Branka Ivančan-Picek

Branka Ivančan-Picek

Director of the Croatian Meteorological and Hydrological Service and Permanent Representative of Croatia with WMO

“Hard work is the most important key to success. Achievements without hard work are impossible (…) Success should not depend on what gender you have.”


Dr Branka Ivančan-Picek has worked for 40 years in the field of meteorology. She is the Director of the Croatian Meteorological and Hydrological Service and the first female Permanent Representative of Croatia with WMO. Dr Ivančan-Picek is also a member of the Croatian Meteorogical Society and of the editorial board of the Croatian Meteorological Journal. Since 2002 she has been an accredited member of the WMO Commission for Atmospheric Sciences. The results of her research focused on mesoscale dynamics and modelling have been important for weather diagnostics and forecasting, particularly within extreme occurrences, which is vital for their early and timely notification in the alert system. She has over 70 publications and papers. She mentors graduate and PhD students, and participates in numerous national and international projects, such as the Storms and Natural Hazards in Croatia Project and the EU-CIRCLE HORIZON2020 project, a pan-European framework for strengthening critical infrastructure resilience to climate change.

Why meteorology?

During her school years, Dr Ivančan-Picek loved mathematics, physics and environmental science. Between theory and its application, she was always more interested in practical, real-world topics. Meteorology offered everything she valued. She pursued her studies by completing a PhD at the Faculty of Science, University of Zagreb, focused on the Adriatic atmospheric mesoscale vortex generation.

Overcoming challenges

The main challenge for Dr Ivančan-Picek was to balance her work responsibilities and family life in bringing up two successful daughters. Family support helped her feel more secure and comfortable. She believes that work-life balance involves compromise and commitment.

Advice to young female scientists.

“Investing enough energy in work, you start believing in yourself more, you are sure that you’ll succeed, and you don’t need support from others and no one can put you down anymore. Failures sometimes make part of the journey to success, but you should try again and this will get you closer to your goal.”

Interviewed in April 2019