Ensembl Applications Project Leader

We’re looking for a manager to head software development and web applications in Ensembl. We’re looking for MScs or PhDs Computational, Physical or Biological Sciences, with experience developing web applications. Closes 31st July.

Location: EMBL-EBI Hinxton near Cambridge, UK
Staff Category: Staff member
Contract Duration: 3 years initially (renewable)
Grading: 6 or 7 (monthly salary starting at £2,856 or £3250 after tax). For more information about pay and benefits click here
Closing Date: 31 July 2018
Reference Number: EBI_01253

Job Description

EMBL-EBI seeks an enthusiastic Project Leader to head the software development and maintenance of web applications around the Ensembl databases and services.

The Ensembl project maintains a number of authoritative databases in the world of biology that describe genome sequences and their functional units, such as genes, variants or regulatory regions. Alongside the main Ensembl databases and website are a number of web services that address specific use cases such as RESTful access to the data, storing and comparing annotations across releases, or registering third party datasets that can be rendered on the website. You will help lead this group and the development of these tools, in particular:

  • Liaise with users, stakeholders and collaborators to understand their needs and formulate technical specifications
  • Participate in the design of new services
  • Guide & mentor the team during development
  • Pilot projects to ensure timely delivery
  • Participate in Ensembl management to ensure development efforts are coordinated across teams
  • Line manage 3-5 developers
  • Initiate and continuously contribute to development processes and good practices

Within EMBL-EBI, you will work within the greater Ensembl project (led by Paul Flicek) as part of the Genome Analysis team (led by Daniel Zerbino).

EMBL-EBI is part of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) and it is a world-leading bioinformatics centre providing biological data to the scientific community with expertise in data storage, analysis and representation. EMBL-EBI provides freely available data from life science experiments, performs basic research in computational biology and offers an extensive user training programme, supporting researchers in academic and industry. We have close ties with both the University of Cambridge and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute.

Qualifications and Experience

You will have an MSc, PhD or equivalent degrees in Computational, Physical or Biological Sciences, or equivalent experience in a computational research or software engineering environment. 5+ years of developing high-quality or production web applications is also required along with experience in software development and full fluency in one or more of:

  • Good general knowledge of IT infrastructure – networking/hardware/storage
  • Good working knowledge of data management and database technologies
  • Linux environment
  • Collaborative development tools (JIRA, Git etc.)

The ideal candidate must have proven experience in:

  • Communicating and working with expert technical users (e.g. in a science community);
  • Working with large datasets, preferably in a distributed environment
  • Managing software project development, deployment, or integration
  • Developing APIs, and working with RESTful APIs

If possible, we would strongly prefer experience in:

  • Managing others in a technology-related environment
  • Working in large scientific projects, especially in the field of genomics.

Although the job has a clear technical component, the key attributes sought are the ability to work in a team, and to communicate both biological and computational ideas to biologists and programmers (orally and in writing) to help define the direction of the project. The Ensembl project encompasses approximately 90 people, and the Project Leader will have to be organized in order to meet our regular deadlines, reports and procedures.


EMBL is an inclusive, equal opportunity employer offering attractive conditions and benefits appropriate to an international research organisation. The remuneration package comprises a competitive salary, a comprehensive pension scheme and health insurance, educational and other family related benefits where applicable, as well as financial support for relocation and installation.

We have an informal culture, international working environment and excellent professional development opportunities but one of the really amazing things about us is the concentration of technical and scientific expertise – something you probably won’t find anywhere else.

If you’ve ever visited the campus you’ll have experienced first-hand our friendly, collegial and supportive atmosphere, set in the beautiful Cambridgeshire countryside. Our staff also enjoy excellent sports facilities including a gym, a free shuttle bus, an on-site nursery, cafés and restaurant and a library.

Application Instructions

To apply please submit a covering letter and CV, with two referees, through our online system.

Additional Information

Applications are welcome from all nationalities – visa information will be discussed in more depth with applicants selected forinterview.

EMBL-EBI is committed to achieving gender balance and strongly encourages applications from women, who are currently under-represented at all levels. Appointment will be based on merit alone.

The initial contract isfor a period of three years with the possibility of a fixed-term extension.

Applications will close at 23:00 GMT on the date listed above.

It is envisaged that interviews will take place in the week commencing 13.08.2018

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