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LAST NAME, first name MASSONNET, François
Citizenship Belgian
Date of birth 22nd of March, 1986
Marital status Married, two children
Work address Place Louis Pasteur 3, bte L4.03.08
Tel. (work) +32 10 47 33 04


Short bio

I am an Engineer in Applied Mathematics from the Université catholique de Louvain (2009). I obtained my PhD in Sciences in 2014 from UCLouvain. During my PhD, under the supervision of Profs T. Fichefet and H. Goosse, I developed various metrics to evaluate sea ice models used in the framework of climate reconstructions, predictions and projections. I participated as a contributing author to the IPCC WG1 AR5 and was involved in several national and international research projects about climate prediction and predictability. I also implemented data assimilation methods in large-scale sea ice models for state and parameter estimation.

In 2014, I started a F.R.S. -FNRS Postdoctoral fellowship as a scientific visitor at the Catalan Institute of Climate Sciences (Spain). My main collaborators there were Francisco Doblas-Reyes and Virginie Guemas. I focused my research on the prediction of climate at seasonal to interannual time scales using the European community climate model EC-Earth. In 2015, I obtained 2-yr Juan de la Cierva Formación grant from the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitivity. At the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC), I explored various aspects of seasonal-to-decadal polar and extra-polar prediction, including attribution of extreme events, improved initialization techniques, novel aspects of forecast verification and linkages of the Arctic system with lower latitudes. In particular, I implemented an ensemble coupled sea ice data assimilation method in the General Circulation Model EC-Earth for initialization of near-term predictions in both the Arctic and Antarctic regions.

I re-joined UCLouvain as a F.R.S.-FNRS Postdoctoral Researcher in 2017, and developed methods for process-oriented evaluation of climate models with focus on high latitudes.

Since 2018, I am holding a permanent position as F.R.S.-FNRS Research Associate at UCLouvain. My work is focused on the use and assessment of climate general circulation models for prediction at time scales from the month to the decade.

Research and publications

I authored or co-authored 46 publications from the peer-reviewed literature and co-authored one chapter book. I participated as a contributing author to the 5th assessment of the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report. I have given more than 60 poster or oral presentations at international conferences (invited 8 times, 3 keynotes). A detailed list of these publications is available here.


  • 2018-now: F.R.S.-FNRS Research Associate at Université catholique de Louvain
  • 2017-2018: F.R.S.-FNRS Post-Doctoral Researcher at Université Catholique de Louvain
  • 2015-2016: Juan de la Cierva Formación post-doctoral research fellow at the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC, Barcelona, Spain)
  • 2014-2015:  F.R.S.-FNRS Post-Doctoral Researcher at Université Catholique de Louvain , visiting the Institut Català de Ciències del Clima (Barcelona, Spain)
  • 2010 - 2014 :  F.R.S.-FNRS Research Fellow at Université Catholique de Louvain, Belgium
  • 2009 - 2010 : Teaching and research assistant at Université Catholique de Louvain, Belgium.
  • 2009: Master degree in Engineering, orientation Applied Mathematics at Université Catholique de Louvain, Belgium (La Plus Grande Distinction). Master thesis: Trafic autoroutier: analyse, gestion et stabilité au niveau microscopique. (supervisors: G. Bastin and G. Campion). Full text (french) or Short version (french).
  • 2007-2008: Exchange at the Simon Fraser University (Vancouver, Canada)
  • 2004: High school degree at Collège Saint-Michel, Bruxelles.

Scientific involvements

  • Leader of the SIPN South project
  • Member of the leadership Sea Ice MIP panel of CMIP6 
  • Work package leader in the APPLICATE H2020 EU project, scientific involvement in the PRIMAVERA H2020 project
  • PI for UCL in the SQUARE4ECVs contract (Copernicus Climate Change services)
  • Co-convener of the SCAR Open Science Conference session "Antarctica in a Global System" (August 2016)
  • Co-convener of the IUGG General Assembly session "Evaluation of the Cryosphere in CMIP5 models" (June 2015)
  • CliC fellow for the Year of Polar Prediction
  • Belgian National representative of the SOOS and SORP projects.
  • Member of the Southern Ocean Regional Panel (SORP) of the WCRP/CLIVAR/CLiC project.
  • Member of the Sea Ice Prediction Network (SIPN) Sea ice Outlook team. (See contributions here and here)
  • Contributing author to the IPCC AR5 (Chapter 12, Long-term projections)

Awards and recognition

  • Admitted to Step 2 of ERC Starting Grant (not selected for final funding) (2019)
  • EGU Arne Richter Award for Outstanding Early Career Scientists (2020)
  • UCLouvain Fonds Spéciaux de Recherche (37 k€, declined) (2019)
  • 247 k€ through the EU Copernicus service C3S_511 (2017)
  • Severo Ochoa travel Grant (1200 €) for scientific stay at the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC-ES) in November 2017
  • 2.2 million CPU hours on MareNostrum3 (BSC-ES Supercomputer) for project on sea ice data assimilation (2016)
  • ResClim Summer School Best Poster Award (2011)
  • WCRP Open Science Conference Best Poster Award (2011)
  • APECS third prize ($50) for presentation on data assimilation in the “New Perspectives in the Polar Sciences” conference (March 2015)
  • F.R.S.-FNRS Research Fellowship (4 years of full salary)
  • F.R.S.-FNRS Post-Doctoral Fellowship (3 years of full salary)
  • Juan de la Cierva Formación Postdoctoral Fellowship (2 years of full salary, declined 1)
  • Travel and housing grant for the 2011 International ResClim 15-day summer school in Longyearbyen, Norway
  • Travel grant for the 2014 International IGS Symposium in Hobart, Australia
  • Travel grant for the 2014 Arctic sea ice Prediction workshop in Boulder, USA
  • Travel grant for the 2015 workshop on High Latitude Dynamics in Rosendal, Norway.

Supervision experience

I have supervised or co-supervised 7 MSc theses, two PhD students: Jean Sterlin and Steve Delhaye (UCLouvain), two post-docs (Arun Rana and Xia Lin).

Teaching experience 

  • 2019-2020 LGCIV2056: Marine Hydrodynamics

  • 2019-2022 LPHYS2163: Atmosphere and Ocean: Physics and Dynamics

  • 2019-2022 LPHYS2268: Forecast, prediction and projection in climate science

  • 2017-2018 Applied exercices in Physics (LPHY1212)

  • 2009-2014 Teaching Assistant in Physics, 1st year classes

  • LPHY2153: Introduction to Climate Modelling

  • LPHY1212: Exercices intégrés et data processing

  • PHY1113: Physique générale

  • FSAB 1202: Electromagnétisme et mécanique (partie mécanique)

  • FSAB 1101: Mathématiques 1

Language Skills

Mother tongue: French; fluent in English (EU level: C1) and Dutch (B2); notions in Spanish.


  • Tennis, soccer, cycling, running (3 marathons)
  • Piano, photography, cooking.

2019-2020       LGCIV2056: Marine Hydrodynamics

2019-2022       LPHYS2163: Atmosphere and Ocean: Physics and Dynamics

2019-2022       LPHYS2268: Forecast, prediction and projection in climate science

2017-2018       Applied exercices in Physics (LPHY1212)

2009-2014       Teaching Assistant in Physics, 1st year classes


Earth & Climate

Sciences and Technology


Place Louis Pasteur 3, mailbox L4.03.08,
1348, Louvain-la-Neuve