Database Biocurator

Job Location
Hinxton, near Cambridge
CB10 1SD
United Kingdom

EMBL is an inclusive, equal opportunity employer offering attractive conditions and benefits appropriate to an international research organisation. The remuneration package comprises a competitive salary, a comprehensive pension scheme and health insurance, educational and other family related benefits where applicable, as well as financial support for relocation and installation.

We provide a dynamic, international working environment and have close ties with both the University of Cambridge and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute.

EMBL-EBI staff also enjoy excellent sports facilities, a free shuttle bus to Cambridge and other nearby centres, an active sports and social club and an attractive working environment set in 55 acres of parkland.

The initial contract is until 31 March 2018 with the possibility of a fixed-term extension.

Job Description

We are seeking an expert Database Biocurator to join the Protein Families team on the Rfam project ( at the European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBI-EBI) which is located on the Wellcome Trust Genome Campus near Cambridge in the UK on a part-time basis (20 hours per week).

The Rfam database is the world leading compendium of non-coding RNA families, which is run from within the Protein Families Team, led by Rob Finn.  The Database Curator will be expected to generate and annotate new Rfam database entries, as well as maintaining and updating existing entries based on both user contributions and scientific literature.  In conjunction with the software developer, the curator will assist in the running of production pipelines to ensure timely data releases.

The Rfam database is a community-oriented project, as particularly exemplified by the use of Wikipedia for storing family annotations. Rfam also has an active user community that submit new data types, additional tools and request data analysis.  Where appropriate the post holder will deal with user submissions and request.  A longer term aspiration of the project is to disseminate the curation tools to the engaged community, and the candidate will test the usability and functionality of these tools, as well as help educate scientists in their use.

The Database Biocurator will work closely with the Rfam software developer on a daily basis and report to the RNA resources project leader.  You will also interact with existing internal and external collaborators.

The EBI is part of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) and it is a world-leading bioinformatics centre providing biological data to the scientific community with expertise in data storage, analysis and representation. EMBL-EBI provides freely available data from life science experiments, performs basic research in computational biology and offers an extensive user training programme, supporting researchers in academic and industry.


You will have a degree or an equivalent qualification/experience in a biological or closely related scientific discipline.  You must have several years' experience in curating biological data, and/or experimentally investigating non-coding RNAs with a good understanding of non-coding RNA structures and multiple RNA-sequence alignments.  You will also have experience of:

  • computational biological data entry
  • conforming to data standards
  • use of widely used bioinformatics tools (ideally related with DNA sequences searching and retrieval)
  • Infernal would be a distinct advantage. 

As a Database Biocurator it is essential you have a passion for science, ideally RNA biology and are able to read, digest and summarise scientific literature.  Excellent communication skills, both written and oral, are a must along with having a good eye for detail, whilst meeting deadlines, and being a good team player.

Your computer skills will include basic/intermediate Linus/Unix commands and experience in the use of bioinformatics tools, both GUI and command-line.  Basic scripting knowledge and basic knowledge of querying relational database, e.g. MySQL, is desirable.

How to Apply

Please apply online through

About Our Organization

EMBL is an inclusive, equal opportunity employer offering attractive conditions and benefits appropriate to an international research organisation.

Applications are welcomed from all Nationalities. Visa information will be discussed in more detail with those selected for interview.

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