Early Career Fellow - Research on "Use of Altimeters in a Coupled Data Assimilation System"
Bonn, Germany

Job reference: VN22-50

Location: Bonn, Germany

Deadline for applications: 26/09/2022

Publication date: 29/08/2022

Salary and Grade: n/a (Fellowship stipend and related benefits)

Contract type: N/A

Department: Research

Contract Duration: 1 year, with possibility of extension for another year

Job summary

The Deutscher Wetterdienst (DWD) is looking for an Early Career Fellow at the ECMWF site in Bonn for a period of 2 years as of January 2023 for the STEP UP! Fellowship programme for early career scientists. This position represents a unique opportunity for a young professional to work with the ECMWF in the Earth System Assimilation Section of the Research Department. The Early Career Fellow will work with scientists from different teams within ECMWF. The work will also include support by and collaboration with the Center for Earth System Observation and Computational Analysis (University of Bonn, University of Cologne and Forschungszentrum Jülich).


The European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) is an independent international organisation supported by 23 European Member States and 12 cooperating states. It is the world leader in global medium-range forecasts, monthly forecasts and seasonal forecasts. Its products are provided to the European national weather services. The ECMWF site in Bonn was opened in 2021 and hosts ECMWF's EU activities.

Your responsibilities

The role is to explore possible new approaches for the assimilation of altimeter sea surface height (SSH) information in ocean data assimilation systems. During your fellowship you will:

  • compare and document the pre-processing and use of the altimeter measurements with the pre-processing and use of GNSS ZTD measurements
  • run experiments to assess the current forecast impact of altimeter SLA retrievals in the ECMWF ocean data assimilation system
  • develop and test an observation operator for future direct assimilation of altimeter range measurements in a coupled data assimilation system

What we're looking for

  • Very strong interpersonal and communication skills
  • Initiative and ability to work collaboratively with internal and external experts, but also able to work independently with minimal supervision
  • Excellent analytical, problem-solving skills and attention to detail, with a proactive continuous improvement approach
  • Dedication, passion and enthusiasm to succeed both individually and across teams of developers
  • Active listener who seeks and respects the views of others
  • Highly organised with the capacity to work on a diverse range of tasks to tight deadlines.


  • Successfully completed scientific or technical university degree (Bachelor, Master, Diploma), preferably in physics, mathematics, environmental sciences, hydrology, oceanography and meteorology

Experience, skills and competencies

  • Basic professional experience in meteorology, earth sciences or a related field, ideally with background in variational retrieval/ analysis techniques
  • Some knowledge of altimeter or ground/ space based GNSS measurements
  • Some knowledge in handling and statistical analysis of large observational and modelling datasets
  • Very good programming and scripting skills
  • Knowledge of the German language in spoken and written form (Level A2 CEFR)
  • Experience in cooperation with international organisations is an advantage
  • Very strong communication and information skills to create a sustainable positive and trusting climate of discussion when dealing with people
  • Initiative and ability for constructive and collegial cooperation
  • Ability to work independently and on one's own initiative to solve problems appropriately within one's own field of activity
  • Ability to think and judge in order to weigh up different familiar factors and form an appropriate judgement from them
  • Empathy in order to recognise different needs of participants and to be able to take them into account appropriately when dealing with Groups
  • Planning and organisational skills with the capacity to work on a diverse range of tasks to tight deadlines
  • Intercultural competence as a prerequisite for successful cooperation in international teams and organisations
  • Confident knowledge of written and spoken English (at least level B2 CEFR)

Other information

In addition to the research activities at ECMWF, an important component of the STEP UP! Fellowship programme is the development of professional competencies. The programme therefore includes a further education programme, which is financed by the DWD.

Besides participation in one (international) science conference per year, the further education programme offers specialist training units and job shadowing at the DWD. Further information on the possibilities of extending the fellowship (promotion) and on the programme procedure can be found here:


Grade remuneration

The fellowship will amount to a monthly funding of 2.600 Euro for two years and individual expenses for travels and costs for publications in accordance with the funding principles.​​​​​​​

Starting date: January 2023

Length of contract: The contract duration is expected to be 12 months, renewable for another 12 months.

Location: Bonn, Germany. As a multi-site organisation, ECMWF has adopted a hybrid organisation model which allows employees to mix office working and teleworking.

How to apply

The selection process is managed by DWD and applicants are invited to complete the online application forms using the DWD recruitment portal. To access the vacancy and apply online use the following link:


Who can apply

The DWD values diversity and welcome all applications - regardless of age, gender or gender identity, nationality, ethnicity and culture, religion/belief, disability or sexual orientation. 

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 (as of July 2022): 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, Türkiye and the United Kingdom.

There is no legal entitlement to the Fellowship.

Basis for the fellowship awarding are the funding principles for the STEP UP! Fellowship programme, which are also part of the fellowship contract.

Applicants are selected through a structured interview (by videoconference) and conducted by an interview panel - consisting of ECMWF, CESOC and DWD - in English.


The closing date for this job has now passed.