Open Call for New Members of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Research Board
Global News
article written by MRI
22.02.24 | 09:02

Expand your impact on Earth system research by joining the WMO Research Board. Applications are encouraged from experts across various disciplines, especially under-represented regions, early career researchers, and women. Apply by 1 March 2024.

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Research Board is extending an open call for new members, seeking to enhance diversity and expertise within its ranks. Comprising 25 to 30 experts in weather, climate, water, and related environmental and social sciences, the Research Board plays a crucial role in aligning strategic goals with WMO directives, mobilizing international research efforts, and addressing scientific and technological gaps.

Open positions within the Research Board span across diverse disciplines, including:

  • Social sciences, such as economics and finance, communications, law and public policy, and disaster risk reduction;
  • Hydrological sciences, including groundwater and surface hydrology across timescales, from extreme weather events to climate change;
  • Cryosphere and Polar Sciences: such as glaciology, sea ice, permafrost, and polar meteorology; and
  • Data sciences and machine learning: including data ethics, among others.

Research Board members are expected to actively contribute to its workstreams and engage in, or lead, various initiatives. We encourage members of the MRI community to apply, as your expertise and perspectives are invaluable in shaping global research agendas. Applicants from under-represented regions, early career researchers, and women are particularly encouraged to apply.

Applicants should send a curriculum vitae (maximum three pages), detailing their contact details, education, experience, and relevant skills as well as a letter of motivation and expected contributions (maximum one page) to Prof. Jürg Luterbacher, Director, Science and Innovation Department (, with a copy to Ms Lauren Stuart, Scientific Officer, Science and Innovation Department (

This call will be open until 1 March 2024. For any questions, please contact Prof. Jürg Luterbacher and/or Ms Lauren Stuart.

Terms of Reference of the Research Board on Weather, Climate, Water and the Environment Mandate

Earth system research is fundamental for the continued effectiveness of WMO. The Research Board serves as the primary conduit to engage the international research community in the work of WMO.

Research in weather, climate, water and related environmental and social sciences across all elements of the WMO value cycle are carried out by scientists in academic and research institutions, and other operational institutions, primarily, though not limited to, engagement with the WMO sponsored and co-sponsored Research Programmes. Research priorities are grounded in Member needs and informed through engagement with scientists, practitioners, policy makers, and civil society across regions and disciplines.

The role of the Research Board is to translate the strategic aims of WMO and the decisions of the Executive Council and Congress into overarching research priorities and to mobilize research internationally to achieve these priorities. This includes acting as a liaison between international scientific communities, WMO sponsored and co-sponsored Research Programmes, the Technical Commissions and other units of the WMO, and the Regional Associations. In this role, the Research Board will identify scientific and technological gaps, opportunities and synergies, support capacity recognition and development, and provide for coordination and exchange. In addition, the Research Board will coordinate with the Scientific Advisory Panel on the development of long-term strategy across the WMO research landscape. Research Board activities will thereby stimulate research and operational activities that are most critical for both the provision of services and knowledge support for solutions.
The Research Board shall ensure that: (i) all elements of the value cycle from discovery science to technological development to policy and decision-making are supported through research; (ii) WMO Member needs in science and technology are advanced; (iii) access of all Members to desired science, technology, software and data is facilitated; (iv) low- and middle-income countries are supported to increase their research and research translation capacities.

Terms of Reference

The Research Board shall fulfil its mandate through actions and decisions that address the following responsibilities:

1. Strategic planning and coordination

1.1. Identify critical research gaps, opportunities and priorities in support of the WMO mission.

1.2. Foster, coordinate and, where appropriate, oversee research to enhance Member capacity, with an emphasis on strengthening research and operational capabilities in least developed countries and small island developing states.

1.3. Appraise and ensure close cooperation between WMO sponsored and co-sponsored Research Programmes, supporting and informing the maintenance of an optimal balance between research initiatives, and promoting the synergies among them.

1.4. Identify opportunities for knowledge transfer and co-development between Research Programmes and Technical Commissions, operational centres, research communities, international organizations and negotiations, and others as appropriate.

1.5. Participate in all meetings and other activities of the Scientific Advisory Panel (SAP) to promote a common understanding and ensure close coordination.

1.6 When requested, evaluate SAP recommendations in order to provide guidance to EC and Congress on the feasibility in order to support decisions on planning and implementation by WMO constituent bodies.

1.7. Encourage and where appropriate, oversee mechanisms and opportunities to support researchers worldwide at every career stage and situation, with an emphasis on early career researchers and women in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and on fostering diversity.

1.8. Nominate Members of the Research Board as representatives of coordinating and decision-making bodies in WMO to support the effective exchange of ideas and views, and ensure responses and actions as needed.

1.9. Design and plan a research day, in coordination with the SAP, to be held as part of every WMO Congress.

2. Sponsored and Co-Sponsored Research Programmes:

2.1. Appraise technical support and infrastructure needs at frequent intervals to ensure effective and efficient implementation.

2.2. Report to Congress and the Executive Council on progress and outcomes from the Research Programmes.

2.3. Provide guidance and recommendations to research activities consistent with WMO strategic priorities and decisions of Congress and the Executive Council for the development of Strategic and Implementation Plans and milestone activities.

2.4. Make recommendations to Congress and the Executive Council on the Strategic and Implementation Plans.

2.5. Consult on, endorse and recommend scientific steering committee leadership as defined in sponsorship and co-sponsorship agreements.

2.6. Approve scientific steering committee membership as defined in sponsorship and co-sponsorship agreements.

3. Technical Commissions

3.1. Collaborate with the WMO Technical Commissions to develop and enhance codesign, value cycle innovation and science to services.

3.2. Co-identify opportunities to leverage infrastructure in operational settings to accelerate research and development priorities.

3.3. Support ongoing open communications to ensure knowledge transfer and co-development.

4. Regional Associations

4.1. Regularly assess innovations in value cycle activities in regions and among Members at frequent intervals to identify synergies for knowledge transfer and co-development.

4.2. Identify and support the priorities of Members, including those related to the support of scientific assessments and international conventions.

4.3. Identify and assess requirements for advanced training for researchers and practitioners in relevant disciplines to advance the continued effectiveness of the WMO and its Members.


The Research Board shall comprise experts in the natural and social sciences, engineering and technology. Board Members will be selected from the full range of recognized WMO Member experts, in order to make an effective use of the international scientific community encompassing Members’ collective expertise.
The Research Board shall be composed of 25 to 30 members active in the fields of weather, climate, water, ocean and related environmental and social sciences, taking into account geographic balance and reflecting the WMO gender mainstreaming policy, including:

(1) Chairs or Vice-Chairs of the currently active WMO sponsored and co-sponsored Research Programmes (initially three persons).

(2) Chair, Vice-Chair, or one Co-Chair of each subsidiary body of the Research Board

(3) Representatives from each of the Regional Associations (6)

(4) Representatives from each of the Technical Commissions (2).

(5) Representatives from other WMO coordination panels and other units as appropriate (maximum 3).

(6) Early Career scientists (minimum 1): 1 PhD candidates, Postdocs, active university students, and early career researchers within 7 years of receiving their highest degree in the Earth system sciences. If parental leave falls within the 7-year period, up to one year of parental leave time may be added per child

(7) Invited experts from the following categories as identified by the Board:

(a) Academia and research organizations, including National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs);

(b) World Meteorological Centres;

(c) Allied United Nations organizations and international organization partners;

(d) Scientific funding agencies;

(e) Private corporations;

(f) Developing, least developed countries and small island developing states;

(g) Co-sponsor representatives;

(8) Experts that fill gaps to align with the needs and interests of the WMO.

A Management Group shall be composed as follows:

(1) Chair and Vice-Chair.

(2) Chairs or Vice-Chairs of the Research Programmes.

(3) At least one representative selected by the Regional Association representatives, to rotate among Regions annually.

(4) One other Member of the Research Board, selected through consultation with all Board Members and considering all dimensions of representation within the scope of the Research Board.

Membership will be reviewed annually to ensure optimal composition and size. Invited experts will be solicited by open call for nominations, including self-nominations. All members shall be appointed by the WMO Executive Council on recommendation from the Chair of the Research Board following consultation with the Management Group and Permanent Representatives concerned. Except where acting as a representative, Research Board Members may not simultaneously serve on the SAP.

The Chair and Vice-Chair shall be elected from the Board membership. Research Programme Chairs and Vice-Chairs are not eligible to serve in this capacity. Terms of service shall be four years. For ex-officio members, Regional representatives, Research Programme Chairs or Vice-Chairs, and any other representative members, the term of service shall be based on that of their term of office. A maximum of two terms may be served contiguously.

Working Procedures

(1) The Research Board shall meet in person once per year, and virtually or in person as needed, following the principles for the Organization of face-to-face and virtual sessions as provided in Annex 2 to Decision 15 (EC-76).

(2) The Board shall ensure regional and gender balance and inclusiveness in all its structures and work plans.

(3) Decisions of the Research Board require a majority vote. A quorum is defined as 50% of members present. Attendance in person or virtually is considered equivalent for these purposes.

(4) The Management Group shall meet as needed, at least quarterly and in preparation for the annual Research Board meeting.

(5) The Secretariat will be responsible for the drafting of Board agendas, minutes, decisions and action items for review, and other reporting as appropriate.

(6) The Management Group is responsible for efficient action to maintain ongoing Board responsibilities.

(7) The Management Group shall meet with the staff of the Science and Innovation Department, in person or virtually, at least quarterly.

(8) The Management Group shall report on all of its activities and decisions to the full Research Board.

(9) The Research Board Chair and/or their representative shall meet with the presidents of the technical commissions and/or their representatives approximately every two months. Agendas for these meetings will rotate among the three bodies.

(10) The Research Board Chair or their representative shall serve or attend appropriate governing and decision bodies of the WMO, including the SAP, Technical Coordination Committee, the Policy Advisory Committee, the Executive Council and Congress.

(11) The Research Board Chair or their representative shall represent the Research Board at international forums as requested and practicable.

(12) The Research Board shall be supported exclusively by one full time Scientific Officer and other staff as needed, provided by the Secretariat. This staff member will also provide support to the Research Board Management Group, Chair and Vice-Chair.

Cover image by NOAA