Software Engineer for experiment control and data acquisition.

Key information

  • Location: Hamburg, Germany
  • Staff category: Staff Member
  • Job type: Scientific Services and Support
  • Contract duration: 3 years (renewable)
  • Grading: 6; depending on experience and qualifications
  • Closing date: 31 January 2021
  • Reference number: HH00178

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About this position

We are seeking to recruit an enthusiastic software engineer who wishes to develop and maintain software for controlling high-end instruments and the associated large-volume flows of experimental data on the synchrotron stations at EMBL Hamburg. This opportunity is open to candidates at the beginning of their career. 

The Hamburg Unit of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory is in charge of four experimental stations on the PETRA III synchrotron, one of the world brightest X-rays sources run by DESY in Hamburg ( These experimental stations are operated 24/7 and used by hundreds of international users every year for addressing their research questions in Structural Biology. The acquisition of X-ray data (diffraction and scattering) from biological samples requires the synchronized control of many complex instruments. While current data rates are on the order of GBytes per second, real-time processing and data evaluation is needed to support scientific workflows.


Your role

You will contribute to the design, implementation, documentation, maintenance, and continuous improvement of the integrated beamline control and data acquisition systems. Tasks will range from instrument programming and scripting of experimental work flows via the management of large data rates and volumes between detectors and high-performance compute and storage infrastructures to real-time data analysis and visualization. Your resourcefulness and creativity will be required for dealing with interesting problems at the intersection of instrument-hardware and software. You will work in an international and interdisciplinary team together with scientists, software engineers and technicians. You will support user operation at the beamlines which can include also off-hours work on short notice.


You have


  • A master or an equivalent degree in software engineering, computer science or a related discipline
  • A minimum of 1 year of software development experience preferentially in control software and/or application programming of scientific instruments
  • Proven skills in C/C++, Python and familiarity with software development tools
  • Excellent communication skills to collaborate in an international and multidisciplinary team of scientists and engineers. The working language is English.

You might also have

  • be acquainted with multi-threaded programming and client-server applications in a distributed, primarily LINUX based environment


Why join us

EMBL is an inclusive, equal opportunity employer offering attractive conditions and benefits appropriate to an international research organisation with a very collegial and family friendly working environment. The remuneration package comprises a competitive salary, a comprehensive pension scheme, medical, educational and other social benefits. Scientists and engineers at the EMBL Hamburg Unit benefit from cutting-edge technology to enable leading research in Structural Biology using on-site synchrotron radiation beamlines operated by EMBL Hamburg and opportunities for collaboration with colleagues from all six EMBL sites.


What else you need to know

We are Europe’s flagship research laboratory for the life sciences – an intergovernmental organisation performing scientific research in disciplines including molecular biology, physics, chemistry and computer science. We are an international, innovative and interdisciplinary laboratory with more than 1700 employees from many nations, operating across six sites, in Heidelberg (HQ), Barcelona, Hinxton near Cambridge, Hamburg, Grenoble and Rome.

Our mission is to offer vital services in training scientists, students and visitors at all levels; to develop new instruments and methods in the life sciences and actively engage in technology transfer activities, and to integrate European life science research.

Please note that appointments on fixed term contracts can be renewed, depending on circumstances at the time of the review.


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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.