Scientists: high-resolution Earth-system data assimilation and observations for Destination Earth (multiple vacancies)
Bonn, Germany

Job reference: VN21-61

Location: Bonn, Germany

Deadline for applications: 17/01/2022

Publication date: 09/12/2021

Salary and Grade: Grade A2: EUR 78,035.40, net annual basic salary + other benefits

Contract type: STF-PS

Department: Research

Contract Duration: Two years


ECMWF is the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts. It is an intergovernmental organisation created in 1975 by a group of European nations and is today supported by 34 Member and Co-operating States, mostly in Europe. The Centre’s mission is to serve and support its Member and Co-operating States and the wider community by developing and providing world-leading global numerical weather prediction. ECMWF functions as a 24/7 research and operational centre with a focus on medium and long-range predictions and holds one of the largest meteorological archives in the world. The success of its activities relies primarily on the talent of its scientists, strong partnerships with its Member and Co-operating States and the international community, some of the most powerful supercomputers in the world, and the use of innovative technologies such as machine learning across its operations.

Over the years, ECMWF has also developed a strong partnership with the European Union, and for the past seven years has been an entrusted entity for the implementation and operation of the Climate and the Atmosphere Monitoring Services of the EU's Copernicus component of its Space Programme, as well as a contributor to the Copernicus Emergency Management Service. The collaboration does not stop there and includes other areas of work, including High Performance Computing and the development of digital tools that enable ECMWF to extend its provision of data and products covering weather, climate, air quality, fire and flood prediction and monitoring.

ECMWF has recently become a multi-site organisation, with its headquarters based since its creation in Reading, UK, its new data centre in Bologna, Italy, and new offices in Bonn, Germany.

For additional details, see

About DestinE

It is foreseen that ECMWF will be a major partner in the implementation of the Destination Earth (DestinE) initiative starting later in 2021, together with ESA and EUMETSAT as partners. The objective of the European Commission DestinE initiative is to deploy several highly accurate thematic digital replicas of the Earth, called Digital Twins.  The Digital Twins will help monitor and predict environmental change and human impact, in order to develop and test scenarios that would support sustainable development and corresponding European policies for the Green Deal. 

DestinE will thus contribute to revolutionising the European capability to monitor and predict our changing planet, complementing existing national and European efforts such as those provided by the national meteorological services and the Copernicus Services. It will be run in several phases, of which the first, the implementation phase, covers the period end-2021 – mid-2024. Future phases are foreseen (subject to funding) that will operationalise the digital twins, scale-up system production and add applications and new twin options. 

DestinE covers several demanding digital technology aspects required to develop, implement and operate the two high-priority digital twins on weather induced and geophysical extremes and on climate change adaptation. ECMWF will be responsible for the delivery of these digital twins, which will rely on complex Earth-system simulation models, data assimilation methods for fusing simulations and observations through inverse modelling and the integration of observations and models from sectors such as water and food management, renewable energies and socio-economic risk and disaster management. 

These science components require advanced digital technology solutions to maximize the efficient computing and data handling on extreme-scale infrastructures, and to adapt and operate these infrastructures across different heterogeneous architectures within a federated framework. This federated framework includes the Core Platform and Data Lake developed, deployed and operated by ESA and EUMETSAT respectively. 

The DestinE developments take forward the long-term investments of the ECMWF Member States in building a unique European prediction capability and will support the further advancement of member states services and Copernicus Services.

For more information on DestinE, see and

Summary of the role

ECMWF has multiple exciting opportunities for Scientists to help shape and deliver DestinE developments in collaboration with partners throughout Europe. These roles will contribute to the provision of much improved prediction capabilities. They will do so, through advancing the use of observations and data assimilation capabilities of the ECMWF’s Integrated Forecasting System (IFS) towards enabling the delivery of the weather-induced extremes digital twin, which will rely on high-resolution (km-scale) medium-range simulations to drive much enhanced weather induced extremes predictions.

The roles advertised through this vacancy offer a unique opportunity to work on high-resolution data assimilation and usage of Earth-system observations at a cutting-edge numerical weather prediction centre. They cover the following thematic areas:

  • Area 1: Improved use of high spatial resolution observations, such as raw geostationary radiances, and provision of simulated imagery
  • Area 2: Observation handling and data assimilation developments supporting more frequent 4D-Var analysis updates
  • Area 3: Data assimilation developments in support of high-resolution atmospheric 4D-Var, including support to GPU adaptation of data assimilation codes and other related technical developments
  • Area 4: High-resolution land data assimilation and land-atmosphere coupling, including support to GPU adaptation of data assimilation codes and other related technical developments

The successful candidates will join the teams working on the use of Earth-system observations and the development of the data assimilation system of ECMWF Integrated Forecasting System. They will develop efficient observation processing, and improve the observation modelling, screening, bias correction and observation error modelling to support a coupled high-resolution land-atmosphere-ocean-sea-ice assimilation system. They will also develop and improve the data assimilation methods themselves, in particular aspects essential to km-scale initialisation and more frequent analysis updates.

The candidates’ work will shape, test and demonstrate the advanced capabilities of the weather-induced extremes digital twin. A particular focus of this twin will also be on developing flexible modelling interfaces with water, food, energy, health and risk modelling applications as integral parts of the digital twin.

These science developments will be implemented through advanced software and hardware technology solutions deployed by federated workflows on distributed extreme-scale high-performance computing (e.g. EuroHPC) and data handling infrastructures.

The successful candidates will join existing teams in ECMWF’s Research Department and strongly collaborate with other teams across ECMWF to demonstrate a successful weather-induced extremes digital twin implementation in the first phase of DestinE.  

The successful candidates will also support the relationships with ECMWF’s DestinE partners ESA and EUMETSAT, interact with external contractors as required, and help with communications & outreach activities with dedicated partners of the consortia contributing to the DestinE implementation, stakeholders and the user communities, and contribute to regular progress reports to the European Commission.

Whilst these positions will be based in Bonn, Germany, there will be strong collaboration with staff based at the ECMWF HQ in Reading, United Kingdom, so it is anticipated that visits to the HQ in Reading will be required.

Main duties and key responsibilities

The main duties and responsibilities cover:

  • Developing the technical and methodological solutions required to build a high-frequency, high-resolution assimilation and forecast system based on the ECMWF IFS
  • Evaluating the realism of the initial conditions used for the weather-induced extremes digital twin
  • Further improving the observation usage and data assimilation methodologies within ECMWF IFS
  • Contributing to the development and testing of complex workflows and computer codes in advanced digital technology environments on some of the largest computing and data handling infrastructures in Europe
  • Contributing to regular progress reports to the European Commission
  • Publishing scientific results in the peer-reviewed literature
  • Acting as technical officers and supporting procured activities within DestinE by ECMWF

In their application, candidates must select one or a maximum of two of the thematic areas 1 to 4 listed in the Job Summary above, indicating their preference. They should explain how their expertise, skills and knowledge meet their chosen thematic area(s), considering all the job requirements outlined in the vacancy notice.

Personal attributes

  • Excellent analytical and problem-solving skills with a proactive continuous improvement approach
  • Initiative and ability to work collaboratively with other ECMWF staff and DestinE partners, but also able to work independently
  • Good interpersonal and communication skills
  • Dedication, passion and enthusiasm to succeed both individually and across teams of developers
  • Highly organised with the capacity to work on a diverse range of tasks to tight deadlines and in a matrix management environment

Education, experience, knowledge and skills (including language)

  • A university degree (EQF Level 7 or above) in a physical, mathematical or environmental science
  • Professional experience in meteorology, oceanography, computational fluid dynamics or a related subject
  • Proven track record in observation handling and/or data assimilation for the thematic (or closely related) area each candidate is targeting (see areas 1 to 4 under Job Description).
  • Good understanding of methods in earth-system data assimilation and observation processing
  • Experience in handling large observational and/or modelling datasets and their statistical analysis
  • Very strong programming and scripting skills. Experience in Object-Oriented programming would be an advantage.
  • Experience with developing and maintaining large scientific codes
  • Experience with parallel, distributed-memory programming techniques, and with deployment of scientific codes at large HPC centres would be an advantage
  • Candidates must be able to work effectively in English and interviews will be conducted in English
  • A good knowledge of one of the Centre’s other working languages (French or German) would be an advantage

Other information

Grade remuneration

The successful candidates will be recruited at the A2 grade, according to the scales of the Co-ordinated Organisations and the annual basic salary will be EUR 78,035.40 net of tax. ECMWF also offers a generous benefits package, including a flexible teleworking policy. The position is assigned to the employment category STF-PS as defined in the ECMWF Staff Regulations. Full details of salary scales and allowances available on the ECMWF website at, including the ECMWF Staff Regulations and the terms and conditions of employment.

Starting date: As soon as possible.

Length of contract: The contract duration is expected to be two years. The DestinE Contribution Agreement is likely to be divided in phases, the first of which will last approximately two years. There may be the possibility of further contract extensions in the future depending on requirements and funding availability.

Location: These positions will be located at ECMWF's duty station in Bonn, Germany.

As a multi-site organisation, ECMWF has adopted a hybrid organisation model which allows flexibility to staff to mix office working and teleworking.

Interviews by videoconference (Via Teams) are expected to take place week in February 2022.

Who can apply

Applicants are invited to complete the online application form by clicking on the apply button below.

At ECMWF, we consider an inclusive environment as key for our success. We are dedicated to ensuring a workplace that embraces diversity and provides equal opportunities for all, without distinction as to race, gender, age, marital status, social status, disability, sexual orientation, religion, personality, ethnicity and culture. We value the benefits derived from a diverse workforce and are committed to having staff that reflect the diversity of the countries that are part of our community, in an environment that nurtures equality and inclusion.

Applications are invited from nationals from ECMWF Member States and Co-operating States, as well as from all EU Member States.

ECMWF Member and Co-operating States are: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Montenegro, Morocco, the Netherlands, Norway, North Macedonia, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and the United Kingdom.

Applications from nationals from other countries may be considered in exceptional cases.


The closing date for this job has now passed.