Senior Developer / Search Engine Specialist


Key information

  • Location: EMBL-EBI Hinxton
  • Staff category: Staff Member - Technology
  • Contract duration: 3 years (renewable)
  • Grading: 6 or 7 (monthly salary starting at £2,994.54 - £3,408.41 after tax)
  • Closing date: 20 July 2020
  • Reference number: EBI01647

Continue reading for more information about this position, or apply now.




About this position

The Web Production Team is responsible for provisioning and managing the infrastructure for Web Services at the EMBL-EBI and is led by Rodrigo Lopez. We also provide services for Search through our main Text Search Service, a project that indexes data from all the data resources hosted at the EMBL-EBI.

Your role

You will be responsible for the day to day management of a small sub-team (3-4 engineers) that focuses on the development and maintenance of the search system and it’s API. You will also be responsible for ensuring that data are always up-to-date by engaging with stakeholders at the EMBL-EBI and collaborating institutions. The job involves direct line-management responsibilities and work scheduling. You will manage a SCRUM within the team and report to the Head of the Web Production Team.  You will identify poorly performing code and be responsible for the documentation of the search system.

You will be working with many staff at the EMBL-EBI at various levels and help coordinate the release of data to a world-wide scientific audience that generates more than 65 million requests per day. You will also be working with some of our international collaborators and coordinate helpdesk/user support activities.

You will be working on the further development and maintenance of the EBI Search engine, a fast and scalable service we have developed to meet the search needs of biomedical scientists from around the world. The service currently indexes billions of records from more than 100 data resources on a daily basis and links these together to provide the most comprehensive and accurate results demanded by the EMBL-EBI user community. EBI Search has a powerful API that allows search to be integrated into third-party portals and pipelines. The system is developed in Java and relies on the Apache Lucene Core library.

You have

We are looking for a highly enthusiastic and motivated Senior Java Developer to lead our Search Engine team, which is composed of highly skilled Java developers whom are passionate about data and mixing search technologies and science. You have an understanding of how the digital technologies help facilitate connecting users with the right products. You are also experienced at executing against objectives and can demonstrate having worked in the field for at least 4 years and have track record to prove it. You will enjoy doing analytical work and are a competent as a Java developer and have practical knowledge about the tools and techniques required to work with the Apache Lucene Core library.

You will be managing the day-to-day aspects of the project together with the Head of the Web Production Team. You will supervise 3-4 developers at the project level and assist the Team Leader with line management duties.

You will be responsible for daily, weekly and monthly scrums and will report projections and our users showcasing the results that have been achieved by the team. You will report to the Head of the Web Production Team. You will execute pilot trial with our internal and external stake holders and promote continued improvement across established programs.

You will enjoy communicating about your work in local as well as international meetings and conferences.

Travel to local and international events on a regular basis is part of the job.

You might also have

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.

3 year staff member contract renewable up to 9 years of service

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 BST on the date listed above.


Join EMBL and you’ll join a community of world-class researchers and skilled professionals working together to uncover the secrets of life.

We offer attractive conditions and benefits to attract and retain the brightest talent. Learn more.

One laboratory. Six locations. Global reach.

The European Molecular Biology Laboratory is a single organisation spread across six European locations. Each of our sites hosts its own research units, services and facilities.

EMBL is Europe’s leading life sciences laboratory.

EMBL seeks to better understand the molecular basis of life. In the process, we’re changing European science.