Head of Procurement

1. Position information

Vacancy No.: VN21-21
Grade: A4
Job Ref. No.: STF-C/21-21
Location: Reading, UK
Department: Administration
Section: Procurement
Reports to: Director of Administration
Closing Date: 14 May 2021

2. About ECMWF

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 Copernicus Programme, as well as a contributor to the Copernicus Emergency Management Service. The collaboration does not stop there and include other areas of work, including High Performance Computing and the development of digital tools. It is enabling ECMWF to now provide data and products covering weather, climate, ait 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 opening in 2021 in Bologna, Italy, and new offices, also opening in 2021 in Bonn, Germany.

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, 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.

For additional details, see www.ecmwf.int/.

3. Summary of the role

The Head of Procurement will lead the Procurement Team (3 direct reports), working with scientific and technical experts, budget-holders and managers across the organisation to procure goods and services to support ECMWF’s core activities and the Copernicus and Destination Earth services. The annual budget for ECMWF core procurement activities averages in excess of £20m over a 3 year period, with external spend under the Copernicus and DestinE programme representing an additional €170M over 7 years.

ECMWF is currently finalising negotiations with the European Commission concerning the continuation of the C3S and CAMS services, with contracts due to be signed in Spring, and the implementation of the Destination Earth (DestinE) services, with this project due to kick off in the second half of 2021. Both services will be run from the new ECMWF facility based in Bonn, Germany (https://www.ecmwf.int/en/about/media-centre/news/2020/bonn-host-new-ecmwf-premises-2021). Whilst the Head of Procurement will be working as part of the Administration Department situated in Reading, some team members will be based in the Bonn office.

The role will cover a broad range of procurements, including scientific services, large value IT equipment and services and building equipment and maintenance services, as well as those specific to International Organisations such as general HR services including health insurance contracts. Therefore, candidates who are able to show strong experience in these areas will be at an advantage.

As the head of a dispersed team, the role would suit an individual who is comfortable managing and leading in a matrix management style. There is a need for close collaboration with both clients and stakeholders across the organisation and therefore strong communication and stakeholder management skills are essential in this role to build trust and forge strong internal and external relations.

4. Main duties and key responsibilities

  • Planning and co-ordinating procurement activities across the organisation
  • Setting and agreeing targets for the delivery of procurement services and the realisation of savings to release resources to optimise the Centre’s use of its funding
  • Acting as key procurement interface and bringing deep procurement expertise to bear on the best route to market for budget-holders in ECMWF
  • Leading the Procurement Team and co-ordinating activities with other functions
  • Acting as owner of the agreed procurement procedures and regulations and enforcing compliance.
  • Preparing, reviewing and controlling tender documentation, including overseeing the maintenance of a document archive for audit purposes for each procurement activity
  • Driving forward innovation and the ongoing development of the service;
  • Organising procurement boards and producing written summaries for procurement board meetings for high-value procurements
  • Monitoring contract management activities, as appropriate, within the organisation

5. Personal Attributes

  • Ability to work collaboratively, sharing expertise and lessons learnt with colleagues
  • Ability to work to tight deadlines and pay attention to detail even under time pressure
  • Ability to work as part of a team, managing multiple projects, potentially conflicting priorities and from different sites (possibly in a matrix style).
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills including the ability to recognise and deliver to specific audiences
  • Excellent interpersonal skills with demonstrable ability to apply these to working within and across teams with staff at all levels (including Directors), preferably in a scientific or technical environment
  • Strong stakeholder management skillset with necessary confidence and gravitas to guide and/or influence to Director level.
  • Client oriented mindset
  • Ability to work with peers as part of a greater team, or in other departments, in a supportive and collaborative way
  • Demonstrable experience of team leadership. and motivation skills.

6. Qualifications and experience required


  • University degree (EQF Level 8) or equivalent in a business discipline or an equivalent qualification in purchasing.
  • Candidates should also have experience of procurement across a range of scientific and/or technical procurements with values exceeding £5,000,000, preferably with the European Commission, its agencies or an international organisation.


  • Comprehensive experience of carrying out / over-seeing European Union-compliant procurement procedures.
  • Significant experience of working with users to develop procurement projects from initial requirements gathering through to contract signature, and subsequent contract management.
  • Significant experience of drafting procurement documentation such as invitations to tender, evaluation reports and communications with tenderers.
  • Demonstrated experience of managing procurements with at least one electronic tendering
  • system.
  • Experience of managing Tender Evaluation Boards would be an advantage.
  • Experience with the procurement of health care insurance contracts for International Organizations will be considered an advantage.

Knowledge and skills (including language)

  • Good working knowledge of legal and financial issues associated with European procurement and contracts under UK or European law.
  • Comprehensive knowledge of European Union-compliant procurement procedures.
  • Experience, or good understanding, of contract management tools, practices and reporting.
  • Familiarity with at least one electronic tendering system.
  • Excellent working knowledge of MS Office with considerable experience of
  • Microsoft Word.
  • Candidates must be able to work effectively in English and interviews will be conducted in English. A good knowledge of one of the ECMWF’s other working languages (French and German) would be an advantage.
  • Interviews will be conducted in English. 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.

7. Other information

The successful candidate will be recruited at the A4 grade, according to the scales of the Co-ordinated Organisations and the annual basic salary will be £89,118.72 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 www.ecmwf.int/en/about/jobs, including the Centre’s Staff Regulations regarding the terms and conditions of employment.

Starting date: 1 September 2021, or as soon as possible thereafter.

Length of contract: Four years with the possibility of a further contract.

Location: The position will be based in the Reading area, in Berkshire, United Kingdom.

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

8. How to apply

Please apply by completing the online application form available at www.ecmwf.int/en/about/jobs/.

To contact the ECMWF Recruitment Team, please email jobs@ecmwf.int.

Please refer to the ECMWF Privacy Statement. For details of how we will handle your personal data for this purpose, see: https://www.ecmwf.int/en/privacy.

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, Hungary, Germany, Greece, 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: 13 May 2021     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.