Job Vacancy - N8 CIR RIE Theme Leader

The N8 CIR is establishing a community of professional IT staff who are focused on specialist infrastructure in support of research — research infrastructure engineers (RIEs). We are recruiting an RIE Theme Leader to coordinate this activity.

Job Title: Research Infrastructure Engineering Theme Lead

Duration and Commitment: Up to 30th June 2023 (in the first instance) at 0.2 FTE

Reports to: N8 CIR Director

Responsible for: Designing, developing and driving forward the RIE Theme in concert with other theme leaders; managing / coordinating RIEs working on cross-institutional projects; engaging nationally and internationally as appropriate; jointly leading the support group for the EPSRC National Tier-2 HPC service, Bede.


The N8 Research Partnership (https://www.n8research.org.uk/) is a collaboration of the eight most research intensive Universities in the North of England: Durham, Lancaster, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield and York. The N8 Centre of Excellence for Computationally Intensive Research (N8 CIR - https://n8cir.org.uk/ ) was launched in November 2018 with a 5-year mission to help N8 researchers gain a competitive edge in their research by developing their computational skills and facilitating access to appropriate computational resources, all with the support of a network of research software engineers.

N8 CIR secured funding for an EPSRC National Tier 2 HPC facility, Bede (https://n8cir.org.uk/supporting-research/facilities/bede/) in 2019. Since then the RIE community across N8 has come together to support researchers in the use of the machine.

Overview of the role

The benefits to research of research software engineers (RSEs) are now well established and there is a growing number of professionals employed as RSEs across the UK. The N8 CIR is building on this success by establishing a parallel and overlapping community of professional IT staff who are focused on specialist infrastructure in support of research — research infrastructure engineers (RIEs).

The community will: share knowledge, skills and success stories in areas such as high-performance and high-throughput computing, research storage platforms and cloud-based (e.g., AWS and Azure) developments; raise awareness of the vital nature of the RIE role in support of world-class research; and foster the recruitment and development of future RIEs.

The appointee will lead activities to develop communities of practice for Research Infrastructure Engineers across the partnership. This will involve working closely with the N8 CIR Executive and the Bede Support Group.

We are looking for an effective and capable leader, currently based at a N8 institution, to head the N8 CIR RIE Theme. This will involve working closely with the N8 CIR Executive, the research and RIE community at each of the N8 partners and with the wider RSE and research community including initiatives such as Women in HPC of which we have just become a chapter member.

The successful applicant must be based at one of the N8 institutions – Durham, Lancaster, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield or York. This 0.2 FTE role will suit someone who is not already at 1.0 FTE or for whom the time can be ‘bought out’ from their existing role.

Applications are welcome from all sections of the N8 community regardless of age, sex, gender (or gender identity), ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation and transgender status. We particularly welcome applications from those currently under-represented in the HPC community.

Key responsibilities, accountabilities and duties
  • Build an inclusive community of practice and lead the N8 CIR Project Working Group, which consists of senior Research IT technical staff from all N8 universities.
  • Work with RIEs (and RSEs) across the N8 to complete pieces of work identified as being for the common good.
  • Disseminate good practice across the N8, sharing knowledge, skills and success stories.
  • Coordinate work across the N8 institutions by staff (without direct managerial responsibility).
Person Specification
  • Experience of managing HPC and other specialist IT platforms in support of the research community at a research intensive university; good working understanding of cloud platforms.
  • Be able to demonstrate strategic thinking and vision
  • Demonstrable leadership qualities
  • Be able to build and maintain good relations and networks with diverse research communities
  • Ability to manage / coordinate several projects simultaneously

Application Process

Applicants should send a covering letter and a 2 page CV to gillian.sinclair@manchester.ac.uk by noon on 23rd of July 2021. Interviews are expected to take place online on a date (TBC) between the 16th and 20th of August 2021.

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