European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL)

Open Targets Informatics Science Director

European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL)

Hinxton, Cambridge, United Kingdom


About the team/job


Open Targets is a novel public-private partnership to establish transformational experimental and informatics approaches to the problem of identification and prioritisation of potential drug targets in disease thereby providing better targets at the start of the drug development.   A fundamental principle of the partnership is that the target validation space is pre-competitive and that all the data generated will be made available in a timely manner in the public domain.

This is an exciting opportunity to share in the development of Open Targets and to work at the interface of informatics, genomics and drug discovery. You will be involved in shaping the cutting-edge research programme across the Open Targets Partners, oversee development of novel informatics platforms for drug target identification and prioritisation and there is also opportunity to pursue some research in related areas.


Your role


The Informatics Science Director will develop new projects together with key scientists from the partner institutions (EMBL-EBI, Wellcome Sanger Institute, GSK, Biogen, Celgene, Takeda and Sanofi) by screening all potential projects and developing suitably aligned projects through to resourcing. The role may involve application for grants to secure additional funding around Open Targets science. In addition, the Informatics Science Director will be responsible for the management and development of the Open Targets Platform and Open Targets Genetics Portal, plus additional Open Targets data resources as they develop. The successful candidate will lead a growing team of bioinformaticians, consisting of approximately 12 staff members to achieve this goal.

You will:

  • Develop a programme of informatics projects to deliver a cutting edge approach to target identification and prioritisation at Open Targets by working with scientists from the partners.
  • Co-Direct the scientific programme of Open Targets and overall organizational strategy through regular meetings with Open Targets scientists including project leads.
  • Ensure the integration of data outputs of the Open Targets programme into public domain databases and the Open Targets Platform.
  • Work with the Open Targets Director to report scientific progress of the consortium to the Governance Board.
  • Ensure effective scientific exchange within the consortium via lab meetings, consortium integration days, etc.
  • Promote the activities of Open Targets through interactions with the consortium members and external groups to maximize the scientific outputand prepare scientific publications.
  • Promote Open Targets science to other pharma companies to foster potential new partners.
  • Where appropriate, identify and apply for additional funding streams around Open Targets science including external grants.
  • Manage the Open Targets Core bioinformatics group(s) to deliver Open Targets Services, and to develop scientific methods for enhanced target identification and prioritization.
  • Liaise with the Open Targets Joint Patent Committee on prospective Open Targets inventions and technology.

You have


  • A PhD in genomics, bioinformatics, computing or field related to drug discovery.
  • At least 5 years experience in at least one of high throughput genomics, research bioinformatics or drug discovery.
  • Practical experience of bioinformatics including deployment of infrastructure.
  • Experience in manuscript and grant writing, developing scientific proposals and external presentation.
  • Outstanding written and oral communication skills.
  • Strong interpersonal skills with the ability to build scientific relationships.

You might also have


  • Experience of leading multi-disciplinary teams with a track record of delivery.
  • Experience of involvement in large consortia and external partner management.
  • Ability to prioritise projects with varying degrees of complexity.

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.

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.


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.

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

Please apply via recruiter’s website.

Quote Reference: embl-EBI01486

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