Because good research needs good data

New job in the DMPonline team at the DCC

Kevin Ashley | 17 June 2021

We have a new job opening for a senior technical role in the DMPonline service at the DCC. Whether or not you're currently looking for a job, I would urge you to take a look at this role to see if it is of interest. If it's not for you, pass the news to friends and colleagues who may be interested.

The formal details, and the link for applications, are available from the University of Edinburgh's recruitment system. In this news item, I'll describe in less formal language what we're looking for and what you can expect should your application be successful.

The work

DMPonline is a service which allows researchers to create and maintain data management plans for their research whilst meeting expectations placed on them by funders, the institutions they work in, and disciplinary norms. It's free to use for researchers, and we sustain the system by selling services to institutions, funders and national consortia. We currently have 61 customers and over 60,000 users and are seeing sustained growth of 20%/year. DMPonline utilises an open-source codebase to which the DCC and the DMPTool team at UC3 are the major contributors. You will take a lead role in software development for the service, which utilises the Ruby-on-Rails framework. This will include maintenance and bug fixes, feature development for specific customers and projects and longer-term strategic planning. You'll work as part of a team focussed on DMPonline which includes developers, infrastructure expertise, business development, user liaison and service management roles. The team also engages with and draws on other elements of the DCC's work, including research and coordination projects, events, consultancy and training. Your activities will thus include:

  • Diagnosing and fixing issues identified by ourselves and customers;
  • Feature development and testing in accordance with our development roadmap;
  • Designing and prioritising future service developments and features;
  • Occasional assistance in responding to service procurements;
  • Liaison with international collaborators;
  • Contributing to activities such as user groups;
  • Attending and speaking at events relevant to our work

The DCC is a consortium with an international reputation for its work in data curation, policy and standards. We have staff in multiple locations and work as a distributed team.

About you

The formal job specification, like many do, lists a big range of essential and desirable skills. It is a product of a formal process of characterising roles that doesn't always produce a clear description that potentially good candidates can identify with. I'll try instead to describe more informally what really matters to us.

Your previous experience could come from a wide variety of settings. It might have been in research, or supporting research,  in the public or private sector, in an internally-facing role or an externally-facing one. Where you have gained your experience is less important to us than what you have learned from it, and the qualities and skills you can bring to this role. Those will include:

  • Experience with MVC architectures, ideally using Ruby-On-Rails

  • Demonstrated ability to work collaboratively with a distributed team

  • Knowledge of and experience of devops, preferably including docker

  • Ability to prioritise and to think strategically as well as tactically

  • Ability to communicate successfully with technical and non-technical colleagues and customers

You will be keen to develop and broaden your expertise while working with us and be able to demonstrate the aptitude to do so. You won't lack opportunities to do this whilst working with us. You'll need to be flexible in switching between the requirements of the role and be able to remain calm under pressure. Your collaborative approach, within the DMPonline team and with the many organisations and individuals we work with around the world, is of particular importance. Should you be selected for interview, we'll almost certainly be asking you for examples of this and about your experiences, positive and negative.

The context

The DCC is a consortium with staff currently based at the Universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow. Your employer will be the University of Edinburgh but for most practical purposes we operate as a single team across the two organisations. The DCC's work involves partners around the world, and we have a diverse team that reflects that international outlook. Ideally you will already have experience of working in this way, but that isn't essential.  Once the restrictions required by the COVID-19 pandemic ease you can expect the role to require an element of international travel. Even without the travel, the international nature of the work means you'll need to be able to work flexibly to accommodate meetings and events taking place in time zones very different from the UK's, or your own home time zone.

Like many people, we've all been working remotely for nearly a year now and we don't expect that to change in the immediate future. Thus we won't be expecting the successful candidate to relocate in the first instance and we welcome applications from those in timezones relatively close to the UK's.

The team is open and welcoming and your employer is flexible and actively seeks creativity and diversity in its staff. If you would like to talk informally before applying you are welcome to contact me (Kevin Ashley). Other DCC staff, past and present, can also reassure you about our working environment.

The post is open-ended and full-time. It is on Edinburgh's scale 8, meaning that your salary will be in the range £41,526 - £55,751 a year with a further pay award pending. There's also a generous holiday entitlement and a range of other benefits. Applications close soon, on July 12th. We are hoping to interview shortlisted candidates in the week immediately following.

Don't delay; apply today.

Kevin Ashley, DCC Director