University and Met Office partnership taken to a new level

An ambitious new agreement with the Met Office will strengthen the University’s position as a leading centre of atmospheric science.


In a Memorandum of Understanding signed by Vice-Chancellor Sir Alan Langlands and Met Office Chief Scientist Professor Dame Julia Slingo, the parties have set out the ground plan for future collaboration in the field of weather and climate science. 

Research teams from across the University – from Earth and Environment, Maths, Chemistry, Geography, Engineering and the Business School – will work with the Met Office.  The focus of their work will be to maximise the benefit of better weather forecasting and climate prediction for society and the economy. 

Vice-Chancellor Sir Alan Langlands said: “Weather and climate predictions deliver billions of pounds of socio-economic benefit to the UK. The Met Office and the University have an active and growing partnership at all levels from senior academic staff, through our early career fellows, to the education of the next generation of weather and climate scientists. We look forward to continuing to grow the reach of the partnership across the University, building on these strong foundations.” 

The Memorandum builds on Leeds’ existing membership of the Met Office Academic Partnership, a prestigious alliance of the Met Office and four UK universities: Leeds, Reading, Oxford and Exeter.  Through this Partnership we have already: 

  • initiated and led in significant new research programmes, including the Future Climate for Africa programme
  • established several joint posts, from postdoctoral to professorial level
  • hosted ten secondments of Met Office staff to Leeds
  • doubled the number of joint studentships to 20

Professor Dame Julia Slingo said: "I’m delighted that our partnership with the University of Leeds is being strengthened. This agreement will enable world-leading research from Leeds to join with ours at the Met Office to deliver real impact through operational improvements in Met Office forecasts, and services that provide such significant benefits to the UK and beyond. The Met Office cannot thrive without our science partnerships; they help us maintain our world-leading position so that we can provide all our customers with services based on the best science and information available."

The Memorandum comes at a time of significant developments in Leeds that will enable Met Office-facing research to thrive. The new Centre of Excellence for Modelling the Atmosphere and Climate will provide the numerical modelling capability and leadership that is vital to much of our collaboration. The new campus-wide Priestley International Centre for Climate will enable the Met Office partnership to engage with climate researchers across the University and scientists at the National Centre for Atmospheric Science (NCAS) provide links to nationally important research programmes.

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