESA since 2016. Born in Austria, he received the Doctoral Degree in Natural Sciences from the University of Innsbruck. Josef joined ESA in 1990 as a Young Graduate and was then seconded as ESA Representative to the Asian Institute of Technology (1991-1993). Next, he worked at the European Commission Joint Research Centre (1994-2001), where last he was the Scientific Assistant to the Director of the Space Applications Institute. He then returned to ESA heading the Copernicus Space Office (2006) and then the Programme Planning and Coordination at ESRIN (2014).