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Head of Applications - Web Hosting and Databases

European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL)
Closing date
13 Oct 2023

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Life Science
Job Type
Employment - Hours
Full time
Fixed term

About the team/job

We are looking for a Head of Applications to join our changing team, in this role you will lead a team of 17, delivering the database and web hosting platforms supporting EMBl-EBI’s world class open bioinformatic resources.

Consisting of database administrators and engineers, platform & devops engineers & cloud architects, the team is responsible for designing and operating the web & database hosting platforms, primarily deployed in-house, across multiple data centres using Kubernetes, Puppet & VMware. The Applications team supports more than 100 web services backed by 1300 database instances running SQL and NoSQL, serving 40 billion global web hits per year.

As well as being responsible for the day-to-day delivery of these crucial services, the successful candidate will lead in the strategy, architecture and planning of database & web hosting technology solutions, and develop these solutions alongside senior team members, with appropriate designs, roadmaps, business continuity planning and technical governance. You will develop a deep understanding of the needs of the bioinformatics service teams at EMBL-EBI and act as the liaison between these teams and IT, fostering close relationships with other team leaders and senior staff.

The Institute is engaged in a technology transformation funded by an £80m UK government grant to support its open data resources through increasing technical capacity and accelerating data driven approaches to life science research. The role has key responsibilities in transforming current database & web hosting services & strategies, including moving, where benefits exist, parts of the infrastructure to public cloud. EMBL-EBI has established strategic partnerships & already migrated some workloads to both GCP and AWS.

Your role

As Head of Applications, you will:

    Manage the team of specialists engaged in the creation and maintenance of EMBl-EBI’s database and web hosting platforms Own the technical strategy of web hosting and databases across EMBl-EBI and lead in the development of the architecture of these solutions Own the relationship with EMBL-EBI scientific service teams, and as the liaison between the services requirements and IT Develop technical standards, design patterns and practices, working closely with the scientific teams Inspire and lead cloud technology innovation & adoption, articulate the risks/opportunities from utilising cloud infrastructure & services Create & maintain financial controls to manage cloud costs Maintain architecture visions and roadmaps, and a technology strategy to deliver robust, resilient, well connected and secure solutions This role has overall line management responsibility for 17 staff organised into a database team and a web hosting team, with a technical lead for each.

You have

  • Degree Educated in a relevant area or equivalent combination of education, training, and experience
  • Previous senior team management experience, providing leadership to a team in the delivery of technical services to a demanding user base Experience in a technical leadership role Experience in an equivalent liaison role Broad knowledge of information technology infrastructure domains for example; compute server platforms, storage server platforms, server components, network devices, technologies and architectures, IT service delivery principles and best practices A great communicator: able to work with stakeholders to understand needs and communicate technology options and opportunities Works well with other people. Listens, communicates and solves conflicts constructively Makes and maintains positive relationships that add to work performance Leads, motivates and authorises others to achieve common goals in an efficient way Ability to influence others and move toward a common vision or goal
  • Experience of driving technology transformation and exposure/understanding of some of the following technologies:
    • Database: MySQL, MongoDB, Oracle, PostgreSQL,
    • Web technologies: Apache, Tomcat, Nginx
    • Public cloud: AWS, GCPTechnical (hands-on technical experience is not necessary)

You might also have

  • Experience working in a multinational environment
  • Ability to apply technical insights, expertise and knowledge to inform, guide, challenge and support strategic technology and investment decisions Experience in facilitating teams to review current processes and develop new ones to improve operational efficiency, quality and simplification Knowledge and experience of public / private and hybrid Cloud solutions (PAAS, IAAS); integrating public Cloud into traditional hosting/delivery models Experience migrating or transforming legacy business/ customer solutions to the cloud Experience in establishing continued customer relations and managing customer satisfaction Experience with requirement analysis, customer expectations management, impact analysis. ITIL experience - ideally implementing ServiceNow

Why join us

Do something meaningful

At EMBL-EBI you can apply your talent and passion to accelerate science and tackle some of humankind's greatest challenges. EMBL-EBI, part of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory, is a worldwide leader in the storage, analysis and dissemination of large biological datasets. We provide the global research community with access to publicly available databases and tools which are crucial for the advancement of healthcare, food security, and biodiversity.

Join a culture of innovation

We are located on the Wellcome Genome Campus, alongside other prominent research and biotech organisations, and surrounded by beautiful Cambridgeshire countryside. This is a highly collaborative and inclusive community where our employees enjoy a relaxed atmosphere. We are committed to ensuring our employees feel valued, supported and empowered to reach their professional potential.

Enjoy lots of benefits:

    Financial incentives: Monthly family, child and non-resident allowances, annual salary review, pension scheme, death benefit, long-term care, accident-at-work and unemployment insurances Flexible working arrangements (up to 3 days per week working from home) Private medical insurance for you and your immediate family (including all prescriptions and generous dental & optical cover) Generous time off: 30 days annual leave per year, in addition to eight bank holidays Relocation package including installation grant (if required) Campus life: Free shuttle bus to and from work, on-site library, subsidised on-site gym and cafeteria, casual dress code, extensive sports and social club activities (on campus and remotely) Family benefits: On-site nursery, 10 days of 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.

For more details please see our employee benefits page.

What else you need to know

    Contract duration: This position is a 5 year contract, renewable to a maximum of 9 years. Job Description: to view a copy of the job description please click here International applicants: We recruit internationally and successful candidates are offered visa exemptions. Read more on our page for international applicants. Diversity and inclusion: 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. EMBL is a signatory of DORA. Find out how we implement best practices in research assessment in our recruitment processes here. Job location: This role is based in Hinxton, near Cambridge, UK. You will be required to relocate if you are based overseas and you will receive a generous relocation package to support you. How to apply: To apply please submit a cover letter and a CV through our online system before the closing date 10th December 2023.

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