Software Engineer
Location: EMBL-EBI, Hinxton near Cambridge, UK
Staff Category: Staff Member
Contract Duration: 2 years
Grading: 5-6 (monthly salary starting at £2,676.73 - £2,994.54 after tax)
Closing Date: 8 January 2020
Reference Number: EBI01560
The Samples, Phenotypes and Ontologies Team are looking for an enthusiastic and highly motivated software developer to work on the GWAS Catalog project (

The GWAS Catalog is a manually curated, high-quality repository of all published genome-wide association studies and has been running since 2008. It is considered the “go-to” resource for looking up findings relating human genotype to phenotype associations. GWAS studies give scientists insight into the association between small variations in the human genome, and biological traits, phenotypes or diseases.

The GWAS catalog is responsible for collecting these data and making them Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable (FAIR) so they can be served back to the community for analysis and discovery.  We’re looking for an experienced software developer to join the GWAS Catalog development team and help take our infrastructure to the next level.  You’ll be working on the full software stack as a DevOps engineer and have the opportunity to influence the design and development of the system to meet future challenges in this exciting are of genomic science.

You should be a strong Java programmer who is excited and interested by complex data integration and presentation problems. You’ll need to be flexible enough to learn new languages to find the right tool for the right problem.  You’ll be responsible for the development and maintenance of the GWAS Catalog software using a variety of tools, frameworks and technologies, including Spring, Thymeleaf and Bootstrap.  You should also be keen to advance your knowledge of the latest industry standard toolkits to help continuously innovate the Catalog.  You should be enthusiastic about full-stack development, as you’ll be expected to develop, test and deploy tools from database to user interface.

Your role

Key responsibilities of this post are:
  • Developing and maintaining NHGRI-EBI GWAS Catalog software using a combination of technologies;
  • Developing new applications to complement and replace the existing NHGRI-EBI GWAS Catalog infrastructure—this might include developing a new curation interface, or building a pipeline for mapping GWAS data to other genomic resources like Ensembl or dbGaP;
  • Liaising with users to gather requirements and translating these into technical specifications and test plans;
  • Work as part of a team that follows the Agile model of software development involving sprints in which user requirements are prioritised via issue tracking software;
  • Configure and deploy software using version control and continuous integration tools;
  • Investigating new technologies which could be utilised in NHGRI-EBI GWAS Catalog development and within the wider SPOT team;
  • Representing the SPOT/NHGRI-EBI GWAS team at meetings and conferences of both a biological and technical nature held with collaborators and by external organisations;
  • Understand the role of ontologies and semantic web technologies in order to develop applications capable of semantically enriching the raw GWAS data by annotation to ontologies.

You have

The ideal candidate will hold degrees in either computer science or bioinformatics and have at least 2 years’ experience developing software and contributing to a production system or service.

You must be an experienced Java programmer and you’ll need to be able to demonstrate a good understanding of all aspects of full stack development, including SQL, Web MVC, Javascript and HTML.  We’re also moving our infrastructure towards cloud-based environments so experience of containerisation with Docker and deployment in Kubernetes on different cloud environments would be a distinct advantage. You should have experience of software development processes and be comfortable using Git-like workflows and Continuous Integration/Deployment (CI/CD) strategies.

You might also have

Previous experience with NoSQL databases such as MongoDB, Neo4j, Solr, or Elastic search is also desirable.  Prior experience of working with ontologies or semantic web technology is not required but would be an advantage.

Why join us

At EMBL-EBI, we help scientists realise the potential of ‘big data’ in biology by enabling them to exploit complex information to make discoveries that benefit mankind. Working for EMBL-EBI gives you an opportunity to apply your skills and energy for the greater good. As part of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), we are a non-profit, intergovernmental organisation funded by over 27 member states and two associate member states. We are located on the Wellcome Genome Campus near Cambridge in the UK, and our 600 staff are engineers, technicians, scientists and other professionals from all over the world.

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. For more information about pay and benefits click here

What else you need to know

To view a copy of the full job description please click here

To apply please submit a covering letter and CV through our online system.

Applications are welcome from all nationalities and this will continue after Brexit. For more information please see our website. 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.

This position is limited to the project duration specified.

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