Computer Scientist for Data Acquistion and Dissemination

Job reference: VN22-10
Location: Reading, UK or Bonn, Germany
Deadline for applications: 04/04/2022
Salary and Grade: Grade A2: 63,782.28 or EUR 78,035.40 basic salary, net of tax + other benefits
Contract type: STF-PL
Department: Forecast
Contract Duration: Contract to December 2024


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 Centres 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 Change 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 will be a major partner in the implementation of the Destination Earth (DestinE) initiative, 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, to monitor and predict natural and human activities as well as their interactions, to develop and test scenarios that would enable more sustainable developments and support corresponding European policies for the Green Deal. 

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.

It has also recently adopted a hybrid organisation model which allows its staff to mix both office working and teleworking. This generous and flexible model provides our staff with considerable flexibility to spend time outside or away from their duty station and decide how they wish to manage their professional working time at ECMWF. ECMWF is an organisation that values the whole being and both understands and values the need for flexibility in the way its staff work.

For additional details, see

Summary of the role

This position is in the Production Services Team, within the Development Section of the Forecast Department.
The Production Services Team is responsible for the design and development of all software and systems related to ECMWFs core data production services. This includes high-throughput specialist software that supports the operational forecast model, systems for acquisition of incoming observations, management of direct model output, perpetual archival of forecasts and observations, notification of data availability, and the generation and dissemination of products to member states and clients.

The scalability, performance, and robustness of the full time-critical operational weather forecasting pipeline in the face of future model upgrades is a significant focus of the team. We expect model output data volumes to reach 1 PiB per forecast cycle (four times daily) as we plan for Exascale HPC weather forecasting by 2030, and the volumes of data disseminated are to scale commensurately. The volume and diversity of observations acquired is also expected to increase dramatically. As such, the team actively engages in research of novel, potentially disruptive, algorithms for our data handling systems, and actively works to evaluate upcoming hardware options. The team also invests in the analysis and development of new data access paradigms in support of novel data-centric workflows which will enable users insights into ECMWF's massive data sets. As part of this research effort, the team often seeks and secures external funding (e.g. EU Horizon programme) to supplement the investments in the areas of data storage, I/O systems and scalable workflows.

To ensure the timely delivery of ECMWFs forecasts to Member and Co-operating States and other users, observations from around the globe must be quickly collected and forecast output must be delivered to users reliably and according to a tight schedule. These acquisition and dissemination processes are carried out in an automated fashion by the ECMWF Production Data Store (ECPDS). ECPDS also provides a data portal through which external users can pull meteorological products and push observational data.

ECPDS is a largely automated, distributed service comprising indexed data stores and range of data mover machines which are geographically distributed in locations across Europe and other parts of the world to allow caching of meteorological products closer to our users. Recently ECPDS has turned to cloud computing infrastructure for increased scalability and reliability. Furthermore, ECPDS supports native protocols of major cloud storage providers such as Amazon S3, Google and Microsoft Azure.

The successful candidate will be responsible, together with the team, for the further development, maintenance, and support of the ECPDS service. This work will involve close cooperation and collaboration with the analysts in the Forecast Delivery Team working on the DevOps configuration.

Main duties and key responsibilities

  • Developing and maintaining the ECPDS software
  • Supporting the evolution of ECPDS, ensuring scalability in the face of ever-increasing datasets, portability across multiple platforms, and maintaining and improving its quality of service
  • Supporting National Meteorological and Hydrological Services with adapting ECPDS to their infrastructure
  • Providing development support to the users of ECPDS, the Production Services analysts, and ECMWFs operations team
  • Developing and supporting ECMWFs data notification service

Personal attributes

  • Excellent analytical and problem-solving skills with a proactive continuous improvement approach
  • Initiative and ability to work collaboratively with other ECMWF teams but also able to work independently
  • 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

Education, experience, knowledge and skills (including language)

  • An advanced university degree (EQF level 7 or above) or equivalent professional experience in computer science or engineering, computational science, physics or natural sciences, mathematics, or related discipline
  • Demonstrated experience in developing software to handle large datasets is essential, with strong understanding of I/O concerns and access to data storage
  • Experience in developing client/server applications and a good understanding of performance-related issues (memory, disk I/O, networking, etc.) would be a distinct advantage
  • Experience in developing and running distributed computing applications or data services with a good understanding of scalability concerns would be advantageous
  • Experience with data transfer protocols and network troubleshooting is advantageous
  • Experience developing software for, or operating software in high-availability operational environments would be advantageous
  • Experience in Object-Oriented Java, development in UNIX/Linux and software lifecycle maintenance is essential, and experience with C/C++ would be a bonus
  • Expertise in SQL database and knowledge of clustering solutions such as MariaDB Galera Cluster would be a plus
  • Expertise in deployments using virtual or containerized environments is desirable
  • Candidates must be able to work effectively in English and interviews will be conducted in English.
  • Knowledge of one of ECMWFs other working languages (French or German) would be an advantage but is not essential

Other information

Grade remuneration

The successful candidate will be recruited at the A2 grade, according to the scales of the Co-ordinated Organisations and the annual basic salary will be 63,782.28 or 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-PL 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: Contract to December 2024.

Location: This position can be located at the ECMWF HQ in Reading, UK or at its 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.

Successful applicants and members of their family forming part of their households will be exempt from immigration restrictions.

Interviews by videoconference (via Teams ) are expected to take place at the end of April 2022.

Who can apply

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

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, listed below:
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. 

published: 18 February 2022     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.