Job Title: Platform Lead (Python).
Salary: £48,114 to £55,750 per annum, plus market supplement up to £14,095.
Contract: Fixed-term for 18 months in the first instance.
Hours: Up to full-time, flexible and part-time working acceptable.
Closing Date: noon on Monday 11 January 2021.
Interview Date: 27/28 January 2021
Vacancy ID: 147140.
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The DataLab at University of Oxford are offering a career-defining opportunity to lead product development within a new, significant, open source research platform, initially developed for the COVID19 crisis.

We are a small, productive, very fast-moving team of software developers, academics, and clinicians, all pooling skills and knowledge to build platforms and tools as well as traditional academic papers. Our vision is to make it easy and enjoyable to do secure, reproducible clinical analytics, and to radically democratise research access to the globally-important datasets hosted within the NHS.

Our work is influential: it features in high-profile mainstream media stories, drives the agenda at parliamentary committees, is regularly referenced in SAGE meetings, and is published in a wide range of very high impact journals. We are currently focussing on building OpenSAFELY: an innovative, open source research environment which places patient privacy first. You can read a summary of press coverage on the OpenSAFELY website. We don’t just produce papers and tools; we advocate for better use of software, including our campaign for all research to share their code

As one of our platform leads, you will be responsible for all internal development and operations of the engineering teams on one component of the OpenSAFELY framework. You will provide training, technical advice, mentorship or coaching to non-engineering colleagues. You’ll own the architectural direction, and provide guidance to build the best possible products, both internally and externally. You will take a hands-on, lead role in the design, coding, testing and documentation of software

You will have a successful track record of delivering the cultural and operational changes required to grow a product suite; be motivated by both strategic thinking and hands-on engineering; demonstrate statistical or data processing experience, academic or commercial, and knowledge of data science tools and frameworks and have expertise in Python, web technologies, and the usual Open Source tooling.

The team is based in the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, Radcliffe Primary Care Building, Woodstock Road, Oxford, OX2 6GG, although currently working mostly remotely. Post-pandemic, the role can continue to be remote, though you should expect to travel to Oxford from time to time, and as such we are looking for UK-based candidates. We can offer flexible working hours, and the role can be part time (at least 3 days a week) or full time.

We encourage applications from groups that are under-represented in software engineering to apply, and we welcome applications from those who don’t have a traditional tech/academic background.

The package includes generous holiday, pension and associated benefits. We encourage experienced candidates who can earn more than this in other sectors to apply, so we can sell you the benefits of working in such a productive team on such interesting and important work.


As we grow; recruit, lead, manage, mentor and grow a team of software engineers, product and UX designers, and data scientists.

Contribute to strategic and operational planning across the DataLab.

Provide leadership to ensure that the digital outputs of the DataLab on OpenSAFELY meet agreed objectives.

Coach and drive a culture of continuous improvement and interdisciplinary collaboration.

Coach non-engineering team members in software engineering techniques and culture.

Champion reproducibility, automation and transparency across the entire organisation.

Development, delivery and continuous improvement of the organisation’s digital product suite and internal operations in line with the research requirements of the DataLab.

Carry out software engineering, devops and data science implementation using state-of-the-art methods at the coal face.

Deliver automated testing, forecasting and anomaly detection systems and constant tracking of performance and recommendations.

Author and collaborate on policy and research papers.

Taking a handsa hands--on, lead role in the design, coding, testing and documentation of on, lead role in the design, coding, testing and documentation of software

Selection criteria:


Commercial-grade coding skills in Python, web technologies, and the usual Open Source tooling, e.g. git, code reviews, continuous integration.

Able to take responsibility for complex apps: this means new features, maintenance and devops.

Self-motivated and able to combine strategic thinking with hands-on engineering skills, with a drive for performance or quality improvement.

Strong interpersonal skills and able to contribute to a supportive, helpful culture and work very closely with end users.

Strong communication skills, including the ability to communicate deeply technical concepts to non-technical audiences.

Aptitude for leadership within a data led team.

Ability to deliver the cultural and operational changes required to grow a product suite.

Personal qualities:

Have a natural curiosity about topics outside their normal area of expertise.

Enjoy working independently, in a small team, with a light management touch.

Have an enthusiasm for solving problems in medical informatics.

Be happy switching between quite different domains – we take joint responsibility for all our outputs and activities.

Have a “leave it better than you found it” mentality, and be willing to work with and improve on code you did not originally write.

Desirable selection criteria:.

Commercial-grade systems administration / DevOps experience covering Linux, postgres, and cloud environments.

Demonstrate statistical or machine learning experience, academic or commercial, and knowledge of data science tools and frameworks.

Research papers in clinical informatics or data science.

Healthcare domain experience, for example epidemiology or pharmacy.

Experience working in a start-up culture