Systems Administrator

Key information

  • Location: EMBL-EBI Hinxton
  • Staff category: Supernumerary
  • Job type: IT and Infrastructure
  • Contract duration: 1 year
  • Grading: 5 (monthly salary starting at £2,738.29)
  • Closing date: 12 April 2021
  • Reference number: EBI01804

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

About this position

Training is a core activity across EMBL-EBI, involving almost every part of the organisation and coordinated by a team of 28 people. The Training Team delivers a world-recognised programme that encompasses training delivered virtually and face-to-face to a global audience alongside self-paced online learning, up-skilling of trainers and secondments. Scientific Training Officers and Systems Administrators work with the Scientific Training Coordinator to produce and deliver scientific course content; Events Organisers work with the Events Manager to organise course logistics, and Project Managers work with the Head of Training to deliver innovative projects to build capacity and Infrastructure for Bioinformatics and Data science. The EMBL-EBI programme also sits under the umbrella of the EMBL International Advanced Training Centre (EICAT) where we work closely with colleagues across all EMBL sites to deliver an EMBL wide programme of events.

We are looking for a Systems Administrator to join the Training Team at EMBL-EBI. You will be part of a small team focused on compute infrastructure to enable the delivery of bioinformatics training courses. The main tasks will be to set up and maintain a virtualised training environment on public and private cloud to enable the team to run compute-intensive courses (on site and virtually).

Your role

You will share responsibility for support and development of EMBL-EBI’s state-of-the-art VM-based training infrastructure, and for maintenance of EMBL-EBI's IT training facilities. This will include maintenance of (primarily Linux) disk images via our remote data centre and on AWS/GCP, building bespoke images for specific courses (and supporting trainers to do so), making the appropriate VMs available for courses, providing technical support during courses, and contributing to the development and implementation of tools, processes and guidelines for internal and external users of our training facilities. Much of the software used for the EMBL-EBI training programme is at the cutting edge of bioinformatics research and is evolving rapidly; you will need to apply excellent problem-solving, project-management and interpersonal skills to create fully functional disk images

Resourcefulness is a necessary skill in this role. You should be able to diagnose and resolve problems quickly. You should also have the patience to communicate with a variety of interdisciplinary teams, trainers and course participants.

Your goal will be to ensure that our training courses run smoothly using our compute infrastructure, providing technical support and guidance as and when needed.

Responsibilities include:

  • Build and deploy course VMs via our remote data centre and via commercial cloud
  • Support trainers in testing of course images
  • Monitor and maintain the core training infrastructure
  • Troubleshoot issues and outages, liaising with other systems teams across the institute when required
  • Support of on site hardware (Windows thin clients) in our two bespoke training rooms
  • Stay ahead of the curve by assisting the team in the research and purchase of cutting edge hardware and software 
  • Support the setting up and maintaining a Kubernetes cluster
  • Ensure the wider training team are kept informed of key developments and issues, and provide basic infrastructure training to new team members
  • Write and maintain technical documentation of team processes

You have

  • At least two years’ proven experience in supporting users of Linux-based systems, software installation and upgrades, and troubleshooting Linux desktop environments 
  • Experience of: 
    • Proven experience as a System Administrator, or similar role
    • Experience of configuration management (Ansible)
  • The ability to create scripts in YAML, Shell or other scripting languages
  • A strong service ethic
  • Excellent written and spoken English language skills
  • An ambition to work in an international environment
  • Comfortable working collaboratively in an agile environment, with an automation oriented mindset
  • Resourcefulness and a problem-solving aptitude
  • Excellent communication skills

You might also have

  • A BSc in Information Technology, Computer Science or a related discipline is a plus
  • Familiarity with cloud computing systems
  • Familiarity with administering a Windows domain via active directory and configuring DHCP and DNS
  • Familiarity with commonly used bioinformatics and biostatistics software packages, ideally backed up with some formal training in bioinformatics, would be an asset. 
  • General familiarity with MS Windows and Mac OSX will enable you to support speakers and trainers who bring their own laptops. 
  • Although not essential, experience of working with external suppliers to procure hardware and software, familiarity with operation of audiovisual systems (or willingness to learn how to provide basic AV support in the IT training rooms) 
  • Experience of Health and Safety procedures would be helpful.

Why join us

EMBL-EBI is a worldwide leader in bioinformatics. 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 encourage personal and professional development and are committed to ensuring our employees feel valued, supported and empowered to reach their potential at work. 

Surrounded by picturesque South Cambridgeshire countryside, our Campus provides employees with a relaxed atmosphere where the pursuit of scientific discovery and meaningful work, underpin every role. In addition, our employees have access to a wide range of benefits including:

What else you need to know

This position is limited to the project duration of 1 year. 

This role is based in Hinxton, UK and you will be expected to relocate if not based locally. There will be a relocation package (if required). More info on how we are currently recruiting is available on our page: Recruitment and Onboarding during Covid19

To apply
please submit a covering letter and CV through our online system. In the covering letter, please state why you are interested in the role and why you believe you are suited to this role.

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. Applications are encouraged from all nationalities and this has continued after Brexit. For more information please see our website. Visa information will be discussed in more depth with applicants selected for interview.

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

Appointment will be based on merit alone.

Apply now

For questions or issues with the application process, please contact

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