ECMWF launches new fellowship programme


ECMWF is launching a new fellowship programme to foster collaboration with renowned international scientists. July 2014 marks the start of a three-year tenure for the first ECMWF Fellows: Professor Tilmann Gneiting, Professor Rupert Klein and Professor Tim Palmer.

The Centre has a long history of working with respected institutions around the world through both formal and informal collaborations. This new programme focuses on formalising links with individuals, rather than institutions, who are carrying out pioneering work in areas relevant to the strategic goals of ECMWF. Key to the programme’s success will be close working relationships between individuals, with each Fellow having a main scientific and technical contact point at ECMWF.

The programme

The ECMWF Directorate will appoint new Fellows every year, based on their expertise in areas of scientific and technical research and development relevant to the Centre. The total number of Fellows is expected to become around ten when the programme is fully operational. Fellowships will be for three years, with the possibility of being renewed once for another three years. Fellows are encouraged to provide regular, short reports of the key results of their work, which will be published on ECMWF’s website and in other relevant publications. To support their research, the Centre will provide access to ECMWF computing facilities and databases, and a limited amount of annual funding for visits to the Centre to share the results of their research work.

“ECMWF’s fellowship programme is something we have been working on for a while, and we believe it will be very important for the future guidance and inspiration of our research,” explains Erland Källén, Director of Research at ECMWF. “Scientific collaboration is the essence of progress and it is essential for us to be able to share and exchange with like-minded researchers around the world.” 

ECMWF’s first three Fellows

Professor Tilmann Gneiting is Group Leader for Computational Statistics at the Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies (HITS) and Professor of Computational Statistics at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). His research interests centre on statistical methodology, probability theory, and forecasting. In particular, he has worked on probabilistic weather prediction and wind energy forecasting. Tilmann is a recipient of a National Science Foundation Career Award (2002–2007) and of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics' inaugural Richard Tweedie New Researcher Award (2005). His work is supported by an Advanced Grant from the European Research Council on “The Science of Forecasting: Probabilistic Foundations, Statistical Methodology, and Applications”. The Thomson Reuters “Highly Cited Researchers 2014” ranks Tilmann among the scientists most cited for their subject field and year of publication.

“There has been a paradigm shift from deterministic to probabilistic forecasting,” Tilmann says. “In weather forecasts, we no longer simply claim that it will rain tomorrow. Instead, we state how probable it is that it will rain tomorrow. While probabilistic forecasts might be inconvenient for decision-makers, as they take account of intrinsic uncertainties, they get closer to the truth and allow for better decisions. The fellowship programme will foster ongoing collaboration between ECMWF and the Computational Statistics group at HITS in support of these developments.”

Professor Rupert Klein is a world-leading scientist in the areas of geophysical fluid dynamics and numerical modelling. He is leading a research group in geophysical fluid dynamics at the Free University of Berlin, where he is professor of scientific computing in the mathematics department. Rupert is a recipient of the prestigious Leibniz award and a Fellow of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences. In addition to his numerical and modelling work in geophysical fluid dynamics, he has contributed to combustion process modelling.

“By granting the fellowship, ECMWF acknowledges my applied mathematical research contributions in the area of theoretical and computational meteorology,” says Rupert. “Coming from one of the most outstanding meteorological centres in the world, this is a great honour. Moreover, through the explicit invitation to reinforced co-operations, the Centre expresses a keen interest in the further development of my research agenda. To me, this is the highest compliment a scientist can receive. Of course, I have accepted this exceptional invitation with enthusiasm.”

Professor Tim Palmer is an eminent scientist in the field of atmospheric predictability and ensemble forecasting systems. He has led the extended-range forecasting and predictability research at ECMWF for two decades and he is a Royal Society professor of Climate Physics at Oxford University. In accepting the invitation, Tim says “I am very honoured to be chosen as an ECMWF fellow, and am looking forward to working with my ECMWF colleagues and further strengthening the links between ECMWF and my group at Oxford University, to help develop the science and application of ensemble forecasting across a range of timescales.”

Tim has received numerous research awards, for example the Carl-Gustav Rossby Award of the American Meteorological Society and the Silver Medal of the European Meteorological Society. Tim is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of the UK.

“We are very excited that Professors Gneiting, Palmer and Klein should be the first members of this ambitious programme,” says Erland Källén. “Their expertise in their respective fields is second to none and having them on board places the start of this programme under the best possible auspices.”