Selma Cherchali received an Engineering Degree in Signal Processing in 1989 and a Master in 1991 from the ENSEEIHT (“Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Electronique, Electrotechnique, Informatique et Hydraulique de Toulouse“), Toulouse – France.

She received her PhD degree in Physics and Remote Sensing at University Paul Sabatier of Toulouse at CESBIO (“Centre d’Etudes Spatiales de la BIOsphère”), France in 1994.


Thereafter, she worked as an engineer in CSIRO at Land and Water, Physics divisions in Canberra, Australia.

From 1997, she worked as project manager and head of eLearning Department at GDTA in Remote Sensing Applications, a subsidiary of CNES.

Since 2003, she has been working at CNES, where she was responsible for R&D in man-made and natural disasters, humanitarian relief and civil security dealing with GMES European projects. She is expert in European Security Research and Innovation Forum (ESRIF). She was in charge of coordinating the ORFEO preparatory program, its high optical component Pleiades.

Since November 2008, she was the program manager of Land / Continental Environment Programs within the Directorate for Strategy, Programs and International Relations of CNES.

Within this Directorate –  Earth Science and Observation, she was responsible for leading, coordinating and supervising the programmes of national, European and international space missions, relating to Land environment and Hydrology (SWOT, SMOS, Biomass, Sentinel 2, Venus,, etc…. She contributes to the definition of the objectives of the CNES technical policy and R&D programmes. She supports the scientific activities of the national community and was involved in setting up the THEIA Land Data Center gathering 11 national institutions. She is a co-chair of CEOS Geoglam WG and a member of GEOGLOWS Steering Committee.

In January 2016, she joined the Science, Applications and Innovation Directorate within Earth Observation team where she was the Land and Hydrology program manager.

Since February 2018, she is in charge of Space Climate Observatory program and SWOT and SWOT downstream programs. She is leading and coordinating the SWOT preparatory program which aims to prepare the scientific and user’s community (applications) to use SWOT and all space missions’ data dealing with hydrology and ocean objectives.