16 JAN 2014

Developer – University Chemical Database Platform (2 posts)

Job Description

You will have a high level of autonomy to develop a chembio platform for the University. You may have expertise in UX where you have produced highly functional web applications which are a delight to use – intuitive, elegant & simple – using HTML5, CSS & JavaScript / jQuery.  Or you may be a back-end expert specialising in database design & optimisation on open source platforms such as MySQL & PostgreSQL using Python, Django Perl, Java or PHP.  Ideally you will be proficient across the stack, but since we have 2 vacancies we would be delighted to develop a team with complementary skills if you are each great within your specialisation.

The project will be delivered on Agile principles – for developers that means a high degree of personal responsibility, the need for direct interaction with stakeholders, effective waste management & responsive planning.  But that doesn’t mean you will be expected to ‘just do it all – & we don’t need a plan or spec’ – you will be part of a team defining what components provide real organisational benefits within a realistic timeframe for each release.

You should have an existing understanding of biochemistry or cheminformatics & a desire to grow your knowledge in this area with the help of expert colleagues. For instance, you will need to be able to get to grips with computational chemistry software such as RDKit.

You will have a higher degree or extensive equivalent experience in computing, life-science or chemistry; be self-motivated; confident in your communication with colleagues & non-technical stakeholders.

If you are interested in this role, & have the skills & experience we are looking for, please apply online. Don’t forget to include your GitHub or Bitbucket URL in your CV to ensure your application stands out from the crowd.

Skills & Requirements


  •  Act as a primary developer of the University Chemical Database web-platform, including owning the application architecture. This will include database-design and implementation through to web front-end architecture and coding as well as integration with external databases.
  • Assist in the delivery strategy of the project in conjunction with the Project Manager and other team members.
  • Rapidly develop so that users can test requested functionality early and often.
  • Work with users from a variety of scientific backgrounds to ensure that the platform is developed in a manner that enables their science.
  • Ensure relevant and timely documentation is produced, including application support needs, internal user documents and external user documents.
  • Make the platform code-base and documentation available externally as an open-source project.
  • Support users of the platform, both internal and external as part of the creation of the platform’s community.
  • Mentor junior team members as appropriate.
  • Ensure quality is built into the platform from specification through to the maintenance phase.
  • Participate in and support the public engagement and widening access activities of the Department and the University. This is anticipated to be not more than 2 days per year.
  • Carry out any other relevant duties as may reasonably be associated with the post and which may be required from time to time.

Selection criteria


  1. Significant experience in front and back-end design of complex web applications with exceptional attention to detail
  2. A PhD in a life-sciences, chemistry  or computationally-related area, or an equivalent combination of training and experience
  3. An understanding of biochemical and biophysical assay design and implementation OR an understanding of standard cheminformatics methodology
  4. Proven experience of rapidly developing secure, top-to-bottom, web applications using free or open source platforms such as MySQL, PostgreSQL, Django, PHP, Java, Perl, Python
  5. Up-to-date, in-depth knowledge of modern HTML5, CSS and Javascript, including jQuery
  6. Experience of Agile development, or other project management methodologies
  7. Experience of using version control systems such as Git or Subversion
  8. Ability to work as part of a team and to collaborate with a wide range of colleagues.
  9. Excellent ability to communicate effectively (both spoken and written) with a wide range of people, at a variety of levels of technical knowledge
  10. Strong organisational skills including the ability to plan ahead, to reprioritise when necessary, and to work to tight deadlines


  1. An understanding of basic chemical biology concepts
  2. Experience in user-centred design
  3. Use of cheminformatics or computational-chemistry platforms such as RDKit

For further information about working at Oxford, please see:


Send message


We don't store or keep your messages, they are sent directly to Karen Porter. You will recieve a copy in your inbox and all replies from Karen Porter will go straight to you.