ECMWF – Senior Scientist & Team Leader – Active Sensing Team

ECMWF, Shinfield Park, Reading, UK
Closing date: 20 April 2020

Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) is an initial value problem and ECMWF are and have been for many years world-leading in atmospheric data assimilation. Recently ECMWF recognised the need for an Earth System approach, ensuring that all components of a coupled forecast system are well initialised. In this context, the Earth System Assimilation Section was created, with five teams: data assimilation methodology, coupled assimilation, infrared radiances, microwave radiances and AMVs and the fifth on active sensing and in situ observations. As the Team Leader for the Active Sensing Team, the key areas of responsibility include radio occultation, doppler wind lidar, radar altimeter, scatterometer, all in situ observations (radiosondes, aircraft, also new innovative observation sources such as from the Internet of Things (e.g. mobile phone, cars), high altitude balloons and drones).

The successful candidate will ensure that far-sighted research is carried out in the assimilation of these observations and that this research is quickly and successful moved into operations. Today, there is greater need that earth system aspects are addressed (e.g. ECMWF currently has a project examining how better to account for ocean currents and atmospheric stability when using scatterometer data in a coupled atmosphere-ocean assimilation system).

The team needs substantial acquisition of new and continued funding from Space Agencies and other funding bodies, and as the team leader, they will play a key role in this domain. The role will also involve providing support in the use of these observations in the operational system. There is much collaboration with the other teams and sections within the department and with the Forecast Department who are both responsible for and monitor the operational system.

The Team Leader will divide their time between the role of providing scientific and technical leadership and in team management, as well as continuing to make their own personal R&D contributions, related to assimilation of actively sensed or in-situ observations.

As an experienced scientist with proven leadership ability, the successful candidate will have demonstrated team leadership or involvement with national or international scientific teams. Ideally, the successful candidate will also have a proven track record in delivering world class science, including making contributions to large code systems, comparable in complexity to ECMWF’s IFS.

This position sits within the Earth System Assimilation Section at ECMWF and will report to the Head of Section.

Main duties and key responsibilities

  • Leading the scientific and technical development of the active sensing team.
  • Undertaking line management responsibilities for the members of the active sensing team.
  • Supporting the Head of Section in writing and subsequently delivering the one year and four-year research plans, and when appropriate longer-term strategy.
  • Implementing new observations and modifications to existing observation assimilation within the IFS, with particular attention to new and innovative observations.
  • Contributing innovative and world-leading scientific research in the observation assimilation area, in particular for novel observations.
  • Acquisition of new, external funding projects and renewal of existing ones.

Grade remuneration
The successful candidate will be recruited at the A3 grade, according to the scales of the Co-ordinated Organisations and the annual basic salary will be £74,764.08 NET of tax. This position is assigned to the employment category STF-C as defined in the Staff Regulations.
Full details of salary scales and allowances are available on the ECMWF website at, including the Centre’s Staff Regulations regarding the terms and conditions of employment.

Starting date: 1 August 2020, or as soon as possible thereafter.
Length of contract: Four years, with the possibility of a further contract.


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