Foundation Scientific Software Engineer - Machine Learning

Location: Exeter HQ Met Office

Reference number: 237

Contract: Permanent

Hours per week: 37

Salary: 26954

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We’re looking for an exceptional Foundation Scientific Software Engineer to help us make a difference to our planet.

As our Foundation Scientific Software Engineer, the job may be suitable for hybrid working, which is where an employee works part of the week in the office and part of the week from home. This is a voluntary, non-contractual arrangement and the location advertised will be your contractual place of work.

Our opportunity is full time, 37 hours per week, but we would also consider applicants wishing to work part-time and we will also try our best to consider those intending to work a job share.  Our people are at the heart of what we do and we'll do our best to agree a working pattern that works for everyone.

World changing work

From science to technology, from meteorology to management, and from planning to communication, our expertise helps us stand out as the authority on weather accuracy and climate prediction. We help individuals, industries and government to make better decisions to stay safe and thrive. This is the Met Office. This is who we are.

  • We’re a force for good - focusing on our environmental and social impact
  • We’re experts by nature - always learning and developing to do things better
  • We live and breathe it - putting our purpose at the heart of decision-making
  • We’re better together - understanding partnerships and inclusivity make us greater
  • We keep evolving - pushing boundaries to make tomorrow better for our customers

Your world of expertise

We have an opportunity for a Foundation Scientific Software Engineer to help develop innovative data-driven solutions for weather and climate modelling. As a Foundation Scientific Software Engineer you will be part of a large community of over 100 Scientific Software Engineers (SSE), supporting and enabling cutting-edge science at the Met Office.

In this role you will undertake research and development in the use of data science and machine learning for weather and climate modelling, and weather and climate model evaluation and interpretation. You will contribute to projects under the AI4NWP programme and AI4Climate projects, working with colleagues across the Met Office and with external partners. Artificial Intelligence for Numerical Weather Prediction (AI4NWP) and Artificial Intelligence for Climate (AI4Climate) are two flagship initiatives recently launched by the Met Office to bring advanced machine learning methods to the challenges of weather prediction and climate modelling.

You will work within a multi-disciplinary team of data scientists, data engineers, software engineers, and weather and climate experts. Internal and external partnerships are a key part of how we work. You will have the opportunity to work with a wide range of partners with different areas of expertise both in the Met Office and with partner universities, other Met Services, research institutions and commercial partners. Through tackling these challenging problems together, you will have the opportunity to develop a wide range of skills in machine learning and data science.

Successful candidates will be based in teams within Weather Science, Foundation Science, or the Hadley Centre, but will maintain close links to related projects in other areas of the office.

Your key duties

Responsibilities will be specific to each post, but will include:

  • Working on projects at the forefront of machine learning for weather and climate science using recommended tools and promoting best practices for ethical, reproducible use of machine learning.
  • Researching, developing, and applying high-quality software solutions and practices for machine learning, creating data workflows, adapting and optimising cutting-edge machine learning architectures for weather and climate data.
  • Communicating research outcomes in a variety of ways, such as peer-reviewed publications, talks at conferences or seminars (internally or externally).
  • Engaging with domain experts both within the Met Office and with external partners. Sharing knowledge and experience (for example, the wider Scientific/Research Software Engineering community including Communities of Practice).

Why join us

Our work is life-changing, often life-saving and always life-enhancing. The Met Office is accredited as a 'Great Place to Work UK 2023' and in addition has achieved a place on both the UK's 'Best Workplaces in Tech' and 'Best Workplaces for Women' lists.

As our Foundation Scientific Software Engineer, your total reward package will be up to £37,776 annually, which includes:

  • £26,954 base pay
  • An outstanding Civil Service pension, with an average employer contribution of 27%
  • In addition, you will be paid a Recruitment Retention Allowance (RRA) - £2,200 per annum as a market supplement to reflect the demand for your skills. Whilst in post, you will be paid this market driven allowance from April 2024 until September 2025 in your monthly pay
  • Annual Leave starting at 27.5 days (plus Bank Holidays) rising to 32.5 days (plus Bank Holidays) after 5 years and option to buy or sell up to 5 days per year of annual leave

Essential Criteria, skills and experience:

  1. We're experts by nature: Show technical insight through creation of solutions showing the effective application of technical knowledge, understanding and skills
  2. We're experts by nature: Engage with others to understand the requirements for your work and its wider context
  3. We're experts by nature: Consider good Quality Assurance processes, best practice, standards and/or regulations in your work
  4. We're better together: Communicate knowledge accurately and concisely in written documents and discussions in small groups
  5. We keep evolving: Proactively develop your skills and support others in developing theirs

How to apply

If you share our values, we’d love to hear from you. Apply below with your CV and provide evidence against each of the essential criteria in the supporting statement questionnaire. We recommend candidates use the CARL method (Context, Action, Result and Learning) for presenting evidence of experience and skills.

If you are unsure which level (Foundation, SSE, Senior) you would be best suited for, do apply for multiple roles! We also welcome applications from returners post career break and people changing career path.

Closing date 21/07/2024 at 23:59 with first stage interviews commencing from 19/08/2024. You will hear from us once the closing date has passed.

How we can help

If you are considering applying and need support to do so, please contact us via You can request adjustments either within your application or by contacting us. Should you be offered an interview, please be aware there may be a selection exercise which could include a presentation, written test or a scenario-based activity. You can select in your application to be considered under the Disability Confident Scheme. To be invited to interview/assessment under this scheme, your application must meet the essential criteria for the role.

We understand that great minds don’t always think alike and as an equal opportunities employer we welcome applications from those with all protected characteristics. We recruit on merit, fairness, and open competition in line with the Civil Service Code.

We can only accept applications from those eligible to live and work in the UK - please refer to GOV.UK for information. We require Security clearance, for which you need to have resided in the UK for at least 3 of the last 5 years to be eligible. You will need to achieve full security clearance within your first 6 months with us.

We are currently working through a re-prioritisation process in our Science Directorate, with some employees being asked to discontinue their current work. These employees will be given priority for internal campaigns until the re-prioritisation is complete.

Rewards and benefits

Our rewards and benefits are as varied as our customers and our people, depending on your role, and which part of the business you join. The one thing they have in common is that they’re designed to recognise your contribution to our success.

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Generous holiday allowance

Starting at 27.5 days and rising to 32.5 days after five years of service (both figures exclude bank holidays). As well as the flexibility to buy or sell annual leave annually.

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Civil Service pension

You’ll automatically qualify to join our alpha pension scheme, part of the Civil Service Pension arrangements. The scheme is recognised as one of the most generous occupational pensions.

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Continuous career development

We’ll invest in your training and personal development throughout your career to help you reach your potential. We provide you with the space and freedom to think, innovate and try new things and have professional frameworks aligned to each area. We encourage and support professional memberships, have an array of internal apprenticeship and qualification opportunities and a comprehensive mentoring and coaching programme to name just a few initiatives to create your world of development at the Met Office!

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Cycle to work scheme

We can help towards the purchase of bicycles and equipment for healthy, low carbon travel via a salary sacrifice scheme.

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Lifestyle support

Whether you wish to utilise our excellent family-friendly schemes, be paid up to 3 days for volunteering with your chosen organisation, have the reassurance of a generous sickness pay scheme or be part of an organisation that is happy to pro-actively talk about flexible working the Met Office wants you to have a great work and lifestyle balance.

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Established hybrid working

We have bases all over the UK and some roles allow for you to work abroad so there is the option to travel for work also, we have established amazing hybrid working practices across all of our offices and have enhanced technology to enable office and home-based meetings. We work with employees to agree on a suitable working pattern that works for us both and have various working patterns in place.

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Onsite parking and EV charging

We offer onsite free parking at our main offices with disabled parking spots also available. We are ever expanding our eCharging stations and have these available for use at most sites.

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Benefits platform

We offer an enhanced discount shopping portal and schemes for employees to make everyday savings including retail shopping such as your weekly food shops, technology products, DIY projects, travel and trips as well as active lifestyle options. We also have an instant recognition scheme with the potential for you to receive vouchers for when you have gone the extra mile to demonstrate our Met Office Values.

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Employee wellbeing

Across our offices we have an array of different options to support your wellbeing including 24/7 Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) with phone and app provisions, lots of EDI initiatives to empower our diverse workforce and a dedicated wellbeing network with regular events to help you thrive!

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Commitment to our environment and biodiversity

Our force for good value aligns perfectly with our support for environmental impact improvements. We were the first public sector body to be awarded the prestigious Wildlife Trusts’ Biodiversity Benchmark Award and have different initiatives across our sites from our beautiful biodiversity butterfly garden, toilet water provided from the cooling of our epic supercomputer, car share schemes, team beach clean events and extensive recycling facilities for our everyday use.

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It’s good to talk

We have a fantastic group of employee volunteers who form our Mental Health First Aiders as well as Dignity & Respect at Work groups. Alongside our EAP they are in the office or a remote call away to support with a listening ear and can signpost you to helpful resources and support.

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ED&I staff networks

We recognise the benefits that networks can offer to our employees not only in terms of better together peer support but also in raising awareness of the challenges some of our employees may experience, and we know that people perform better when they can be themselves.

Investing in your development

The world around us is constantly changing. New technologies, shifting climate patterns, artificial intelligence. These factors and more shape the need for us to develop our skills and knowledge as a business and as individuals. Our investment in learning and development is testament to this and we have partnered with external bodies in each profession to help shape the way we develop the incredible talent right across the Met Office. We help everyone to understand their strengths and opportunities and tailor learning programmes that match their career. For us, this is world-leading learning and development.

More about what we can offer you

Meet some of the team

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Jessica Standen

Managing Scientific Consultant

I have been at the Met Office since graduating and have been able to work my way from a foundation scientist to a manager. I enjoy working with customers on the application of science, helping them operate more safely and efficiently and enabling them to be more resilient to the weather both now and in the future. I get to see how the work of the team is directly having impact and benefit to industry and society.

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Emily Wallace

Science Fellow, Weather and Climate Extremes and Impacts Team

The Weather and Climate Extremes and Impacts Team was formed in response to multiple extreme events in the UK. Our customers are dealing with the impacts of severe weather and are more routinely asking questions that blur the lines between what would have traditionally been thought of separately as weather services and climate services. The work we do is critical in our changing world as we bring together teams to provide seamless services to help people stay safe.

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Rhiannon Davies

Senior Scientific Software Engineer

There is a great variety of work here, sometimes I can be applying new science to one of our models, improving some of our internal tools, reviewing code, helping someone get the most out of their development plan, or attending a talk to learn new skills. Sometimes I work with older code cleaning it up, so it works better and is more future-proof. It’s always satisfying to see other people working with my improved code.

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Anna Whitford

Scientific Consultant

Coming from an academic background I wanted to be able to develop new research approaches, but I also wanted a change towards being more impact-focused, where the science I produced would be both useful and used right away. My work is supporting customers to better understand the impact of climate change on their business, with the added benefit of gaining experience on a wide range of projects - there is always something new to learn!

Our typical recruitment process

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1. Eligibility

For those living outside of the UK, there are some roles where we can sponsor Skilled Worker visas. However, you will still need to pass security clearance which requires you to have resided in the UK for 30 months in the last three years.

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2. Application

Apply through our careers website. Each application will be assessed against the essential criteria detailed in the job advert. We recommend that you use the CARL or STAR method to answer the key questions. Evidence your answers and reference our values to bring your application to life.

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3. Screening

The sift panel will assess all applications against our essential criteria. Our screening process usually takes one to two weeks following the closing date of the advert. After which, we'll be in touch to let you know whether your application has progressed to the next stage.

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4. Interview

Most recruitment processes will include a single-stage interview, some of which are virtual interviews and some may be in-person. Our interviews tend to blend competency questions, which focus on the essential criteria, with values-based questions.

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5. Assessment

Some roles may require you to attend an assessment day. Any job-specific assessments will be outlined in the job advert and more details will be provided at the interview stage.

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6. Offer

If you are successful following the interview, the hiring manager will contact you to offer the role. The Resourcing Team will then follow up with an offer letter and start your onboarding.

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7. Onboarding

Before we can confirm a start date, we will first need to complete security clearance and reference checks. These usually take between eight to ten weeks to complete. We'll also discuss any workplace adjustments that you may need. So they are in place on your first day.

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8. Your first day

On your first day your new manager will introduce you to the team and you’ll start our online corporate induction. You’ll also be asked to update your details in our People Hub system including bank details ready for your first pay day.

Ready to apply?

Foundation Scientific Software Engineer - Machine Learning

Location: Exeter HQ Met Office

Reference number: 237


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