Graduate trainees enjoyed their time at ECMWF

Sinéad Duffy, Jacky Goddard


Two scientists who completed their two-year graduate traineeships at ECMWF in September say they thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Sinéad Duffy, who was based in the Forecast Department, has now returned to the Irish National Meteorological Service, Met Éireann, while Jacky Goddard has taken on a new role in the Research Department. Here are their accounts of their time as graduate trainees.

Jacky Goddard and Sinéad Duffy
Jacky Goddard and Sinéad Duffy. Jacky (left) and Sinéad liked the interaction with scientists from many different nations during their traineeships.

Sinéad Duffy

I joined the Forecast Department in September 2014 to work on the verification of surface weather parameters using high-density observations from ECMWF’s Member and Co-operating States. I came from Met Éireann, where I worked as a meteorological officer after completing an MSc in Meteorology at University College Dublin. However, I had never worked in the area of forecast verification before.

Over the past two years, my experience with ECMWF has been very positive. It has been wonderful to work with people from so many nations. Colleagues have been extremely helpful and generous with both their time and knowledge. In-house courses familiarised me with ECMWF models, the MARS meteorological archive, computing facilities and tools.

Throughout my time here, I have attended numerous workshops, seminars and lectures given by ECMWF scientists or visiting speakers. The Friday weather discussions open to all staff have been a wonderful weekly overview of the performance of ECMWF’s forecasts and issues reported by Member and Co-operating States, and they have provided informative analysis of interesting weather across the world.

Whilst at ECMWF, I have presented my work at a European conference and contributed to Newsletter articles. I will return to Met Éireann in Dublin with much broader knowledge of ECMWF’s models, forecast verification and weather in Europe and around the globe.

Jacky Goddard

I joined the Data Assimilation Methodology team at ECMWF in October 2014 immediately after completing a PhD in Numerical Methods at Exeter University. Having had no previous experience in data assimilation, I had a steep learning curve initially.

ECMWF’s Graduate Training Programme

The goal of ECMWF’s Graduate Training Programme is to provide training at an advanced level for recent graduates at a leading research and operational organisation in an international environment. The idea is to contribute to the European pool of well-qualified young professionals in modelling and data assimilation for numerical weather prediction, meteorological operations and large-scale computing support.

Applicants must be a national of a Member or Co-operating State and should normally come from national meteorological services, universities or research institutes in Member or Co-operating States. They must have the support of their national meteorological service. Traineeships are normally awarded for an initial period of one year with the possibility of an extension for a further year.

Fortunately I was able to benefit from ECMWF’s training programme in numerical weather prediction, which includes courses on Data Assimilation and ECMWF/EUMETSAT NWP-SAF Satellite Data Assimilation.

I have thoroughly enjoyed working with a very experienced and talented team of scientists, who were always happy to sit down and discuss my work or help with any problem, however basic or time consuming. The lecture series ‘An Introduction to Meteorology’ was also of great use to me, having come from a mathematical background.

During my time here, I have given talks at international workshops, contributed to special topic papers presented to ECMWF’s Scientific Advisory Committee, and helped to make a contribution to the next operational cycle. The training and experience provided to me at ECMWF has also enabled me to apply and be selected for a new position in the Earth System Assimilation Section. I have really enjoyed and benefited from working at ECMWF with colleagues from very diverse backgrounds, both academically and culturally.