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Web Developer

European Bioinformatics Institute

We are looking for an enthusiastic and talented Front-End Software Developer to join the Open Targets team and help us build the next generation of open source and big data tools and services that support the drug discovery process.

Open Targets is a pioneering public-private partnership between Biogen, Celgene, EMBL-EBI, GSK, Sanofi, Takeda, and the Wellcome Sanger Institute. Open Targets brings together the expertise from seven complementary institutions to generate evidence on the biological validity of therapeutic targets and provide an initial assessment of the likely effectiveness of pharmacological intervention on these targets, using genome-scale experiments and analysis. Open Targets aims to provide an R&D framework that applies to all aspects of human disease, to improve the success rate for discovering new medicines, and share its data openly in the interests of accelerating drug discovery.

As a key member of the Open Targets Core Team, you will work on developing and maintaining our two flagship open-source resources - the Open Targets Platform ( and the Genetics Portal ( Together, these two resources integrate, organise, and present vast amounts of biomedical data in order to help research scientists identify and prioritise potential therapeutic drug targets.


Your role

You will join a fast-paced, international, startup-like environment, where the latest technologies in front-end development and data visualisation are utilised to offer our users a best-in-class experience and to influence decisions in the drug discovery area across the world.

You will work in a dynamic, collaborative team environment and will work alongside colleagues and external partners that bring a wealth of experience and a range of expertise from everything from Bioinformatics and Big Data pipelines to data visualisations, user experience, and scientific outreach.

The team is in a rapid growth phase and so we are looking for candidates with a range of experience. We want to hear from junior developers with an outstanding portfolio and passion for learning and trying new technology. And we want to hear from mid-level and senior developers with experience in building scalable software who can drive FE decisions and that want to advance their career. The main responsibilities will include:
  • Solving big data problems and ensuring that front-end applications can handle ever-increasing amounts of data that users demand to facilitate their drug discovery research
  • Designing, developing and improving robust and testable web applications that are deployed and utilised around the world
  • Creating, documenting, and implementing REST API and GraphQL endpoints
  • Building, integrating, and maintaining reusable data visualisation components, including complex graph-based data and ontologies.
  • Collaborating effectively in a multi-disciplinary team environment with data scientists, back-end software developers, and design and outreach experts
  • Investigating, selecting, and recommending appropriate technologies, tools, and libraries to ensure that our resources stay at the leading edge of software development
  • Ensuring the open source and open science nature of the Open Targets project by working with external collaborators on contributions, code documentation, and custom deployments

You have

  • Expert skills in front-end engineering using JavaScript/Typescript, HTML5, and CSS
  • Experience building React web applications (or similar libraries/frameworks such as Angular or Vue)
  • Experience using responsive web design frameworks (Material-UI, SASS/LESS, Twitter Bootstrap, Foundation, etc.)
  • Interest in data visualisation for the web (D3, Canvas, SVG)
  • Experience with version control, code coverage reports, and deployments
Additionally, we also are looking for candidates who:
  • Enjoy collaborating with colleagues and external partners
  • Have excellent communication and interpersonal skills
  • Thrive in a stimulating and international team environment as we have team members from 13 different countries and counting
  • Desire a challenge to integrate and visualise multiple big data sets
  • Are able to work to tight deadlines and handle multiple projects
  • Can interpret and contribute to legacy code, technical specifications, and documentation

You might also have

And if you bring any of the following skills or experience, that’s a plus:
  • Experience in the development or maintenance of APIs
  • Experience building reusable and scalable components and packages that can be shared across multiple websites/platforms
  • Familiarity with some of the other technologies we use, including GraphQL, Spark, ElasticSearch, Google Cloud, Docker, Netlify, and/or ClickHouse
  • A solid understanding of web application development processes: from requirements gathering and user interface design to testing and deployment
  • Understanding of web application security, scalability, performance and reliability
  • Familiarity in other languages such as Python, Scala, Java or R
  • An interest or experience in life sciences

Why join us

At EMBL-EBI, we help scientists realise the potential of ‘big data’ in biology by enabling them to exploit complex information to make discoveries that benefit mankind. Working for EMBL-EBI gives you an opportunity to apply your skills and energy for the greater good. 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 are located on the Wellcome Genome Campus near Cambridge in the UK, and our 850 staff are engineers, technicians, scientists and other professionals from all over the world.

EMBL is an inclusive, equal opportunity employer offering attractive conditions and benefits appropriate to an international research organisation. The remuneration package comprises a competitive salary, a comprehensive pension scheme and health insurance, educational and other family related benefits where applicable, as well as financial support for relocation and installation. For more information about pay and benefits click here.

We have an informal culture, international working environment and excellent professional development opportunities but one of the really amazing things about us is the concentration of technical and scientific expertise – something you probably won’t find anywhere else.

If you’ve ever visited the campus you’ll have experienced first-hand our friendly, collegial and supportive atmosphere, set in the beautiful Cambridgeshire countryside. Our staff also enjoy excellent sports facilities including a gym, a free shuttle bus, an on-site nursery, cafés and restaurant and a library.

What else you need to know

To view a copy of the full job description please click here

To apply please submit a covering letter and CV through our online system. Applications are welcome from all nationalities and this will continue after Brexit. For more information please see our website. Visa information will be discussed in more depth with applicants selected for interview.

EMBL-EBI is committed to achieving gender balance and strongly encourages applications from women, who are currently under-represented at all levels.

Appointment will be based on merit alone.

This position is limited to the project duration specified.

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