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    Opportunity: BIOINFORMATICS Systems Administrator (fixed term position) (#IRC79869) @ University of Oxford -- Oxford, UK
    Submitted by Dr Vivienne Collins; posted on Thursday, January 17, 2013


    Overall Purpose:
    Professor Chris Ponting has been awarded five years' funding to establish a Strategic Programme in Computational Genomics Analysis and Training (CGAT) within the MRC Functional Genomics Unit (FGU) in Oxford. CGAT's mission is to provide substantial expertise and added-value to funded research UK-wide, whilst training a future generation of genome biologists. As well as the post-holder, CGAT consists of 10 scientific staff and a Research Manager.

    CGAT works entirely computationally and thus requires a Bioinformatics Systems Administrator to ensure that the extensive and complex computing requirements are met. The role of this post is: (i) to manage and maintain computational systems including a linux cluster, (ii) to install, configure and maintain bioinformatics applications and systems, (iii) to provide IT support and training for CGAT/FGU staff.

    We are looking for an enthusiastic team-player who has been educated to degree level or equivalent with demonstrable experience in linux network/systems administration. An interest in bioinformatics and genomics is highly desirable as is experience in installing or using bioinformatics applications. This post may suit someone looking to develop skills in high-performance scientific computing or someone interested in playing a role in a cutting-edge computational training programme. The post-holder will also have the opportunity to be involved with the research activities of CGAT.

    Working Relationships:
    The Bioinformatics Systems Administrator will report to the CGAT Technical Director, Dr. Andreas Heger, for issues relating to CGAT and to the FGU's IT manager (Dr. Man-Suen Chan) for issues related to the Unit's IT support. You will liaise closely with CGAT senior post docs, FGU members, the CGAT Research Manager and other CGAT staff. You will also interact with members of collaborating institutions, key computing staff in the University Department and Medical Sciences Division and also with MRC IT staff in the Oxford region.


    The main duties of the Bioinformatics Systems Administrator will include, but are not limited to:
    • Managing the IT infrastructure of CGAT. This will encompass configuration of new hardware, networking of hardware, maintenance and troubleshooting
    • Providing IT support for CGAT staff, visitors and students
    • Developing and maintaining the WWW resource of CGAT, working with other CGAT staff and external designers
    • Designing, implementing and maintaining computational systems and linux clusters for CGAT in consultation with the CGAT research scientists and other IT staff employed in FGU
    • Installing and maintaining bioinformatics software such as galaxy ( in consultation with CGAT research scientists
    • Working closely with internal and external collaborators on the IT implementation of multi-centre projects to ensure data and code compatibility and efficient transfer of data
    • Keeping up-to-date on the latest developments in DNA sequencing and bioinformatics computing
    • Keeping accurate written reports (electronic or otherwise) of systems development work undertaken and manuals on any algorithms or code written
    • Overseeing the computer training of CGAT and FGU staff (both research and administrative), visiting students and collaborators where appropriate
    • Together with the line-manager, purchasing software and hardware
    • Attending at least weekly meetings with the line manager(s) and participating in group and Unit meetings
    • Unit wide responsibility for installing and maintaining linux and OS/X desktops
    • Unit wide responsibility for deploying permitted mobile devices and laptops on the network
    • Attending and contributing to Unit seminars and national/international meetings
    • Deputising for other IT staff in the Unit in their absence


    • Educated to degree level or equivalent
    • Experience in Linux network/systems administration
    • An understanding of the security issues in setting up desktops, laptops, servers and websites
    • Excellent interpersonal skills, able to work independently and within a team
    • Excellent communication skills, both oral and written
    • Proficient user of Windows and either Linux or Mac desktop systems
    • Excellent organisational skills – managing both time and records effectively
    • Ability to use own initiative to solve problems


    • Degree in Scientific subject or Mathematics/Computing
    • Relevant professional experience in systems administration
    • Experience in managing Linux clusters or in High Performance Computing in a computational scientific environment
    • Previous employment in academic sector and/or interest in current issues in bioinformatics and genomics
    • Previous responsibility for hardware specification or procurement
    • Experience with managing Linux or Mac desktop computing (to complement existing competencies)
    • Experience in working with desktop and/or server computer hardware
    • Experience in desktop support of end users
    • Experience in Windows system administration of desktops and/or servers
    • Experience of dealing with cross-disciplinary collaborations
    • Evidence of training others in computing skills
    • Proficient user of Microsoft Office including ability to provide user support
    • Evidence of multi-tasking and working to deadlines


    This post is available immediately. It is a fixed term post currently until 31 July 2015. You will be entitled to benefits including 30 days annual leave, an excellent pension scheme and access to MRC training.


    You will work in the FGU within the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics at the University of Oxford. Additional information about the Unit can be found at, whilst informal enquiries can be made to to Dr Andreas Heger andreas.heger[at] or Dr Man-Suen Chan man-suen.chan[at] For further information about the MRC please visit


    Starting salary up to GBP 30,516 pa depending on experience, plus GBP 6,500 pa Bioinformatics Allowance.


    Applications are handled by the RCUK Shared Services Centre; to apply please visit our job board at and complete an online application form. Applicants who would like to receive this advert in an alternative format (e.g. large print, Braille, audio or hard copy), or who are unable to apply online should contact us by telephone on +44 (0)1793 867003, please quote reference number IRC79869.


    Application deadline: 12 February 2013. Interviews to be held: 1 or 8 March 2013.

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