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VN 21/17 Research Fellowship on Microwave Radiance Assimilation for Numerical Weather Prediction

The Research Fellow will join the Earth System Assimilation Section in the Research Department at ECMWF where they will be a member of the Microwave Team. They will further advance the exploitation of satellite observations from microwave instruments in clear, cloudy and precipitating areas (“all-sky assimilation”). Radiances from microwave imagers provide direct information on water vapour, clouds and precipitation in the atmosphere, and indirect information on wind, all of which are used to improve ECMWF’s analyses and global forecasts through 4D-variational assimilation. The observations are further sensitive to the surface, so as ECMWF develops its Earth-System approach, exploitation of the information on aspects such as snow and sea-ice will become ever more important. The Fellow will be working as part of the team that pioneered the all-sky assimilation of satellite radiances and continues to push scientific boundaries in the use of satellite observations.

ECMWF is both a research institute and a 24/7 operational service, producing numerical weather predictions for its Member and Co-operating States as well as users around the world. ECMWF carries out scientific and technical research and analysis aiming to continuously improve global prediction. ECMWF processes in its high-performance computing facility large amounts of observations to provide up-to-date global analyses and climate reanalyses of the atmosphere, ocean and land surface.   For details, see

ECMWF currently operates from its headquarters, located in Reading, UK, and its data centre located in Bologna, Italy. Over the course of 2021, ECMWF will be opening additional new premises in Bonn, Germany.


  • Responsibility for current and future microwave imagers in the ECMWF system: Of particular importance will be preparation for the use of data from the Microwave Imager (MWI), a new instrument expected to be launched in 2023 on EUMETSAT’s second-generation polar satellite system (EPS-SG). The Fellow will also carry out real-time monitoring and assessment of the quality of the observations and will update the operational forecasting system accordingly.
  • Research and development targeted at an advanced exploitation of MW imagers in the ECMWF system: This will be confronting some key challenges in the field of satellite data assimilation, including: exploiting information on land surfaces, snow and sea-ice; improving data assimilation methodologies, such as dealing with correlated observation error; improving radiative transfer modelling in cloud and precipitation; using the observations to improve the macro- and micro-physical description of cloud processes in the forecast model.


ECMWF, Reading, UK

(exceptionally, Bonn, Germany may be considered)


University degree in Physics, Maths or Meteorology or equivalent and relevant research experience, ideally including PhD or equivalent study.


Candidates must be able to work effectively in English, both verbally and written, and some knowledge of one of ECMWF’s other working languages (French or German) would be desirable but is not essential.


19 April 2021

Skills and Experience

  • The Fellow should have a good university degree in Physics, Maths and Meteorology or equivalent and relevant post-graduate research experience, ideally including a PhD or equivalent study. Further experience in satellite data analysis, data assimilation and/or radiative transfer is highly desirable;

  • Good interpersonal and team working skills are required, along with strengths in scientific analysis, synthesis and presentation;

  • Strong computing skills are essential, as the job will involve (a) understanding and modifying the forecasting system, which is mainly written in Fortran-90 and Unix scripts, and (b) making statistical analyses and scientific figures using tools like Python, IDL or Metview;

  • Candidates must be able to work effectively in English and a good knowledge of one of the ECMWF’s other working languages (French or German) would be desirable but not essential.

Employment Conditions

The Fellowship is for a maximum period of five years. The initial contract offered is for one-year, and thereafter, there is a possibility of two extensions of two years each.

Ideally, we are looking for the Fellow to start as soon as possible, but due to the ongoing situation with COVID-19, there will be flexibility on any relocation requirements. 

The successful candidate will be recruited at the A2 grade, according to the scales of the Co-ordinated

Organisations. The annual basic salary if based in the UK will be £62,166.00 net of tax. The annual basic salary if based in Germany will be EUR 75,178.92 net of tax. This position is assigned to the employment category STF-PS as defined in the Staff Regulations of ECMWF, with the exception of the removal expenditure which will be reimbursed within the agreed ceiling laid down by EUMETSAT.

Full details of salary scales and allowances are available on the ECMWF website at, including the ECMWF’s Staff Regulations regarding the terms and conditions of employment.

The role is expected to be based at the ECMWF Headquarters in the Reading area, in Berkshire, United Kingdom. However, exceptionally, it may be possible to consider ECMWF’s new duty station in Bonn (Germany) as location instead.

The successful applicant and members of their family forming part of their household will be exempt from immigration restrictions.

EUMETSAT is committed to providing an equal opportunities work environment for men and women.
Please note that only nationals of EUMETSAT Member States may apply. The EUMETSAT Convention requires that Staff shall be recruited on the basis of their qualifications, account being taken of the international character of EUMETSAT.


EUMETSAT is Europe’s meteorological satellite agency. Its role is to establish and operate meteorological satellites to monitor the weather and climate from space - 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. This information is supplied to the National Meteorological Services of the organisation's Member and Cooperating States in Europe, as well as other users worldwide.

EUMETSAT also operates several Copernicus missions on behalf of the European Union and provide data services to the Copernicus marine and atmospheric services and their users.

As an intergovernmental European Organisation, EUMETSAT has 30 Member States (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and the United Kingdom.)