Computational Data Analyst

Key information

  • Location: EMBL-EBI Hinxton
  • Staff category: Staff Member - Science, research and training
  • Contract duration: 3 years
  • Grading: Grade 5 or 6 (Starting at £2,738 or £3,063 per month after tax)
  • Closing date: 6 October 2020
  • Reference number: EBI01685

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

About this position

The Ensembl Regulation team is looking for a talented bioinformatician or computational biologist to prototype statistical and machine learning approaches to characterise the regions of the genome responsible for controlling gene expression in each cell at the right level at the right time. This three-year project will suit those who wish to apply their research experience to develop and refine methods within a high visibility project, with the support of experienced developers.

Ensembl ( is one of the most successful large-scale bioinformatics projects and one of the leading projects for genome annotation. We import massive amounts of data from various archives (genome sequences, variation archives, etc) and use them to create syntheses (gene annotation, whole-genome alignments, gene trees, regulatory elements, etc). Our services are freely open to all scientists around the world, and serve a range of uses, from basic science to biomedical research.

Ensembl Regulation’s core product is a computational pipeline that annotates parts of the genome as having regulatory function—regions which control how genes are expressed in different tissues and cell types. These elements have been shown to play a significant role in explaining the mechanisms underlying individual variation and are central to understanding development, evolution and the progression of disease.

Your role

You will work under the scientific guidance of the project leader to benchmark, select and deploy machine learning or statistical methods to functionally characterise regulatory elements across the genome, with a focus on enhancers.

To achieve this, you will evaluate and collect public functional genomics data, such as gene expression data, predicted transcription factor binding sites, and eQTLs, into a single consistent data collection. You will then process this resource using machine learning or statistical methods, verifying their outputs in collaboration with domain area specialists, iterating these steps as required.

You will also help design the distribution and display of your results working with Ensembl project developers.

You have

  • You should be proficient at scientific programming with large datasets, able to implement and apply relevant machine learning and statistical libraries effectively.
  • We expect candidates to have a bachelor’s degree in a quantitative field, such as computer science or statistics, with subsequent relevant scientific experience, or a PhD in bioinformatics and computational biology.
  • Communication skills will be highly valued, as will be the ability to discuss and engage with the scientific concepts needed for this project.
  • The role requires intellectual creativity and energy, with a willingness to direct and shape these towards the goals of the project.

You might also have

The focus of this project will be understanding the data, methods and models, rather than developing production software, but broader software development skills will be a plus.

Although this is not an academic position, it will be an advantage if you can write scientifically for the purpose of publishing your work.

Experience in genomics, epigenomics or gene expression regulation will be helpful, but not essential.

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 850 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.

This position is limited to the project duration specified.

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