Scientific modeler for project E-TREND

The Royal Meteorological Institute of Belgium (RMI) is hiring a researcher to carry out a PhD study in the context of a new project E-TREND.

E-TREND stands for “Extensible Tools for Renewable ENergy Decision making" and is funded by the Belgian Science Policy Office (BELSPO). E-TREND will integrate current expertise and pioneer new research and development in meteorological forecasting and regional climate projections for renewable energy sources in Belgium. E-TREND research will be carried out within a consortium consisting of groups in Imec, KU Leuven, RMI and UAntwerp, combining relevant expertise in wind energy modeling, photovoltaic (PV) energy modeling, machine learning, numerical weather prediction (NWP) and climate modeling. The project will run for four years, until mid-2026.



The increase of renewable energy sources has been committed to by the Belgian Government in different national and international agreements, such as the Paris Agreement and the revised renewable energy directive 2018, which fits into the European efforts to enable a faster transition to a net-zero emissions EU economy by 2050. To allow for better-informed decision making in the context of adaptation and mitigation, E-TREND will focus on improving the predictability of renewable energy production, both in the context of meteorological forecasting and regional climate projections.

Weather and climate play an important role in renewable energy generation. Various models for renewable energy generation have been developed in Belgian federal scientific institutes and universities. The objective of E-TREND is to investigate the integration of such models into a forecasting chain and to answer the research questions that arise. Apart from the integration of current best models and practices, research into topics beyond the state-of-the-art will be performed. This includes improved uncertainty quantification through the use of ensemble forecasts, statistical post-processing based on machine learning (ML), coupling of weather models to a Wind-Farm Atmospheric Perturbation Model, and improved nowcasting of solar irradiance for PV production, based on satellite data. Involvement of stakeholders in the energy sector will help drive the research and development choices, with the aim of developing scientific methods and tools that improve their decision-making processes for operations and planning.


Job function

You will perform verification of weather forecasts and climate projections for Belgium using various available deterministic and probabilistic (ensemble) models and provide the necessary meteorological data to other E-TREND consortium members, while also providing technical advice and assistance. These tasks require technical skills, but you will be guided by the members of the RMI climate modeling and NWP teams. You will perform research into topics such as statistical post-processing of wind forecasts to improve offshore wind energy modeling, development of short-term radiation forecasts for improved PV energy modeling, the effects of climate change on events that disrupt energy production, and bias correction of ensemble climate projections. Finally, you will be involved in the development of demonstration cases with stakeholders, with the aim of  demonstrating the link between improved forecasts and the impact on the renewable energy industry and market.


The results will be published in international peer-reviewed journals and communicated at workshops and conferences. The tasks will be performed in close collaboration with the E-TREND project partners. You will work in a team consisting of the staff of the partner institutes and in close collaboration with two other PhD students at KU Leuven and UAntwerp.


Gender equality & gender mainstreaming

In February 2022, the RMI adopted a Gender Equality Plan (GEP). This is an action plan to promote gender equality and gender mainstreaming within the RMI. Through this GEP, the RMI commits itself in a formal and/or substantial way to contribute to the realization of gender equality through efforts on two fronts: internally at the level of the Institute and externally through increased cooperation and exchanges with BELSPO and the other Federal Scientific Institutes. Moreover, the implementation of a GEP is an important criterion when submitting national and international research projects.

The actions of this plan will be evaluated and adapted on a yearly basis, so that the dynamics created can continuously evolve. The RMI is proud to be able to build a professional and scientific environment that is increasingly inclusive and responsive to today's societal challenges.


Required competences

You have:

- a master's degree in science (mathematics, physics or geoscience), civil engineering or bioengineering;

- a good knowledge of meteorology and climatology;

- a good knowledge of English and proficient writing skills;

- the ability to work within a team and to communicate research results at the national and international level;

- experience with programming and scripting in Python, R or a similar language;

- experience with visualization and statistical data analysis.

The following skills are considered a plus:

- experience with handling weather and climate model data;

- experience with forecast verification;

- experience with programming in a compiled language such FORTRAN, c, c++ ;

- knowledge of machine learning and experience with software packages for AI/ML such as PyTorch, TensorFlow and Keras.


We offer

- A contract at the level of SW1 of the Federal Belgian Scientific career during the span of the project.

- Possibility to obtain a PhD degree at the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Ghent.

- You will work at the RMI. You can find more information on working at RMI here.



If you are interested in this position, please send a motivation letter and Curriculum Vitae by email to Béatrice Libioulle (, before November 14, 2022, and mentioning in the subject of the email the acronym of the project (E-TREND). Additional information can also be requested from Joris Van den Bergh (

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