Principal Fellow - Research to Production

Location: Exeter HQ Met Office

Reference number: 164

Contract: Permanent

Hours per week: 37

Salary: £72500 - £79500

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We’re seeking to appoint an exceptional Principal Fellow for Research to Production. This new position is motivated by the prospect of AI models running alongside physics-based models for numerical weather prediction, leading to opportunities to radically redesign our operational NWP systems.


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.

Our Principal Fellow role will shape, lead and deliver a scientific or technical capability that is core to the Met Office mission, as articulated as a theme in the Research and Innovation Strategy, through leadership within the Met Office and across the external environment to achieve strategic goals.

This post is based in Exeter, with an expectation of two days in person in Exeter, with the remainder of the week based elsewhere or from home. This is a full time role, however applications from part-time workers (minimum of 0.8FTE) are welcomed, including combining with a complementary part-time position at an academic institution, or similar. Job share options can also be considered. We are offering visa sponsorship for this position.

The successful candidate will join the cohort of Principal Fellows, sponsored by Chief of Science and Technology (Stephen Belcher), and be expected to work particularly across the Science, Services and Technology Directorates. The successful candidate will report to the Chief Technology Officer (Richard Bevan) in order to facilitate coordination with the Technology Directorate

Your world of expertise


Principal Fellows are exceptional individuals who can inspire and drive our thinking to achieve the Met Office vision “to be recognised as global leaders in weather and climate science and services in our changing world”. They play a pivotal role in defining and delivering the Met Office Research and Innovation Strategy.

We are seeking to make one appointment to provide leadership in the Met Office Research & Innovation strategy theme:

Research to Production: this new position is motivated by the prospect of AI models running alongside physics-based models for numerical weather prediction, leading to opportunities to radically redesign our operational NWP systems.

The key duties of our Principal Fellow are:

  • Provide leadership in the design, implementation, and delivery of a scientific or technical capability that is of transformational importance to the Met Office, i.e., provide leadership of a theme of the Research & Innovation Strategy.
  • Act as a Met Office representative in a broad area of scientific or technical expertise that is recognised externally to achieve Met Office goals.
  • Provide leadership with strategically relevant individuals and organisations in the external environment to develop collaborative partnerships for the benefit of the Research & Innovation Strategy.
  • Evaluate new developments and opportunities in their domain of expertise to make prioritised recommendations that deliver maximum benefit.
  • The Principal Fellow for Research to Production will work across Science, Technology and Services to develop our thinking on future operational systems design.

Essential Qualifications, Skills & Abilities

  1. Recognised world class reputation across a broad scientific or technical discipline that is fundamental to the R&I strategy theme on Research to Production, in particular the design, development and delivery of complex operational numerical weather or climate prediction systems
  2. Evidence of leadership in developing from conception to inception a novel scientific or technical capability or new weather or climate service (We Keep Evolving)
  3. The ability to transform the Met Office through application of knowledge or expertise (We’re Experts by Nature)
  4. Evidence of strong leadership in building relationships with external partners and stakeholders 

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 Principal Fellow, your total reward package will be up to £103,000 annually, which includes:

  • £72,500 base pay, rising to £79,500 over time
  • An outstanding Civil Service pension
  • A discretionary performance related bonus
  • 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
  • Relocation Assistance may be available.

How to apply

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

Closing date Sunday 14th July at 23:59. You can expect to receive an update on your application on or around 19th July, after the sift has taken place. Interviews will be taking place weeks commencing 29th July and 5th August.

If successful, please note we are unable to offer expenses for travel to your normal place of work. Please ask at interview if you would like extra clarity on how often this requirement is likely to be.

How we can help:

If you are considering applying and need assistance to do so, please contact us via careers@metoffice.gov.uk. 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 (Guaranteed Interview) Scheme. To be invited to interview/assessment under this scheme, your application must meet the essential criteria for the role.

We are an equal opportunities employer, welcoming applications from those with all protected characteristics. We recruit on merit, fairness, and open competition in line with the Civil Service Code.

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
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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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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!

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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.

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?

Principal Fellow - Research to Production

Location: Exeter HQ Met Office

Reference number: 164

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