Scientific Strategic Head

Scientific Strategic Head

Job Description

  • Permanent
  • Exeter EX1, UK
  • £59754 - £64210 per annum UK / Year

Our reward package

We’re looking for an exceptional Scientific Strategic Head to help us make a difference to our planet.

As our Scientific Strategic Head you will work a hybrid pattern of homeworking and on site a minimum of one day a week at our Exeter HQ.

Our opportunity is full time, 37 hours per week, but we would also consider applicants wishing to work a minimum 22.2 hours per week (0.6 FTE) 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.

We are recruiting for two Scientific Strategic Head posts within the following areas:

  • Scientific Strategic Head – Atmospheric Dispersion and Air Quality (ADAQ)
  • Scientific Strategic Head – Verification, Impacts and Post-Processing (VIPP)

Why join us?

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.

We invest in our people to unlock their full potential. As our Scientific Strategic Head , we will support you to develop and thrive to be the best you can be. We champion positive physical and mental health in the workplace and are committed to being an inclusive organisation, providing a working culture that actively values an equal and diverse workforce.

As our Scientific Strategic Head your starting salary will be £59754.00. New joiners to the Met Office will start on the salary band minimum. Our 2022-25 pay award means the salary will increase to £64,846 from 1st April 2024, and you will be able to progress towards £68,985 over time.

Your total reward package is potentially worth up to £81,883 annually, which includes basic salary, potential corporate bonus and employer pension contributions.

Your package includes:
– Outstanding Civil Service pension with an average employer contribution of 27%
– Flexible hours and homeworking
– 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
– Cycle to work scheme for the purchase of a bicycle and equipment to support healthy, low carbon travel
– Access to discounted shopping, inclusive of retail, leisure and lifestyle brands

Who we are

We provide critical weather services and world-leading climate science to deliver extraordinary impact and benefit across the globe. Our work helps people make better decisions to stay safe and thrive.


  • 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

Find out more about our values on our Met Office website.

VIPP post:

Weather Science is responsible for the research, development and transition to operations of the Met Office’s forecasting systems for weather, marine, dispersion and air quality services. It is made up of over 200 scientists and software engineers. As Head of Verifications Impacts and Post Processing (VIPP) you will be part of the Weather Science leadership team who set the strategic direction, engaging with our partners and stakeholders and oversee the running of Weather Science. When needed you will deputise for the Associate Director of Weather Science. A key aspect of VIPP is to engage in the National Capability endeavour to provide a Science voice in defining how we deliver our calibrated and post processed data to our customers.

As Head of Verification, Impacts and Post-Processing (VIPP) you will have specific responsibility for providing leadership for a team of around 40 scientists and scientific software engineers. You will provide scientific leadership, set the direction of the teams work and engage with internal and external partners and stakeholders. You will oversee science prediction Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and act as an Information Asset Guardian (IAG) for a range of prediction data.

VIPP has a significant number of Scientific Software Engineers and works closely with the Technology teams in the Met Office to deliver data through the emerging forecast production processes.

ADAQ post:

As Scientific Strategic Head you will lead a team of 32 scientists and scientific software engineers in Weather Science – part of the Science directorate in the Met Office.

ADAQ carry out research, development and maintenance of:

  • Atmospheric dispersion and air quality science and models
  • Source attribution/data fusion capability
  • Operational systems used by our expert Meteorologists to deliver 24/7 dispersion modelling capability
  • Expert support and advice capability for UK Government and our stakeholders

This work supports a range of critical, wellbeing and safety of life services and the understanding, preparedness and response capabilities needed to deliver them. Applications and services include: air quality, pollen, large industrial fires and wildfires, radiological releases, volcanic eruptions and animal and plant disease spread. The work is highly varied and dynamic and is only possible through the combined science and systems expertise, research and deployment that ADAQ delivers.

Job Purpose

As our Scientific Strategic Head – Verification, Impacts and Post-Processing, your key responsibilities are:

  • Lead the development of advances in post-processing, verification and weather impacts, working in partnership where appropriate, in order to deliver improved data and verification in support of weather forecast services.
  • To direct and monitor work to ensure the delivery of the agreed key outputs of the VIPP team whilst maintaining and enhancing the scientific credibility, integrity and reputation of the Met Office.
  • To influence and negotiate with customers and stakeholders at a senior level, both across the Science programme and with external collaborators, to ensure the successful delivery and pull-through of research and development in VIPP and to promote the scientific reputation of the Met Office.
  • To forecast, negotiate and control the resources needed to deliver the key areas of VIPP Research and Development within budget.
  • Lead, manage and develop the VIPP team to meet current and future business requirements.

As our Scientific Strategic Head – Atmospheric Dispersion and Air Quality, your key responsibilities are:

  • To be a highly effective member of the Weather Science Leadership team contributing to setting the goals of the Science Directorate and the Met Office more broadly.
  • To provide people leadership to ensure a culture of coaching and personal development within ADAQ to ensure our staff develop the skills needed to meet changing business requirements.
  • To act as a key contact for Science in Met Office programmes where Science and especially the Science of ADAQ is involved.
  • Provide scientific and technical leadership to advance Met Office capabilities in dispersion and air quality, source attribution and data fusion and associated events and hazards. Objectively identifying the skills and talent required for current and future roles.
  • To direct and monitor resources in ADAQ to successfully deliver science and technical capabilities.
  • To influence and negotiate with customers and stakeholders at a senior level, both across the Science programme, with other teams in the Met Office and with external collaborators and stakeholders, to ensure the successful delivery and pull-through of research and development in ADAQ and to promote the scientific reputation of the Met Office.

Please indicate your role preference in your application.

Essential Qualifications, Skills & Abilities


  • Excellent leadership skills with the ability to lead and inspire teams to deliver scientific output and/or technical capabilities by demonstrating thought leadership. (Experts by nature)
  • Demonstrated personal scientific and/or technical outputs that have significantly advanced an organisations capability. (We keep evolving)
  • Demonstrated ability to work with partners and stakeholders to ensure science and technical delivery is fit for purpose and collaboration is delivering for all partners. (Better Together)
  • Evidence of contributing to setting the strategic direction of research and innovation (Force for good)
  • Proven ability to forecast, negotiate and control resources to successfully deliver outcomes. (We live and breathe it)
  • Demonstrable scientific understanding relevant to ADAQ/VIPP and an interest in the science in ADAQ/VIPP (We live and breathe it)


Desirable Qualifications, Skills & Abilities

We encourage you to apply if you believe you meet our essential criteria, but we’re also keen to discover if you have:


  • Scientific research and development experience relevant to the ADAQ/VIPP team. (Experts by nature)


How to apply

If you share our values, we’d love to hear from you. Apply below using your CV and a Cover Letter/Supporting Statement which evidences how you meet each of the essential criteria – we recommend candidates use the CARL (Context, Action, Result and Learning) method for presenting evidence of skills.

Closing date 18/02/2024 at 23:59 with interviews commencing from 11/03/2024. You will hear from us once the closing date has passed.

If successful, please note we are unable to offer expenses for travel to your normal place of work. This post is contractually aligned to Exeter HQ, 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 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.

Additional information

ADAQ post – additional information:

ADAQ must sometimes provide advice and support in situations where higher security is needed. The successful applicant will therefore be expected to apply for Developed Vetting. Appointment will however not be dependent on securing this.

The support and expert advise role that ADAQ fulfills for significant atmospheric dispersion events can require, though very rarely, that members of the team, including Head, be contacted and work outside of normal working hours. This is conducted on a reasonable endeavors basis and remunerated in line with Met Office policy.


Apply Now