Legal Officer
Location: EMBL-EBI, Hinxton near Cambridge, UK
Staff Category: Staff Member
Contract Duration: 3 years (renewable to a maximum of 9 years)
Grading: Grade 5 or 6 (Starting from £2,738 or £3,063 per month after tax)
Closing Date: 17 March 2021
Reference Number: EBI01778
We are looking for two Legal Officers to join us at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory – European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI) located on the Wellcome Genome Campus just outside of Cambridge in the UK. Both posts are likely to be supported through the onboarding process from home, until such time as we return to the Campus.

These roles will both provide legal support for the drafting, reviewing and negotiation of research grants, related consortia and collaboration agreements, as well as agreements relating to routine procurement undertaken for EMBL-EBI’s operations.

It is expected that one of these roles will be more procurement focused than the other and that this role will be filled by a qualified lawyer. We are open to the other post being filled by either a qualified lawyer or an experienced contracts manager. We offer a variety of flexible work arrangements and are open to applications from candidates wishing to work part time. For more information on the main duties and responsibilities, please review the attached job descriptions for both roles.

The EMBL-EBI is part of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), which is a non-profit, intergovernmental organisation funded by 27 EMBL member states and two associate member states. The EMBL-EBI is a world-leading bioinformatics centre providing biological data to the scientific community with expertise in data storage, analysis and representation.

The European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) is one of the most highly ranked scientific research organisations in the world. The EMBL Administration is responsible for providing administrative services to 1,700 members of personnel from over 80 nations based across its six duty stations: at the headquarters in Heidelberg (Germany), the EMBL-European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI) in Hinxton near Cambridge (UK), as well as those at its additional sites in Grenoble (France), Hamburg (Germany), Rome (Italy) and Barcelona (Spain). The official languages of EMBL are English, French and German; however, as a Legal Officer based in the UK at EMBL-EBI, you will operate in English.

EMBL-EBI has a successful history in identifying and obtaining external funds to further its research activities. The EMBL-EBI typically has over 160 applications for external funding per year, and the current external grant income to EMBL-EBI is in excess of €36 million per annum from 157 active awards. Major funders include the European Commission, the US National Institutes of Health, UK Research and Innovation councils, Wellcome, and other charitable organisations (e.g., Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Cancer Research UK, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation).  

Your role

As an EMBL-EBI Legal Officer, you will fill one of two new roles that have been established to support EMBL-EBI’s activities in the UK. While Legal Services at EMBL are provided centrally to all EMBL sites from its Headquarters in Germany, these roles, under the local remit and guidance of a Senior Legal Officer based at EMBL-EBI are intended to act as a local focal point for selected types of contracting working side-by-side with EMBL-EBI administrative colleagues but liaising with the central EMBL Legal Services team as required to ensure consistency and alignment.

The roles are expected to work collaboratively and effectively with various stakeholders, both at Headquarters and locally; these include scientific clients and scientific service teams, Grants Office, Procurement, Technology Transfer/IP, Data Protection, Compliance and Strategic Projects.

The post holders will report to the EMBL-EBI Senior Legal Officer.  The work is varied, and you will have the opportunity to contribute to the development and improvement of processes in a dynamic, friendly, international working environment.

You may be required to travel to Heidelberg, Germany from time to time to ensure alignment with the legal team in HQ. You will be provided with training and support to understand relevant processes, tools, systems and EMBL’s status as an intergovernmental organisation.


You have

The post holders will be able to demonstrate an international focus in their career, with at least 3 years of professional experience ideally gained in a scientific environment or advising scientific organisations. An understanding of biomedical research and the translation of science would be an asset.

Excellent legal drafting skills are required, identifying and mitigating risks and developing solutions that manage risks for EMBL to an acceptable level and ensure that EMBL’s transactions comply with applicable legal frameworks.

The post holder has strong analytical skills and the ability to offer pragmatic options with executable outcomes. He/She has demonstrated ability in working in a multi-cultural environment and will be able to maintain effective working relations with people of different national and cultural backgrounds.

The post holder is client-focused and – if required – can work to deadlines and independently handle numerous legal matters in parallel.

Excellent communication and influencing skills in English are mandatory.   

You might also have

  • An understanding of the life sciences is helpful in the understanding of the work you will support.
  • Experience of working in other languages is an asset, but not a requirement. 

Why join us

EMBL-EBI is a worldwide leader in bioinformatics. We encourage personal and professional development and are committed to ensuring our employees feel valued, supported and empowered to reach their potential at work.

Surrounded by beautiful South Cambridgeshire countryside, our state-of-the-art Campus provides employees with a relaxed atmosphere where the pursuit of scientific discovery and meaningful work, underpin every role. In addition, our employees have access to a wide range of benefits including:

  • 30 days annual leave per year plus 8 bank holidays
  • Flexible work arrangements
  • Unique pension scheme including 17% employer contribution
  • Annual salary review
  • Private medical insurance for you and your immediate family (including all prescriptions and generous dental & optical cover)
  • Death benefit, long-term care, accident at work and unemployment insurances
  • Relocation package including installation grant (if required)
  • On-site library and subsidised on-site gym and cafeteria
  • Casual dress code
  • Free shuttle bus to and from Campus
  • Extensive sports and social club activities (run on campus and remotely)
  • Family benefits: Onsite nursery, child sick leave, generous parental leave, holiday clubs on campus and monthly family and child allowances
  • Benefits for non-UK residents: Visa exemption, education grant for private schooling, financial support to travel back to your home country every second year and a monthly non-resident allowance

What else you need to know

To view a copy of the two full job descriptions click below: To apply please submit a covering letter and CV through our online system. As part of the application process please indicate whether you wish to be considered for one or both roles. Please note that while we are open to the research contract post being filled by either a qualified lawyer or an experienced contracts manager, it is expected that a qualified lawyer will fill the role that supports both procurement and research contracts. 

At EMBL-EBI, we strongly believe that inclusive and diverse teams benefit from higher levels of innovation and creative thought. We encourage applications from women, LGBTQ and individuals from all nationalities. Visa exemptions will be offered to international candidates and details will be discussed during interview.

This role is based in Hinxton, UK and you will be required to relocate once it is safe to do so if you are currently based abroad. More info on how we are recruiting in this period is available on our page: Recruitment and Onboarding during Covid19.

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