Software 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:18th March 2018
Reference Number:EBI_01121

Job Description

We are looking for a highly motivated Software Engineer to join the Gene Expression development team to contribute to the development of Expression Atlas and of Single Cell Expression Atlas: open science resources that give users a powerful way to find information about gene and protein expression across species and biological conditions such as different tissues, cell types, developmental stages and diseases among others. Expression Atlas provides gene expression results on more than 3,000 experiments (microarray and RNA-sequencing) from over 30 different organisms. Single Cell Expression Atlas is a new added-value database providing information about gene expression in single cells across different cell types, tissues and conditions.

A significant part of your work will involve working on producing the necessary infrastructure and visualization code in the Single Cell Expression Atlas for managing and viewing big-data generated by the Human Cell Atlas (HCA). The HCA project aims to build comprehensive reference maps of all human cells. These maps will provide a foundation for both understanding human health and the molecular basis of disease.

Key responsibilities will include:

  • Implementation of React components used by both Expression Atlas and Single Cell Expression Atlas.
  • Decisions on how to effectively present complex biological data to end users.
  • Choose representation models to efficiently transmit expression data from the back end to the front end code that will consume said data.
  • Take part in usability studies and detect requirements from user feedback.

You will also have the opportunity to collaborate in the development and architecture of back end services.

As our new Software Engineer, you will be contributing to an open source project of scientific value, and work with complex, big-data driven web applications.

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 23 member states and two associate member states and proud to be an equal-opportunity employer. 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.

Qualifications and Experience

You should possess a BSc or equivalent in computer science or a related technical subject (e.g. mathematics).

3 or more years of verifiable experience in web development with a proven track record in this area is required (applications should include references to contributed projects and open source repositories).

Essential technical skills:

  • Javascript ES7/8 and Node.js, familiarity with modern web frameworks (React preferably, other declarative frameworks like Vue.js will be favourably considered)
  • Familiarity with single page applications, HTTP semantics, REST APIs and RESTful services
  • OO design and design patterns, TDD and continuous integration
  • HTML5 and CSS3

Desired technical skills:

  • Data visualisation libraries (Highcharts, D3); good UX practices and tasteful UI design; previous experience with Scrum and agile processes; Java web development experience with Spring or Hibernate, Maven; JDBC / SQL; Solr / Lucene or Elastic Search.

Do you love developing code as part of a team? The ability to work within a team is critical to this position. Excellent communication skills and an ability to work to tight deadlines are essential. You will be required to communicate technical documents, to contribute to development team meetings, as well as provide user orientated communication with external and internal users of the systems.


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.