Research Technology Specialist

The Research Technology Specialist role is within Oxford’s Research Support Services Team. As a key member of this team, the post holder will provide a source of technical consultancy, support and expertise to researchers across the University and will need to engage in dialogue with researchers with varying levels of technical knowledge in the application of IT to their research.

As such, it is anticipated that the post holder will be able to demonstrate an enthusiasm and ability to develop requirements in dialogue with researchers, and be able to draw on a broad range of knowledge to help researchers to understand and tackle their issues regarding the effective collection, management, visualisation and reuse of research data, as well as providing a source of technical support and expertise to support and enable the world-leading research taking place at the University. The main areas of activity for the Research Support Services team and in the role are to:

  • Work in concert with other Research Support Services team members, as well as colleagues across IT Services, the Bodleian Libraries, Research Services and academic departments: the post (and wider team) provides a point of contact for academic researchers needing IT-related advice, support and guidance
  • Engage with researchers and groups across the University to provide technical consultancy in support of research proposal development, as well as providing hands-on practical support and expertise to assist researchers throughout the research life cycle
  • Manage the delivery of projects arising from researcher needs as well as internal IT Services projects that expand the portfolio of applications and services available to researchers as envisaged in the IT Services strategic plan for research
  • Develop, maintain and improve web-based resources to support the academic research community

Given the specialist nature of the role and some of the applications, approaches and technologies that may be used, Oxford has a reasonable expectation that although the post holder should have a background knowledge of a number of the technologies and skills required, it may not be supported by extensive experience.

However, it is expected that the successful candidate must be able to demonstrate enthusiasm and commitment to the development of their technical knowledge and engagement skills in their application. This should be demonstrated through evidencing proactive personal development, seeking out additional responsibilities / activities to acquire improved skills, knowledge and understanding of the current state of practice and state of the art in your current field and preferably in the areas of digital research and research-related use of IT.

As such, recent graduates / postgraduates, and those with transferable experience and skills relevant to this role, who may possess a limited amount of practical experience with respect to the following responsibilities and criteria in the following sections (but with a keenness to learn and develop), are also encouraged to apply.

Actual grade of the role will be determined by the requirements of the role, level of expertise and other selection criteria when the job description is defined.

Essential selection criteria

  • Educated to degree level, or an equivalent recognised qualification or level of experience
  • Demonstrable evidence of good interpersonal skills and the ability to communicate effectively with a wide range of audiences and levels within an organisation, for example researchers/groups, academic conferences, university committees
  • Experience of engaging with researchers or end users and the ability to elicit requirements to  develop specifications or statements of work for work packages and projects
  • Able to act as a technical lead on research technology projects and work packages, preferably supported by experience gained in a research or similar environment
  • Proven ability to work independently, prioritise tasks and respond positively and effectively to changing user priorities and requirements
  • Able to work as part of a small multi-skilled team, sharing knowledge and skills to achieve required outcomes
  • Able to design, develop, maintain and/or support the use of web-based resources for academic researchers preferably with some experience gained in a research or similar environment
  • Able to support researchers in using common research tools/techniques for data management, analysis and visualisation as well as developing widgets, scripts, program customisations to automate workflows and increase productivity for the benefit of end users
  • Demonstrable evidence of following an active learning approach, in keeping skills base and knowledge up to date as well as learning new techniques and technologies

Desirable selection criteria

  • MSc or PhD in data science / analytics discipline, or commensurate technical experience gained from a higher education or commercial background
  • Experience in reproducible research methodologies and tools, including data repositories (such as figshare) and version control systems (such as Git)
  • Demonstrable track record and working experience in the use, support and training of common approaches, tools and languages for data management, analysis and visualisation, for example, R, SPSS, NVivo, MATLAB, Python, relational and/or XML databases, Shiny, figshare, Blender, particularly in a research context.
  • Demonstrable track record in migrating, cleansing, de-duplicating and re-structuring research data for long-term preservation, collaboration and visualisation purposes
  • Experience of working to a recognised best practice framework or methodology within general IT or software engineering
  • Experience of working to a recognised best practice framework or methodology for project delivery
  • Experience in the organisation and/or running of events, such as conferences, workshops and special interest group meetings related to the outreach activities of the team
  • Demonstrable experience in the provisioning, adoption and use of private and public cloud approaches, technologies and services to support delivery in an educational, research-based or commercial environment
  • Experience in the design and delivery of courses to expert and non-expert user communities