Research Software Assistant Engineer

Durham, United Kingdom
£27,929 - £33,314 per annum
29 Nov 2022
End of advertisement period
04 Jan 2023
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

Advanced Research Computing

Grade 6: - £27,929 - £33,314 per annum
Fixed Term - Full Time
Contract Duration: 3 years (in the first instance)
Contracted Hours per Week: 35
Closing Date: 04-Jan-2023, 7:59:00 AM
Disclosure and Barring Service Requirement: Not Applicable.

The Department and role purpose

The Directorate of Advanced Research Computing (ARC) provides a focal point for a broad computational capability that underpins and helps define the nature of research and innovation that can be undertaken with the institution.

ARC’s mission is to deliver a coherent strategy for the computational support of for research: enabling research and innovation to be at the forefront of computational practice; enabling academic leadership through the adoption and evolution of leading technology; fostering associated expertise; and enhancing interdisciplinary collaborations. Leading-edge platforms including High Performance Computing, computational and cutting-edge data analytics methods, and growth and retention of vital capacity in research software engineering and technical R&D are at the core of this endeavour.

As a part of a team of Research Software Engineers you will be working as an integral part of the ARC operation providing a critical role for delivery of this significant, strategic University-wide initiative, requiring a collaborative ‘member of research team’ approach, commensurate with the University’s global research aspirations. Since 2019 the team has grown significantly and has built upon the success of recent funding awards including EPSRC Tier-2, ExCALIBUR, STFC IRIS.

This is a development role within ARC which may be attractive to less-experienced candidates who wish to pursue a career in Research Software Engineering.  The successful candidate will, in addition to excellent software skills, have the ability and potential to develop technical, management and leadership attributes and skills commensurate with a grade 7 RSE position.  Supported by ARC RSE colleagues the post-holder will undertake an agreed development programme taking into account individual needs, providing the additional training and experience that would be required at the higher grade-role.  The plan will be regularly reviewed and form the basis of the criteria to move to a Grade 7 position.

In the first 12 months the candidate will be working on a specific project within ARC in association with the Department of Computer Science, the candidate will be expected to demonstrate:

  • potential to acquire and apply advanced C/C++ programming skills
  • potential to acquire and apply GPU programming skills
  • potential to co-develop large-scale simulation software

In addition the post will eventually involve a wide range of projects across the University including the use of Machine Learning,  Web applications and exploiting the capabilities of the University’s  High Performance Computing facilities particularly in data-intensive applications.

The post-holder is expected to develop deep technical and appropriate domain knowledge to ensure ARC provides appropriate research software development expertise, that will enable strong collegiate relationships with researchers at all levels across the organisation to be formed.

The post holder will also be encouraged to develop their own areas of specialism, in line with the overall objectives and activities of ARC, and have the opportunity to lead areas of activity others as their experience grows.

As a support unit that spans all Faculties across the University, we encourage applications from a diverse range of backgrounds and domains. ARC encourages flexible working and welcomes applications from candidates wanting to be part time or part of a job share arrangement.

Core responsibilities:

  • To become an experienced practitioner in Research Software Engineering, planning and co-ordinating of projects and work streams with inter-related activities.
  • Plan and organise own workload with or without involvement with project work streams.
  • Provide specialist support with problem solving and query handling.
  • Reactive and proactive service provision with others to deliver an excellent stakeholder experience.
  • Supervises  users and stakeholders undertaking activities, events, project work and exhibitions.
  • Interpret, curate, design and present  information, data and resources.
  • Carry out more in-depth investigations, searches and research information and data to identify trends and patterns.
  • Take responsibility for day to day decision making within own area of responsibility for operational aspects of service delivery, translating external requirements into practical application and advice.
  • Implement and monitor recognised procedures to ensure compliance and meet University values of inclusion, diversity and participation.
  • Contribute to business meetings, working groups and committees to help shape service delivery and stakeholder expectations.
  • Support the capture of business requirements from users and work with colleagues to translate these into recommendations for future service provision.
  • To liaise with research colleagues and make internal and external contacts to develop knowledge and understanding to form relationships for future research collaboration.
  • To contribute to the planning of research projects.
  • To assist in contributing to computational based research projects on the use of research methods and equipment. 

Role responsibilities:

  • Provide high-level Research Software Engineering guidance and advice to academic stakeholders to support teaching, research and learning activities within a defined area.
  • Assimilate research context and understand the computational and data analytics algorithms, requirements and interfaces involved in a research programming project.
  • Collect and respond to stakeholder feedback to help define needs and requirements to inform the planning of ARC.
  • Provide technical guidance and advice to solve problems and help shape the delivery of teaching, learning and research outcomes.
  • Carry out a range of activities that includes the commissioning, construction and set-up of test and experimental scenarios and practical sessions.
  • Undertake development work to improve efficiency and effectiveness of software on University and other computing platforms
  • Contribute to promotional events and presentations at conferences.
  • Supervise key stakeholders where necessary.
  • Deliver projects that demonstrate a high-standard of accuracy, complexity, originality and excellence.
  • Provide support to team members to share technical knowledge and expertise.
  • Liaise and network with specialist professionals to exchange knowledge and ideas internally and externally to the organisation.
  • Take responsibility for carrying out more specialist risk assessments and incident resolution.
  • Record, monitor and collate information, analyse patterns and trends as part of teaching and research activities.
  • Any other reasonable duties.

Essential Requirements:


  • Degree in a relevant area (or equivalent experience).


  • Demonstrate the ability to learn advanced  IT skills, commensurate with the role..
  • Demonstrable ability to produce concise and well-written reports for a range of stakeholders.
  • Evidence of continuing professional development.


  • Good oral and written communication skills.
  • Demonstrate the potential to rapidly assimilate the research context and understanding the computational and data analytics algorithms, requirements and interfaces involved in research programming projects.
  • Demonstrate the ability to solve problems and resolve issues, plan solutions and make pragmatic decisions.
  • Demonstrable ability to provide advice and guidance to a range of customers and colleagues.
  • Demonstrable ability to work cooperatively as part of a team, including participating in research meetings.
  • Ability to manage time effectively and work to strict deadlines. Excellent interpersonal and communication skills and
  • Ability to liaise with a range of stakeholders
  • Knowledge of software development best practice including issue tracking, testing, documentation, version control, continuous integration, software re-use and deployment.
  • Experience of relationship building and the potential to turn opportunities into long-term knowledge exchange and collaboration.

Desirable Requirements:


  • A PhD (or be close to submission).


  • Relevant industry and professional recognition and certification of achievement of skills and knowledge.
  • Experience of conducting high quality academic research.
  • Awareness of relevant issues to research software engineering within the higher education context
  • Professional knowledge and expertise in one or more area of technical specialism, and the application of skills to create, build, construct and realise new and innovative Software
  • Experience of research project working within an educational, commercial or industrial environment.


  • Ability to contribute to the planning and management of independent research.

How to Apply

For informal enquiries please contact:

Dr Alan Real, Director ARC alan.n.real@durham.ac.uk

Ed Ruck-Keene, Business Development and RSE Manager e.a.ruck-keene@durham.ac.uk

Rebecca Appleby, ARC Administrator rebecca.appleby@durham.ac.uk

All enquiries will be treated in the strictest confidence.

We prefer to receive applications online via the Durham University Vacancies Site. https://www.dur.ac.uk/jobs/. As part of the application process, you should provide details of 3 referees and the details of your current line manager so that we may seek an employment reference.

At Durham University, our aim is to create an open and inclusive environment where everyone can reach their full potential and believe our staff should reflect the diversity of the global community in which we work.  Applications are particularly welcome from women and black and minority ethnic candidates, who are under-represented in academic posts in the University.

What to Submit

All applicants are asked to submit:

  1. A CV;
  2. A covering letter which details your experience, strengths and potential in the requirements set out above;
  3. Please copy and paste essential and desirable criteria from the requirements into a separate Microsoft Word document, and provide your evidence for each point.  Submit this alongside your other application material.

Please ensure that you submit all documentation listed above or your application cannot proceed to the next stage.

Next Steps

Your application will be assessed against the requirements specification. Shortlisted candidates will be invited for interview and assessment Tuesday the 11th January 2023.

Please note that some criteria will only be considered at interview stage.

We will notify you on the status of your application at various points throughout the selection process, via automated emails from our e-recruitment system.  Please check your spam/junk folder periodically to ensure you receive all emails.