Technical Project Lead - Human Cell Atlas Data Coordination Platform
Location:EMBL-EBI Hinxton near Cambridge, UK
Staff Category:Staff member
Contract Duration:3 years
Grading:7 (monthly salary starting at £3,250.67 after tax). For more information about pay and benefits click here
Closing Date:5th August 2018
Reference Number:EBI_01263

Job Description

We are seeking a highly motivated technical project lead to lead the team of three full stack developers helping to build the Human Cell Atlas (HCA) Data Coordination Platform (DCP). You will work at EMBL-EBI located on the Wellcome Genome Campus, near Cambridge, in the UK.

Do you want to deliver a sustainable petabyte scale platform to manage and use biological data in the cloud? EMBL-EBI is part of the collaboration building the software platform to support the HCA defining comprehensive reference maps of all human cells using a cloud based data management service. You will collaborate with other development teams from the Broad Institute, the University of California, Santa Cruz and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to deliver these services. Each team focuses on a different area, our primary responsibility is to build and deploy ingest services which write data into the platform for big biological data.

We will build services to provide simple, open and direct access to all HCA data across many cloud based systems using state of the art technology. This dynamic collaboration will give you the opportunity to interact with a diverse range of scientific and technical collaborators from with the DCP collaboration and more broadly with data generators and analysts from the HCA community.

Our team follows agile development practices and the system requirements reported as user stories. You and the product owner will prioritize these tasks and then you will work with the development team to sub-divide these stories into development tasks for completion in a particular sprint cycle.

We will expect you to work with the team to develop the DCP software as well as defining technical strategy and manage the development team. We expect the split between your time on software development tasks and on strategic, management and communication tasks to be approximately 70/30.

In this role, your responsibilities will include:

  • Developing software to deliver the ingest infrastructure for the HCA DCP.
  • Defining the technical strategy for the HCA ingest infrastructure.
  • Define requirements with expert biologists and external collaborators and translating these into ingest infrastructure features.
  • Working with the ingest content and support project lead to understand and prioritize requirements for the HCA DCP ingest infrastructure.
  • Working with the other DCP technical leads to coordinate the integration and deployment of new features and bug fixes across the platform.
  • Define a scalability plan for HCA data ingest and data life cycle.
  • Ensure data processed by the ingest service is reliably and securely transferred to HCA’s replicated cloud stores.
  • Defining the software engineering processes and methods to ensure product quality.

    Ensuring the ingest infrastructure team communicates well internally and with our other DCP collaborators.

  • Ensuring our development sprints run efficiently and tasks are completed by the assigned team member.
  • Mentoring the development team and participate in their appraisals.

Outside of your software development and management task you will also be expected to:

  • Work with other teams across EMBL-EBI to integrate HCA services and components.
  • Represent the team and the institute at HCA project meetings and international conferences.

Qualifications and Experience

You should hold a BSc or higher degree in computer science or bioinformatics. Experience delivering production quality software on a regular release cycle to meet project needs is required. Experience in bioinformatics is desirable but not required.

Do you love developing code in a team? Being able to work within a team is essential to this position. Superb interpersonal skills and an ability to work to tight deadlines are important. You will need to communicate technical documents, to contribute to and lead development team meetings, as well as provide user orientated communication with external and internal users of the systems.

You should be able to demonstrate a high proficiency in software engineering, with at least 5 years experience in developing and delivering software products. Experience leading development projects to completion and supporting other team members to meet their targets is needed. Our team is run following agile software development principles; previous work with agile frameworks and managing development processes using them will be considered an advantage.

The ingest infrastructure system has components written in Java and Python, so experience of both languages is desirable, experience of one of these is essential, as is experience of REST API design and Web MVC frameworks such as Spring or Django. The full software stack is deployed in different cloud environments including Amazon Web Services and the Google compute platform, therefore knowledge of cloud environments will be helpful. Experience with technologies like MongoDB, RabbitMQ, , containerisation with Docker and deployment with Kubernetes is useful but not essential.


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.

This position is limited to the project duration specified.

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

It is envisaged that interviews will take place on 22.07.2018.