New Research Computing posts

We are looking to recruit an Applications Developer (Research Computing) and a Research Computing Advisor to join the Research Computing team. Both posts will allow the service to meet increased requirements for support and to expand to cater for new needs.

Research Computing Advisor

The Research Computing Advisor plays a liaison role across the University that helps identify generic research support needs and that supports individual research projects. In addition, electronic research skills development and the management of the electronic component of research projects form important parts of this role.

To aid compliance with the RCUK RDM agenda, more generic infrastructure-type solutions are required that can be customised to meet specific academic needs. It is the role of the Research Computing Advisor to gather and monitor these requirements and to assist Applications Developers in the flexible implementation of technical solutions. After the end of such projects, requirements need to be monitored to ensure that support provision remains aligned with academic and funder expectations.

The Research Computing Advisor will allow the service to provide technical contributions to applications for funding from across the University. Such contributions consist of:

  1. researching suitable technical solutions,
  2. identifying the resources needed for the implementation of such solutions and for post-project maintenance of research outputs, and
  3. developing data management and technical project plans.

There is an increased demand for electronic research computing skills development as a result of the RDM agenda. There is also academic interest to engage in the development of digital methodologies to provide new forms of academic expression and/or to allow for new research questions to be asked.

Since 2011 the Research Computing Service has offered a successful student internship scheme for primarily PG students to assist on different projects in exchange for the opportunity to develop new skills and gain experience. The Research Computing Advisor will help to expand these activities.

Applications Developer (Research Computing)

The Applications Developer (Research Computing) develops, tests and deploys technical solutions for both individual research projects and for more generic, infrastructure-type solutions. Furthermore, the role holder produces all relevant technical documentation and is responsible for versioning of developed software and for post-project maintenance to ensure security and that research outputs remain available online for as long as is needed.

Requirements placed on the Applications Developer are varied ranging from the development of research databases, to text encoding, metadata standards or the processing of geo-spacial information. There is also an increasing interest among researchers in making their research outcomes available via mobile apps.

Technical solutions must be designed in such a way that academic requirements with which they interface are met. Examples of recent academic needs include the development of XML vocabularies to describe structurally diverse MSS in a way that allows for consistent results to be retreived when this data is manipulated or the set up of mechanisms that allow for quantitative analysis of information contained in qualitative data.

Research data storage needs

Please help us plan our support provision for research in general and for funder requirements in relation to research data management in particular. For this reason we are looking to obtain an overview of research data storage needs within each School. At this stage we are looking for approximate cumulative figures of the volume of research data that is stored using different types of storage. Please provide an estimate for each type of storage used. We are only interested in research data, and not in any other type of data that is stored by researchers within your School.

We would be grateful at this stage to receive input from each School via Computing Officers or Data Managers to get an overview of current and emerging research data storage and management needs and of the types of support required from IT Services for such activities. Getting as accurate an overview of such needs from within each School as is possible will assist us greatly in the planning of Research Computing support that is available to staff within the University.

Please download the Research Data Survey and return it to Birgit Plietzsch (bp10 [AT] We would very much appreciate responses by Friday, 15th February 2013.


Data relates to any file that is stored on a computer.

Research data is data that is created or re-used by academics as part of research processes, and for which the institution and its researchers have the primary long-term responsibility.

Active data is data  that is used in current research and that needs to be readily accessible without modification or reconstruction.

Long-term storage relates to data that needs to be preserved digitally and kept accessible in the long term. Data that is kept in long-term storage is potentially re-usable, but not necessarily immediately accessible or easy to use.

Service expansion

We’ve had an excellent start to the New Year and are well on the way of being able to exand our service, which is one of our strategic aims.

The University of St Andrews has approved two new permanent posts to join the Research Comptuing team, and we will shortly be recruiting an Application Developer (Research Computing) and a Research Computing Advisor to join our team.

The Application Developer (Research Computing) will help to meet an increased demand from researchers within the Universtiy for bespoke online applications to support research within the University. The Research Computing Advisor will fill a liaison, training and project management role. The focus of both roles is to support research in general and to assist with research data management in particular.

We will make further details of both posts available via this blog shortly.