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Technical Project Lead (Open Targets)

European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) - Open Targets

About the team/job

Open Targets is an innovative, large-scale, multi-year, public-private partnership that uses human genetics and genomics data for systematic drug target identification and prioritisation. 

Our open-source codebases power our flagship applications, the Open Targets Platform and the Open Targets Genetics Portal. To help our users answer their research questions, harmonised data generated by experts in different scientific domains is consumed by our ETL pipelines written in Scala and Spark. The data ingested to ElasticSearch and ClickHouse is later served by our GraphQL APIs using the Play framework and consumed by our React-based web interface. All applications are deployed and served in Google Cloud Platform using Terraform. Additionally, all compute processes across our teams are performed in Google Compute Engine. And lastly, all resulting datasets are made available for academic and commercial use through different channels including Google BigQuery.    

Over the last 18 months, we have also tackled some high-impact, large-scale algorithmic challenges, including:

Check out our blog to learn more about our recent work and what it is like to join our team. And stop by the Open Targets Community to see first-hand how our data and tools are used to help researchers unlock insights to solve some of the most complex biological questions.  

Your role

We are looking for a Technical Lead to join Open Targets at EMBL-EBI. We are open to applicants at different career stages, but we are keen to find someone who embraces cutting-edge technologies to tackle complex challenges in drug discovery and informatics.

As a key member of the Open Targets Core team, you will design and build cloud-first software tailored for the interface between large-scale biomedical data and drug discovery. Together with the other Open Targets partners (BMS, GSK, Sanofi and Wellcome Sanger Institute) you will lead the technical strategy of current and future informatics tools designed to support the identification and prioritisation of drug targets. Using cutting-edge technologies and leveraging the expertise of our product owners and industry stakeholders, you will work in a dynamic, multidisciplinary, international environment to tackle a wide range of algorithmic and technical challenges. 

Working in a dynamic and collaborative team with members from various professional backgrounds and countries, you will be responsible for:

  • Setting the technical direction for the development and maintenance of Open Targets’ informatics tools, including the Open Targets Platform and Open Targets Genetics Portal
  • Translating use cases, requirements, and product strategy into defined technical projects and maintaining a technical development roadmap
  • Consulting with the broader Open Targets team and making decisions on technical priorities
  • Providing day-to-day oversight of a team of 4 back-end developers and provide overall technical support and strategy to a team of front-end developers and data scientists 
  • Participating in the recruitment and onboarding of new technical team members 
  • Representing the technical team in strategy meetings with the broader Open Targets leadership and industry partnership teams
  • Liaising with pharmaceutical partners on technical requirements for internal instances of informatics tools
  • Writing clean, efficient and readable code to support our Python and Scala and Apache Spark-based data processing pipelines
  • Designing and implementing GraphQL web services in the Play Framework
  • Supporting our global load balanced, multi-region deployments templates in Terraform
  • Contributing to and maintaining our open source codebases
  • Taking ownership of the design and development of new features and pipelines
  • Engaging in knowledge sharing activities and contributing technical expertise to our Community and blog 

You have

  • BA/MSc/PhD in computer science, software development, or a related field
  • Experience designing and building production software and making frequent deployments as part of a regular software release process 
  • Proficiency in Scala or Java
  • Experience with big data, ETL pipelines, Apache Spark or similar related batch-processing frameworks
  • Experience with cloud infrastructure and deployment, ideally Google Cloud or AWS 

You might also have

  • Experience with Elasticsearch
  • Experience with OLAP technologies like ClickHouse
  • Experience with full-stack development, a web application framework like Play, or similar
  • Knowledge of machine learning and/or NLP approaches 
  • Experience working with knowledge graphs and graph databases
  • Exposure to a Python-based software environment
  • Experience on defining and executing technical strategy and roadmaps
  • Experience managing technical teams and projects 
  • Experience mentoring and supporting the development of junior developers 
  • Previous experience working in the research or life science industries
  • Knowledge of human genetics, genomics, and/or drug discovery - or are interested in learning about these topics 

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 including 17% employer contribution, death benefit, long-term care, accident-at-work and unemployment insurances
  • Flexible working arrangements
  • 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 3 year fixed-term contract with the Open Targets project.
  • 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. 
  • 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. We aim to provide a response within two weeks after the closing date. 
Location: Hinxton
Salary: Grade 7 (monthly salary starting at £3,577.46 after tax) + paid benefits
Hours: Full Time
Contract Type: Fixed-Term/Contract
Placed On: 23rd November 2021
Closes: 5th December 2021
Job Ref: EBI01936
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