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Software Engineer - Machine Learning in Destination Earth


  • Organization: ECMWF - European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts
  • Location: Reading
  • Grade: Level not specified - Level not specified
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Engineering
    • Environment
    • Education, Learning and Training
    • Information Technology and Computer Science
    • Innovations for Sustainable Development
  • Closing Date: Closed

Job reference: VN24-30
Salary and Grade: Grade A2 GBP 71,451 (Reading/UK) NET annual basic salary + other benefits
Deadline for applications: 25/02/2024
Department: Forecast and Services
Location: Reading, UK
Contract type: STF-PS
Publication date: 26/01/2024
Contract Duration: 2 years up to 31 May 2026, with possibility of extensions

Job Description

Your role 

ECMWF has an exciting opportunity for a highly motivated  Software Engineer (A2) to join the Workflow Design and Integration Team. In this role, you will focus on the rapidly developing machine learning (ML) Big Data workflows being created and deployed within the Destination Earth (DestinE) initiative, ensuring ML developments are compatible with operations and have appropriate levels of optimisation and reliability. This will include deploying worflows for the Artificial Intelligence component of ECMWF Integrated Forecasting System (AIFS) and for ML-based models of other Earth system components in the framework of DestinE, on the largest High Performance Computing (HPC) facilities Europe has to offer. 

At ECMWF, you will find a passionate community, collectively aiming to build world-leading global Earth system models for numerical weather prediction and climate simulations. ECMWF has been the first operational weather centre to publish results of its own global machine-learned weather model, AIFS, and the latest predictions are continuously updated on the web. Within DestinE, ECMWF will develop and deploy workflows for training and running machine-learned Earth system components of a European foundation model based on existing DestinE traditional simulation and modelling results.

Your work with colleagues contributing to DestinE Digital Twins and ML activities will bring innovative machine learning approaches into the DestinE workflow, in particular for enhancing uncertainty quantification for the Weather-induced Extremes Digital Twin. This effort supports the implementation of DestinE and ECMWF strategy of producing cutting‐edge science and world-leading weather predictions and monitoring of the Earth system.

The Workflow Design and Integration Team is responsible for integrating and implementing software updates in the ECMWF forecasting systems and adapting operational suites to run on new or upgraded hardware. The team provides second line operational support, including on-call when necessary. The Production Services Section is responsible for the operational production services of ECMWF, including in the framework of DestinE and of the Copernicus services, working closely with teams across the organisation to maintain, develop and manage the operational forecasting systems and associated data services.

About ECMWF 

The European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) is a world-leader in weather and environmental forecasting. As an international organisation we serve our members and the wider community with global weather predictions and data that is critical for understanding and solving the climate crisis. We function as a 24/7 research and operational centre with a focus on medium and long-range predictions, holding one of the largest meteorological data archives in the world. The success of our activities builds on the talent of our scientists and experts, strong partnerships with 35 Member and Co-operating States and the international community, some of the most powerful supercomputers in the world, and the use of innovative technologies and ML across our operations. 

ECMWF has also developed a strong partnership with the European Union and has been entrusted with the implementation and operation of the Climate Change and Atmosphere Monitoring Services of the EU Copernicus Programme. We also contribute to the Copernicus Emergency Management Service. Other areas of work include High Performance Computing and the development of digital tools that enable ECMWF to extend provision of data and products covering weather, climate, air quality, fire and flood prediction and monitoring.

See   for more info about what we do. 

The Destination Earth (DestinE) initiative

ECMWF is one of the three entities entrusted to implement the DestinE initiative of the European Commission, alongside ESA and EUMETSAT as partners. DestinE aims 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 support sustainable development and corresponding European policies for the Green Deal.  ECMWF is responsible for the delivery of these digital twins and of the Digital Twin engine, the software infrastructure needed to power them of some of Europe’s largest supercomputers, those of the European HPC Joint Undertaking (EuroHPC). The second phase of DestinE covers the period June 2024 – May 2026, and future phases are foreseen (subject to funding). Phase 2 will focus on early operations with consolidation, maintenance, and continuous evolution of the DestinE system components developed in the first phase. There will also be an enhanced focus on ML activities, including the deployment of workflows of components of a ML model for the Earth system, optimisation of the Digital Twin Engine to enable efficient model training and simulations, and other activities.

For more information on DestinE, see  and

In this role you will: 

  • Develop and support DestinE operational workflows with a focus on ML workflows and the Weather-induced Extremes Digital Twin
  • Perform quality assurance for science and technical contributions related to DestinE at the earliest possible stage
  • Ensure ML developments in DestinE  are compatible with operations and have appropriate levels of optimisation and reliability
  • Advise on contributions to new versions of the software, respond to pull-request and contribute pro-actively to code-review, considering user requirements and operational constraints
  • Communicate with colleagues about upcoming changes and ensure all relevant people are aware and understand the impacts of these changes
  • Monitor progress and performance of the suites related to DestinE, in particular for ML workflows, and solve problems as they arise, using operational tools, procedures, best practice and internal expertise, including 2nd line on-call support when necessary
  • Collaborate with colleagues across ECMWF in the ongoing development of ML data flows required for training and running ML models, and on the Weather-induced Digital Twin workflows

What we're looking for:

  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills to communicate with a wide range of technically skilled colleagues at ECMWF and in partner organisations, also to non-technical staff
  • Dedication and enthusiasm to work as part of a team, taking initiative to work collaboratively with other team members and project partners
  • Ability to work independently, but to know when it is important to seek advice 
  • Excellent analytical and problem-solving skills with a proactive continuous improvement approach
  • Ability to work with precision and care and having a good awareness of the need to test thoroughly and document changes appropriately
  • Ability and willingness to collaborate with internal and external experts on aspects related to the operational production of DestinE
  • Active listener seeking and respecting the views of others
  • Highly organised with the capacity to work on a diverse range of tasks to tight deadlines
  • Flexibility, with a willingness to adapt plans if partner organisations work at different paces, and if priorities shift over time 

Your education, skills and experience:

  • A university degree (EQF Level 6) in a physical, computational, or mathematical science, or related subject, or equivalent professional experience
  • Programming skills with scripting languages (such as Python) in a UNIX/Linux environment required 
  • Experience in an operational or time-critical environment is desirable
  • Experience of working collaboratively on software development projects is desirable

The following skills and experience would be an advantage, though we encourage you apply even if you don’t feel you meet precisely all these criteria:

  • Experience working in a scientific environment
  • Experience in managing distributed applications and a good understanding of performance-related issues (memory, disk I/O, networking, etc.)
  • Experience working in a High Performance Computing environment
  • Familiarity with big-data analytics, cloud technologies and machine learning fundamentals
  • An understanding of numerical weather prediction or meteorological applications
  • Knowledge of standardised data formats for international exchange
  • Candidates must be able to work effectively in English.
  • Good knowledge of one of the Centre’s other working languages (French or German) is  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. 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 . 

Starting date:  As soon as possible

Candidates are expected to relocate to the duty station. As a multi-site organisation, ECMWF has adopted a hybrid organisation model which allows flexibility to staff to mix office working and teleworking, including away from the duty station (within the area of our member states and co-operating states).

Interviews by videoconference (MS Team) are expected to take place in March/April. 

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: 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. 

In these exceptional times, we also welcome applications from Ukrainian nationals for this vacancy.  

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

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