Site Reliability Engineer
Location:EMBL-EBI Hinxton near Cambridge, UK
Staff Category:Staff member
Contract Duration:3 years initially (renewable)
Grading:5 or 6 (monthly salary starting at £2,552 or £2,855 after tax). For more information about pay and benefits click here
Closing Date:8th April 2018
Reference Number:EBI_01166

Job Description

We are looking to recruit an enthusiastic, highly motivated Site Reliability Engineer to work at the European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI) located on the Wellcome Genome Campus near Cambridge in the UK.

The successful candidate will join the Software Development and Operations team (SDO) at EMBL-EBI which is responsible for bringing new technology into the EBI to improve the service provided to internal and external users and projects.

The SDO team is defining, building and delivering new services that will benefit both our internal users and the external scientific community. This role will be part of a team of DevOps engineers, who are responsible for building environments for:

  • Support of file transfer services including GridFTP, Aspera, Globus, FTP, HTTP and rsync.
  • A Continuous Integration and Deployment environment for our public web services to provide cloud portable applications.
  • Deploying, integrating and operating a scalable and resilient web service hosting environment for our public services in collaboration with other teams within TSC.
  • Maintenance and operation of internally and externally developed software as required.

The Site Reliability Engineer position will contribute directly to one or more of these projects and will help us move to more automation of the production environment.

The 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.

Qualifications and Experience

You will have a Bachelor's degree or higher in computer science or a related discipline, or have equivalent experience. The role would be suitable for a Unix/Linux systems administrator with some software engineering background.

As the role will involve liaising with different groups and users, it is essential that you have excellent communication, both written and verbal, and interpersonal skills in the English language. You should be able to pay attention to detail, demonstrate solid problem solving skills and have an experience and ability of working to deadlines. You will also demonstrate innovation and a willingness to take on new challenges.

You will have at least three years’ experience in a similar role, including successful deployment and maintenance of core services. In addition, you will have demonstrated experience of working 'full stack', integrating multiple open source tools to deploy web applications or other services in an academic or commercial setting. Experience in operating and resolving problems in open-source software and contributing development fixes back to the community would be a distinct advantage.

Required skills and experience include:

  • Experience in open-source software development (i.e. a variety of languages and version control systems) and in systems administration of open source software
  • Experience with automated deployment/configuration methods (e.g. Ansible, Puppet)
  • Experience with VM and/or container deployment in public or private cloud environments

Desired skills include:

  • Experience with large scale computing, storage or cloud infrastructures (e.g. HPC/HTC clusters)
  • Experience in Python
  • Experience evaluating open-source software and its subsequent integration to a production system
  • Experience in communicating and working with expert users (e.g. in a science community)


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 for interview.

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 is for 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.