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Head of Core Infrastructure

Rome | Bologna

  • Organization: ECMWF - European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts
  • Location: Rome | Bologna
  • Grade: Mid level - A4 - Grade band
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Humanitarian Aid and Coordination
    • Infrastructure and Urban-Rural development
    • Managerial positions
  • Closing Date: Closed

Job reference: VN24-33
Salary and Grade: Grade A4: EUR 101,510.64, net annual basic salary + other benefits
Deadline for applications: 07/04/2024
Department: Computing
Location: Bologna, Italy
Contract type: STF-C
Publication date: 22/02/2024
Contract Duration: Four years, with the possibility of further extensions

Job Description

The role

ECMWF has an opening for a Head of Section position in the Computing Department. The position is located at our Bologna duty station, with occasional attendance at our Reading offices also expected.

The Head of the Core Infrastructure Section is part of the Computing Department and ECMWF’s senior management team. In this role as part of the Computing Department management they are shaping the future strategic direction of the Computing Department and are taking responsibility for cross-cutting strategic topics as needed. They will lead three teams which focus on ECMWF core infrastructure operations (see details about ECMWF below). The three teams are:

  • The Networks and Security team, located in Reading and Bologna, providing the network support for the Bologna datacentre as well as Reading, Bologna and Bonn offices. The team is also responsible for cybersecurity coordination of the organisation.
  • The Storage and Servers team, located in Bologna and Reading, responsible for the storage and general purpose servers of ECMWF, particularly for our data archive, one of the largest meteorological archives in the world containing more than 0.5 Exabyte of data.
  • The Engineering team, located in Bologna, responsible for the mechanical and electrical aspects of ECMWF’s Bologna datacentre. The datacentre is a key facility supporting the Centre’s 24/7 time-critical production services.

The successful candidate will contribute to the management of major incidents, supporting analysts, scientists and contractors in their task to identify and effectively and efficiently rectify problems, informing and consulting senior management, and keeping relevant stakeholders updated, to ensure a prompt return of operational services. Post incidents, they will be a core member of the review team to capture relevant lessons learnt and provide recommendations to prevent recurrence.

Also within the remit of the role will be conducting periodic reviews of relevant operational policies and procedures associated with the core infrastructure and ensuring information is appropriately recorded to support future audits.


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 35 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.

ECMWF is a multi-site organisation comprising of three duty stations -  its headquarters based since its creation in Reading, UK, a data centre and offices in Bologna, Italy, and offices in Bonn, Germany. ECMWF has a hybrid organisation model which allows its staff to mix 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 understands and values the need for flexibility in the way its staff work.

For additional details, see

Main duties and key responsibilities

  • Leadership in a 24/7 operational infrastructure and scientific production environment
  • Managing ECMWF’s core infrastructure, ensuring that it is consistently available to support ECMWF’s activities
  • Delivering the services to users within agreed service levels and KPI’s and within authorised budgets
  • Ensuring effective communication with stakeholders in matters relating to core infrastructure operations and development 
  • Short- and long-term planning for the continued development of the core infrastructure – ensuring operational efficiencies and resiliency capabilities based on future service requirements identified by Section Heads across the organisation
  • Having a strong understanding of appropriate technology roadmaps to inform and justify the service enhancements and budgetary proposals
  • Ensuring that comprehensive maintenance and development plans, and operational policies and procedures for the ECMWF Bologna datacentre are prepared and implemented accordingly
  • Ensuring an effective risk identification and management plan is in place, together with a clearly defined and effective business continuity plan
  • Ensuring the effective management of the ECMWF’s Italian regulatory, compliance, commercial and administrative obligations and relationships arising from its data centre operations

What we are looking for

  • Full understanding of data centre operations in 24/7 critical operational setup
  • Excellent analytical and problem-solving skills with a proactive and constructive approach
  • Highly organised with the capacity to work on a diverse range of tasks to tight deadlines, reflecting our mission-critical time dependent product delivery
  • Flexibility, with the ability to adapt to changing priorities
  • Self-motivated, and able to work with minimal supervision
  • Dedication and enthusiasm to work in a geographically distributed team
  • Ability to motivate and encourage teams to foster an environment where process enhancements can be raised and appropriately considered 
  • Strong and calm decision-making in operational/time-critical crisis situations
  • Working as part of the Computing Department’s management team, contributing with personal experience and innovative ideas in a proactive and constructive way
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills, with the ability to interact and disseminate information at the appropriate level (e.g. technical and non-technical customers)
  • Strong interpersonal skills to work collaboratively with members of the section, reaching out to the rest of the Computing Department, the wider ECMWF organisation, and external partners and suppliers
  • Strong understanding of technology roadmaps and translating into operational business cases including associated budget projections (timelines and contingency planning)
  • Experience of managing complex budgets, including supplier SLAs (performance commitments and penalties) and contractual deliverables

Education and experience

  • A university degree in a technical or scientific discipline (EQF7 level or above) or extensive and equivalent work experience in a relevant field, is required 
  • Experience in managing, motivating and developing teams, managing IT services and budgets, and executing successful procurements
  • Experience of maintaining and reviewing operational policies and procedures and ensuring appropriate awareness within the teams, including skills and knowledge transfer
  • Experience of operational IT services with very strict requirements on service availability and quality
  • Experience of working in an operational data centre environment with strict response-time requirements would be beneficial

Knowledge and skills

  • Good understanding of data centre operations in 24/7 critical setup
  • Good understanding of local and wide area network technologies
  • Good understanding of servers and mass storage technologies
  • Good understanding of current computing trends in the enterprise, data centre, and cloud
  • Ability to interact effectively with a range of different stakeholders (technical and non-technical audiences) across a wide range of activities
  • Excellent administrative, organisational, and planning skills
  • Interest in technology and science
  • The post-holder must be fluent in spoken and written English. They must be able to work and communicate effectively in English and interviews will be conducted in English. A good knowledge of Italian, and/or one of ECMWF’s other working languages (French or German), would be an advantage

Other information

Grade remuneration

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 EUR 101,510.64 net of tax. ECMWF also offers a generous benefits package, including a flexible teleworking policy. The position is assigned to the employment category STF-C 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:              July 2024

Length of contract:   Four years, with the possibility of further contract extension

Location:                      The position will be based at ECMWF’s duty station in Bologna, Italy

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.

Videoconference interviews (via Microsoft Teams) are expected to take place during April/May 2024.

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.

ECMWF Member and Co-operating States are: 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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