Senior Data Storage Engineer
Post Details
Job Title
Senior Data Storage Engineer
Post Number
Closing Date
29 Oct 2021
Starting Salary
£41,193 - £50,448
Hours per week
Expected/Ideal Start Date
15 Nov 2021
Months Duration

Job Description

Main Purpose of the Job

Research Computing has become crucially important across the full spectrum of research activity at the Norwich Bioscience Institutes (NBI). NBI compromises a partnership between the following world class research institutes: the John Innes Centre, Earlham Institute, Quadram Institute and The Sainsbury Laboratory.

The purpose of this role is to lead the design and continued development of scalable and cost-effective central research data storage platforms, which can meet the diverse needs and requirements of NBI research groups. This role is part of the Research Computing team and will have responsibility for the data storage architecture. The successful applicant will be expected to work closely with the NBI bioinformatics leads covering Linux, HPC, storage, virtualisation and application infrastructure, and will use their expert knowledge in Data Storage technologies (e.g. Isilon, ECS) and Linux systems and application management to implement and support a data storage infrastructure, including workflow platforms, data management and data sharing/collaboration systems, as well as supporting existing infrastructure.

Key Relationships

Reporting to the manager of the Research Infrastructure Group and working closely with the other team members, you will interact directly with scientists across all four NBI Institutes.

Main Activities & Responsibilities

Responsible for proactively maintaining core NBI scientific data storage services and infrastructure at the leading edge. This will involve working within a team of technical computing experts and leading and coordinating efforts to implement, maintain and document key scientific software applications for the management, processing and analysis of scientific data, such that these applications make appropriate use of site hardware resources.
Act as liaison between Research Computing and the NBI support and research staff to understand their needs and translate these into appropriate data storage solutions, as well as providing support for existing NBI systems (such as Isilon, ECS, FreeNAS). Work directly with the NBI Scientific Computing Committee to ensure smooth implementation of NBI focused systems. Also work with vendors and service providers in order to procure data infrastructure and services which meet research computing requirements of NBI. This includes requirement gathering, preparation and evaluation of tenders, solution evaluation and benchmarking, acceptance testing and dealing with ongoing maintenance and support issues.
Responsible for planning, implementing and supporting software-based data management platforms, both proactively and in response to scientific need. Including the management and configuration of scheduling software and implementation of policies to allocate resources between users, providing the capability for research groups to purchase dedicated access to resources. With the Research Computing team, provide support for the world class data storage facilities in place at the NBI. Creatively troubleshoot existing systems and software platforms, both to solve immediate operational issues and enhance systems to improve future reliability and usefulness.
Document existing data storage systems and disseminate information about their architecture and use, through written documentation, short technical presentations and user training. Also provide technical support and advice for research groups with research data requirements, including providing guidance to researchers developing and testing large-scale applications on the local facilities as a stepping-stone for gaining access to regional and national research computing facilities.
As agreed with line manager, any other duties commensurate with the nature of the role.

Person Profile

Education & Qualifications

Bachelor Honours degree in computer science or other strong computing subject
MSc or PhD in a strong computing related subject

Specialist Knowledge & Skills

Proven scripting skills in an appropriate language, such as bash, Python or Perl
High-level programming ability and experience such as Fortran/C/C++
Demonstrated ability to diagnose and solve complex technical problems
Ability to plan and prioritise work in a busy environment
Strong interest in science

Relevant Experience

Proven experience of Linux system administration
Experience supporting end users in a Linux/UNIX environment
Experience working in a research or academic environment

Interpersonal & Communication Skills

Ability to communicate technical concepts clearly to non-technical and technical staff
Ability to work both independently and as part of a strong team
Approachable and helpful with a constructive attitude
Enthusiastic and proactive, with a willingness to learn new technologies and develop new skills
Good interpersonal skills
Good communication skills, both written and verbal

Additional Requirements

Attention to detail
Promotes equality and values diversity
Willingness to embrace the values of the Partnership, ensuring it is a great place to work
Willingness to work outside standard hours as required
Able to present a positive image of self and the Partnership

Who We Are

NBI Partnership

The NBI Partnership provides non-scientific services to the John Innes Centre (JIC), Quadram Institute Bioscience (QIB), Earlham Institute (EI) and The Sainsbury Laboratory (TSL). All of these organisations carry out scientific research funded by the UK Government, European Union, Charitable and Industrial Sponsors. The Partnership employs around 140 staff to cater for the needs of approximately 1100 Research Staff, Students and Visiting Scientists who are all located in close proximity on the Norwich Research Park.

The John Innes Centre, Quadram Institute Bioscience, the Earlham Institute and The Sainsbury Laboratory are registered charities (No’s 223852, 1058499, 1136213 and 106550) and are Equal Opportunity Employers..

For more information about working at NBI Partnership, please click here.


Computing infrastructure for Science

Group Details

World leading scientific research across the four Norwich Bioscience Institutes (NBI), along with extensive cutting edge hardware and software, requires world class specialist computational support. The Research Computing team manages the core research technology infrastructure for the NBI. The NBI provides a fast paced and exciting environment in which to experience the rapid growth and development of computational techniques that underpin modern science.

Living in Norfolk


Advert Text

Senior Data Storage Engineer

The Norwich Bioscience Institutes Partnership (NBIP) has an exciting opportunity for a Senior Data Storage Engineer to join their busy Research Computing department.


The Norwich Bioscience Institutes are a cluster of internationally renowned research organisations, working to tackle major challenges of the 21st Century – the sustainability of our environment, our food supplies and healthy ageing. 

The NBI Partnership provides high quality, non-scientific support services for the diverse community of staff, students and visiting workers at the Institutes (the Earlham Institute, John Innes Centre, Sainsbury Laboratory and Quadram Institute) and for the NBI Partnership.

Based on the Norwich Research Park amongst 230 hectares of parkland, you will be joining a committed, professional and welcoming team.  In addition, you will enjoy a competitive salary and annual leave, our defined contribution pension scheme, excellent recreational facilities and a range of other employee benefits.

The Research Computing team are responsible for managing the core research computing infrastructure for the NBI Partnership. The Research Computing department provides a fast paced and exciting environment in which to experience the rapid growth and development of computational techniques that underpin modern science.

The role:

The Senior Data Storage Engineer will develop and implement the necessary technical solutions to meet the data intensive requirements that enable and support the world class research of the NBI.

Reporting to the Research Infrastructure Manager, the post-holder will also contribute to the strategic planning of Research Computing services and lead on associated data storage implementation work. This is a leadership role that requires direct engagement with research groups, vendors and other technical experts. The successful applicant will help shape the Research Computing team to be the enabling enterprise partner that the NBI researchers need.

As the Senior Data Storage Engineer, you will act as second- or third-line support for incidents, problems and changes to solutions and services. In this role you will develop the following skills:

• Providing specialist technical support and expertise to research projects ensuring delivery of non-functional requirements and continual service improvement.
• Assurance of data storage operations, solutions and services - physical or virtual - according to industry and organisational best practices standards, service requirements and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) throughout the product life cycling.
• Coaching and mentoring junior team members, and assisting in the provision of first-class data storage services and consistent levels of capability as required by the organisation.

The ideal candidate:

Candidates should possess a bachelor honours degree in computer science, or other computing subject. Proven scripting skills (e.g. Bash, Python or Perl) and high-level programming ability (e.g. Fortran or C++) are both essential. Candidates should also have recent experience of Linux system administration and storage solutions (e.g. Dell Isilon, ECS Object Store) and an enthusiastic and proactive approach to their work. Candidates should be open and interested in technological innovation and be motivated to work in and help to shape a first-class engineering culture. The mission of the Research Computing team is to be the go-to enterprise partner for any NBI researcher who needs a scalable, agile, intelligent solution for their science.

Additional information:

Salary on appointment will be within the range £41,193 to £50,448 per annum depending on qualifications and experience. This is a full-time post offered on an indefinite basis.

Applicants must submit completed NBI application form or CV plus personal statement to apply.

Applicants must have the right to work in the UK as we do not hold a Sponsorship Licence.

The NBI Partnership is an equal opportunities and disability confident employer. We are committed to attracting, recruiting and retaining the best talent, and welcome all applications.

The closing date for applications will be 29th October 2021.