The University of Reading is to build a new home for the European Centre for Medium-range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) at its Whiteknight campus.

The ECMWF, currently in Shinfield Road, is to move to a new state-of-the-art, energy efficient building next to the university’s department of meteorology.

It will house ECMWF’s head offices and its forecasting, research and training functions and means that, along with the university’s department of meteorology, parts of the UK Met Office, NERC National Centre for Atmospheric Sciences and NERC National Centre for Earth Observation, the university will have the world’s largest cluster of weather and climate scientists.

UK Science Minister George Freeman said: “UK scientists in the British Antarctic Survey discovered the hole in the ozone layer and we are now leading in the science of climate mitigation.

“We want the UK to lead in climate research and are proud to continue to host the ECMWF headquarters at the University of Reading. By investing in this crucial cluster, we are using UK science for global good to understand our climate and help us build back better from the pandemic.

“The UK and the ECMWF have worked hand in hand for well over four decades and we look forward to continuing our work with them at the highest levels of weather and climate science.”

Prof Robert Van de Noort, vice-chancellor of the university, said: “ECMWF and the university have worked closely together on cutting-edge science for decades, and have become known as leading institutions in the fields of weather and climate.

“I am thrilled that, through agreement between the UK Government and ECMWF, we will be able to build on this success at a time when a greater scientific understanding of the Earth’s changing weather and its impacts is more important than ever.”

The new building will be funded by the Government through the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

The site, close to the Earley Gate entrance to the campus, is currently home to Reading School of Art which will be moved to a site in and around the Polly Vacher Building.

Images (above and below) are CGIs of the new building.

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