The WCRP Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP) is extraordinarily successful. It has expanded greatly and its future success depends on how well we support and promote it. This call is for a dedicated project office to support CMIP activities and its overall coordination.

Please see below the details of the call (deadline for submission: 15  September 2020*), which can also be downloaded:


PDF symbolCall for proposals to host a CMIP International Project Office (CMIP-IPO) (94KB)


* The deadline has been extended from 31 August 2020 to 15 September 2020

Call details:

Through the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP), the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP) was initiated in 1995 and since then supports the international WCRP community in its objective to understand past, present and future climate changes arising from natural, unforced variability or in response to changes in radiative forcing in a multi-model context.

The WCRP coordinates international research on the development and improvement of global climate and Earth system models, and amongst many other activities oversees the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP) under the auspices of the WCRP Working Group on Coupled Modelling (WGCM).

CMIP focusses on the assessments of climate model performances during the historical period and quantifications of the causes of the spread in future projections. Idealized experiments are also used to increase understanding of the model responses. In addition to these long time scale responses, experiments are performed to investigate the predictability of the climate system on various time and space scales as well as making predictions from observed climate states. (

All CMIP activities are overseen by a coordinated pair of subcommittees: the CMIP Panel and the WGCM Infrastructure Panel (WIP).  The CMIP Panel works with those organizing various focused model intercomparisons to integrate them with the set of standard CMIP experiments to forge a synergistic experiment design for each new phase of CMIP. The WIP promotes coordinated development of infrastructure needed to support CMIP, most notably the archiving and serving of CMIP data.

A sequence of CMIP phases have underpinned and enabled a parallel sequence of IPCC Assessment Reports resulting in specific IPCC acknowledgement: “The IPCC's Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) relies heavily on the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project, Phase 5 (CMIP5), a collaborative climate modelling process coordinated by the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP).” The CMIP process represents a remarkable technical and scientific coordination effort across climate modelling centers involving thousands of researchers worldwide.

Today CMIP, in its 6th phase, involves more than 40 climate modelling centers from over 20 countries, supports approximately 300 separate experiments, and over 10 Pb of curated data openly distributed through the Earth System Grid Federation.

The growing use of CMIP products, not only by a broad sector of the research community, but also by national and international climate assessments as well as by policy processes such as UNFCCC, climate services and the private sector, means that the coordination of CMIP activities to provide timely and quality-controlled model output and analysis is more important than ever.

Although CMIP has been extraordinarily successful, and has leveraged a large investment from individual countries through researchers and high-performance computing, it has now expanded to a point where coordination of its elements require dedicated secretariat support beyond what the WCRP Joint Planning Staff (JPS) is able to provide. CMIP relies on the ad-hoc and voluntary participation and organization by scientists and software engineers from climate modelling centers. The future success of CMIP depends on how emerging challenges can be addressed such as improved and sustained institutional support, the systematic and timely development, up dating and quality control of forcing datasets for historical simulations and future projections, as well as a more robust infrastructure, so that the primary simulations that support national and international assessments can be regularly delivered and quality controlled. In addition oversight and maintenance of the data standards, documentation and software capabilities need to be strengthened to enable this collaborative international enterprise. In order to organize and promote community engagement a dedicated project office is needed to support CMIP activities with appropriate organizational, coordination, communication, and dissemination functions, as well as technical and scientific support. The CMIP project office would closely work with the WCPR JPS to support the overall governance including WGCM, WIP, the CMIP Panel and its infrastructure.

Organizations submitting a Proposal to host a CMIP-IPO must fulfill the requirements outlined below and have the qualifications to cover the Terms of Reference detailed in ANNEX 1:

  • Willingness and ability to host an international project office providing secretariat, administrative, financial, technical and scientific support to CMIP
  • Strong ability to actively engage in coordination and planning of CMIP activities under the scientific guidance of the WGCM, CMIP Panel and WIP
  • Experience in managing large-scale research programmes/projects is desired
  • Demonstrated capacity to enable effective collaboration and international research exchange
  • Experience with engaging a broad range of stakeholder groups (e.g., academia, funders, governments, international organizations, the private sector and other sectors of the civil society)
  • Ability to attract high level candidates for the post of Director through open, international recruitment, in consultation and mutual approval with the  WCRP Joint Scientific Committee. The recruitment of other office staff will be delegated to the Project Office once the Director is selected   
  • Commitment to support the Project office for 5 years. And the ability to secure funding to support additional operations and activities
  • Capacity for future expansion of the Project Office
  • Willingness to coordinate activities with those of other WCRP core and other major projects
  • Ability to provide office space for an operational secretariat
  • Capacity to organize virtual and physical meetings and make travel arrangements for participants

All proposals must be backed by a commitment for at least five years to include the following:

  • Director, one Programme Officer and one Science/Communication Officer positions (3 full-time equivalent)
  • Dedicated administrative support for the office
  • Associated office space and necessary facilities and operating costs
  • Activity budget to support CMIP (meetings, travel, communication and outreach, etc), currently estimated at 60K CHF per year

Equivalent combinations of personnel and financial resources are allowed to a certain extent. Offers beyond the above requirements, such as additional staffing, additional activity funds and longer commitments will considerably enhance the chances of final selection.

We will also give full consideration to proposals which meet the above requirements partially or which have not yet received a complete funding commitment by the deadline, but this shall be clearly stated in the proposal and will be evaluated accordingly. We recommend proposers to provide regular updates on progress of pending funding commitments after the submission.

Similarly, we realize that the COVID-19 pandemic may affect the timeline of submission of proposals. In case the above deadline cannot be met, we invite proposers to inform the WCRP Secretariat (see contact details below) before the deadline.

All financial amounts shall be expressed in local currencies (or CHF or USD equivalents at the time of submission with a clear indication of exchange rates applied) and include all applicable taxes.

WCRP will establish a Selection Committee to assess the Proposals with due consideration of any potential conflicts of interest. The Selection Committee will be chaired by the WCRP JSC Chair and will include Co-chairs of WGCM, the CMIP Panel Chair and Incoming Co-chair, the WIP Co-chairs and the WCRP Joint Planning Staff representative.

Proposals must remain valid for a period of at least 180 days after the submission deadline.

The Selection Committee might come back to individual proponents for clarification questions and/or confirmations of commitments during the selection process. If a proposal is ultimately accepted, detailed terms of the contract will be negotiated with the selected host institution and will be established through a Memorandum of Understanding between the host institution and the World Meteorological Organization.

Milestone Deadline
Call for Proposals 20 April 2020
Submission deadline 15 September 2020
Enquiries, negotiation, and notification of selection 30 September 2020
Expected start of the CMIP Project Office 15 January 2021

Proposals may still be accepted after the deadline, but we advise those proposers to inform the WCRP JPS at their earliest convenience. Late bids will be treated on a case-by-case basis at the sole discretion of the Selection Committee.

A submitting organization may withdraw its proposal by sending a written notification.

Proposals shall address all points in ANNEX 2 and be forwarded by email as a single pdf document. The size of the document shall not exceed 15 Mb nor 20 pages.

Additional supporting materials, brochures, letters of endorsement, etc. may be forwarded in separate emails in the same way.

  1. The CMIP-IPO consists of a Director, qualified professional(s) and support staff. Subject to the overall strategic and implementation directives of the WCRP Joint Scientific Committee (JSC), the CMIP-IPO works in close cooperation and liaison with the WCRP Joint Planning Staff (JPS) in Geneva.
  2. The CMIP-IPO is located in ##### (city, country) and hosted by ##### (institution).
  3. The Director of CMIP-IPO shall report to WGCM for the overall coupled modeling governance, the CMIP Panel for the experimental design and associated requirements, and the WIP for infrastructure matters.
  4. The Director of CMIP-IPO shall report to its host institution for administrative matters.
  5. The primary function of the CMIP-IPO is to provide overall support to planning and implementation of CMIP priorities, infrastructure and overall governance, to ensure appropriate international coordination and communication between the CMIP components, participating modelling groups and Model Intercomparison Projects (MIPs), and collaboration with related WCRP and other international programmes.
  6. In close consultation with the above governing bodies, the CMIP-IPO will take due consideration of the outcomes of CMIP planning meetings to develop and coordinate the implementation of future CMIP experimental designs.
  7. The CMIP-IPO supports the work of the WGCM, the CMIP Panel and the WIP with coordination, organizational, communication, and dissemination aspects of CMIP. This includes the following responsibilities:
    1. To provide secretariat, administrative, financial, technical and scientific support to those bodies;
    2. To work with those bodies on the coordination and planning of CMIP, in close liaison with - and due consideration of - existing and future elements of the CMIP structure and contributors;
    3. To lead the logistical organization of relevant sessions, meetings, workshops, conferences, training sessions, teleconferences and other activities relevant to CMIP, including regular CMIP analysis workshops;
    4. To prepare corresponding reports, correspondence and publications;
    5. To coordinate associated communication and outreach, including newsletters;
    6. To provide oversight, update maintenance of associated web pages;
    7. To assist in mobilizing funds for CMIP activities;
    8. To secure resources for CMIP-IPO staff and operations;
    9. To promote recruiting secondments to join the CMIP-IPO;
    10. To manage a process supporting fundamental CMIP activities such as the development and update of forcing datasets, the data request, the data delivery, model documentation, citation services and quantification of impact, the infrastructure design, data protocols and standards, quality assurance, errata and metrics;
    11. To promote the development and availability of model metrics and diagnostics, reference data sets (e.g. climate data records and reanalyses), observations simulators, etc.
  1. Cover page with full name and contact details of legal representative of organization submitting the proposal (1 page)
  2. Executive summary (max 1 page)
  3. Vision and strategy for the CMIP Project Office (max 1 page) – 10%
  4. Host institution (max 3 pages) – 20%
    1. Full address
    2. Duration of commitment
    3. Employees benefits (work permits for foreigners, taxation, wages, health coverage, etc)
    4. Administrative capacity to run the office
    5. Area and number of offices
    6. Meeting rooms (area, capacity, teleconference)
    7. Catering service and/or nearby restaurants
    8. Visitor’s support (travel, accommodation, visa, local transport, help-desk)
    9. IT (hardware, software, internet bandwidth, web site, conference call tools)
    10. Accommodation options nearby (location, rooms, average cost and negotiated rates)
    11. Transport (International access, local transports)
  5. CMIP relevance of the host institution (max 2 pages) - 10%
    1. Experience of current CMIP activities
    2. Experience in managing large science programmes
    3. Local ecosystem relevance
    4. Potential to contribute to CMIP outreach
  6. Benefits for the host institution (max 2 pages) - 10%
    1. International exposure
    2. Scientific added-value
    3. Financial leveraging potential
    4. Partnerships
  7. Staffing plan commitment (max 3 pages) - 30%
    1. Director, programme officer, science communication officer and any other staff
    2. Dedicated or in-kind administrative support
    3. Seconded experts (full-time equivalent, expertise, role)
    4. Fluency in English and other WMO languages (well, moderate, poor)
  8. Operating funding commitment (max 3 pages) - 20%
    1. Annual budget for office facilities and operations
    2. Annual budget for CMIP activities (meetings and travel - including office staff)
  9. Free section with relevant material (4 pages)

Q1 : What type of organizations are you targeting?

A1: There are not constraints on the type of organizations being targeted. We welcome offers from all kinds of institutions, including NMHSs, research centers, universities, etc. We have developed a set of selection criteria (such as the relevance of the host institution to CMIP, resources being proposed, etc) with corresponding scoring, as we will consider multiple aspects beyond the hosting institution itself.

Q2: Does the office have to be located in a single institution or could it have some distributed organization?

A2: There is nothing which prevents a distributed organization of the office, as long as roles, responsibilities and overall accountability are clearly identified. In light of lessons learned from COVID-19, we are also open to explore ‘remote offices’ options in that context.

Q3: If my institution is not able to meet all requirements, is there still a way we can contribute?

A3: Yes, your institution could, for example, be part of a distributed office set up with clearly identified responsibilities. We will be happy to put you in contact with other proposers, as appropriate, to explore such options.

Q4: I have heard that WCRP is currently developing plans for a revised structure of the Programme. What implications would this have for the organization and governance of CMIP in the future?

A4: Yes, WCRP is currently developing its new Implementation Plan and associated Programme structure, which could imply possibly some organizational and/or governance changes for CMIP. More details can be found on the WCRP JSC-41 session webpages (see, in particular, this presentation). The call for proposals to host the CMIP Office was published in April, i.e. before the JSC-41 session held in May. Any agreement with the selected host institution would be adjusted to reflect these possible changes.

Q5: Do the staff of the CMIP Project Office need to have UN/WMO status and employment benefits? 

A5: This is not a requirement of the call and feasibility for such arrangements would have to be examined on a case-by-case basis (location in particular). More generally, anything making those office positions internally attractive can definitely strengthen the proposal. 

Q6: Does the selected office need to be hosted in a single physical place or is there a possibility for a distributed setup? 

A6: There is no requirement for the office to be located at a single physical location. Distributed organizations could be envisaged, as long as role and responsibilities of respective entities and/or staff are clearly identified. We invite proposers to state in their proposal their eventual plans, or readiness to be part of such distributed arrangements, should this be the case. We also realize that in the current global circumstances, teleworking is becoming the norm somewhat, resulting in de facto distributed arrangements. 

Communication and enquiries related to this call

All communication, material and enquiries regarding this call shall be directed in English to the WCRP Joint Planning Staff (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.). Unless stated otherwise, enquiries and replies will be posted publicly on the call web page for the benefit of all interested parties.

Thank you for your interest in WCRP and CMIP!