Hpc & Research Data System Engineer

The Francis Crick Institute
13 Sep 2017
11 Oct 2017
Contract Type
Full Time

This is a full-time, permanent position on Crick Terms and Conditions of Employment.


The Crick requires state-of-the-art Information Technology and Services (IT&S) infrastructure to enable world-leading scientific research. The Crick's IT&S is science driven, flexible, forward- looking, and expedites collaboration within and beyond the Institute. Research at the Crick is data-intensive in all experimental, theoretical and computational dimensions. IT&S also supports business management systems required to run the Crick Institute.

The HPC & Research Data Systems Engineer position is a role created provide user support and assist in the design, implementation, development, and service delivery of the institute's HPC, Cloud, and Research Data Storage and Management hardware and software through a mix of on premise systems and cloud services.

The role also has a Research & Development component to ensure that the Crick provides the most advanced Scientific Computing capability to its researchers and collaborators.

The role is part of the Research Computing Platforms team, which alongside the Digital Development, Database, and Application Integration and Migration teams delivers services to the Crick's research community as part of the Scientific Computing group. The group works very closely with the core infrastructure teams in IT&S, researchers, Crick partners, and external organisations such as QMUL, EMBL-EBI, and the Sanger to develop and deliver state-of-the-art Research IT services.


These include but are not limited to;

- Provide user support, develop documentation and user guides for services and platforms, as well as provide training and advice to research teams regarding best practice in research data management and analysis.
- Administration of data and compute and data platforms, managing queues, quotas, directory structures, and distribution of data across storage systems and tiers.
- Develop and keep up-to-date systems and support processes documentation.
- Proactively monitor health, security, and performance of systems and applications, working actively with vendors and other members of the IT&S team to troubleshoot and quick restore services when required.
- Deploy scientific applications on HPC and cloud platforms and external services.
- Automate operational tasks, including reports, integrating with other services in the institute as required to improve management and service delivery.
- Work with scientific teams to integrate scientific instruments and laboratory information management systems with research data analysis and management platforms.
- Work on proof-of-concept systems and services to meet evolving scientific requirements or provide innovative solutions.
- Share solutions and best practice with colleagues and the wider Research Technologist community in conferences and publications.
- Stay constantly up-to-date with knowledge and skills to guarantee the delivery of state- of-the-art services, with regards to the most recent and effective technologies, data management and processing techniques and overall best practice.


The Francis Crick Institute is a biomedical discovery institute dedicated to understanding the fundamental biology underlying health and disease. Its work is helping to understand why disease develops and to translate discoveries into new ways to prevent, diagnose and treat illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, stroke, infections, and neurodegenerative diseases.

An independent organisation, its founding partners are the Medical Research Council (MRC), Cancer Research UK, Wellcome, UCL (University College London), Imperial College London and King's College London.

The Crick was formed in 2015, and in 2016 it moved into a brand new state-of-the-art building in central London which brings together 1500 scientists and support staff working collaboratively across disciplines, making it the biggest biomedical research facility under a single roof in Europe.

The Francis Crick Institute will be world-class with a strong national role. Its distinctive vision for excellence includes commitments to collaboration; to developing emerging talent and exporting it the rest of the UK; to public engagement; and to helping turn discoveries into treatments as quickly as possible to improve lives and strengthen the economy.


The post holder should embody and demonstrate our core Crick values: Bold, Imaginative, Open, Dynamic and Collegial, in addition to the following:


- A successful degree in computer engineering/science, or physical science/engineering subject with a significant computational component.
- Excellent interpersonal and communication skills.
- Demonstrable ability to work collaboratively and flexibly as part of a technical team, within an IT service environment.
- High attention to detail and correctness, ability to analyse and interpret complex data, and use it to solve complex technical problems.
- Excellent time management and prioritisation skills.
- Excellent Unix/Linux systems administration and integration skills, including:
- scripting and automation using at least one high level language, e.g., python, perl.
- networking - Ethernet, TCP/IP, ideally Infiniband.
- Monitoring/logging tools (ICINGA, Grafana, Elk Stack, etc.)
- A good understanding modern platforms and applications for research computing and data analysis, and keenness to learn new skills and staying up-to-date.

Desirable (not essential - one or more will be advantageous):

- PhD or masters in a computational research field or equivalent professional experience in a Research & Development work environment, preferably related to Biomedical research.
- Experience in development and/or deployment of scientific research software, preferably
Bioscience applications.
- Experience in using or managing HPC systems and scheduler policies (SLURM, SGE, etc.).
- Experience in using or managing cloud computing and storage resources (OpenStack, AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Compute Engine).
- Knowledge of the latest Scientific Computing application management and deployment systems (modules Easybuild, Singularity, Shifter).
- Experience in using/managing high performance parallel storage systems and services
(Spectrum Scale (GPFS), Lustre, etc.
- Experience in management of Ethernet and/or Infiniband networks (Mellanox, Intel Omnipath).
- Good understanding of new technologies and long-term trends relating to high performance processing and management of large data sets (e.g. object stores such as Ceph).
- Experience and using data management and storage abstraction systems (e.g. iRODS, Nirvana).
- Experience in using configuration management and continuous integration and testing tools (e.g. SaltStack, Ansible, Puppet, Chef, Foreman, Mercurial, Git, Github, Jenkins, etc.).

Please note: all offers of employment are subject to successful security screening and continuous eligibility to work in the United Kingdom.