We have an amazing post-doc position in our group:

Please apply and please do so via the University system!

Below are all the reasons why you MUST COME AND WORK WITH US!  These are the the kind of thing we can’t fit in the job advert. Please apply, even if you think you don’t yet have the skills – I am sure we can work on that for the right person.

1. Institutional environment

You will be joining The Roslin Institute, a world-famous research institute in Edinburgh which shocked the world in 1996 by producing the first cloned animal from an adult cell, Dolly the Sheep. We continue to carry out world class reseach in biotechnology to this day, but we are now fully embedded within the University of Edinburgh, consistently ranked in the top 20 universities worldwide.

But enough of that “we’re excellent” nonsense 😉

The institute is housed in a brand new building put up in 2011, and is across the road from another new building, the Royal (Dick) Vet School. We have two restaurants on site, and a gym. The site is served by several buses several times a day, and it really is a pleasant place to work. We’re just a little outside the city centre and the views of the local countryside are stunning.

Roslin has a very relaxed atmosphere. There are over 100 PhD students,  and we also have a lively set of post-docs. This means it is easy to make friends and there is always something social going on – for example, Friday is “cake day”, and if you join the cake club you can go and enjoy someone’s cake in the restaurant with all of the other members. You can read the post-doc handbook here!

Honestly, it’s a fantastic place to work and I think you’d love it.

2. Group environment

My aim is to run a relaxed, supportive, open and inclusive group, with a focus on helping individuals realise their objectives, whatever they may be. We have a weekly lab meeting, Thursdays at 9:30am, where we talk about science and people are encouraged to talk about any problems/issues they have, or whatever they have been thinking about (this is not mandatory though, for those of you who are introverts). My door is always open for one-to-one meetings.

My attitude is that I don’t expect you to succeed, but I do expect you to try. Failure is perfectly fine – we can deal with that and I, or other members of the group, can help. All I expect of you is to put the effort in and try. As long as I see sufficient effort on the project you are working on, as long as there is progress, and as long as you make up the time somehow, I am flexible about how, where and when you work.

I encourage group members NOT to work too hard and to take all of their annual leave. If you need flexible working I am 100% OK with that; need Fridays off? No problem. Need to leave every day at 3 to collect your kids? No problem. Want to work from home? No problem. Having two young children myself, I am particularly sensitive to the needs of young families, and I am also committed to helping young parents get back in to work. I also have no age bias – please, if you are interested in one of our positions, apply!

Obviously it’s about balance – it’s good for you to come in and see the other members of the group and to see me, but I am relaxed about this, and will leave it up to you to decide.

3. Research

Our work largely involves analysis of huge amounts of sequence data, either for functional genomics or metagenomics/microbiome. As a lab I encourage everyone to use Snakemake, which has conda and Docker support built in for dealing with software installation issues. However, we are branching out into NextFlow, and one of the jobs will explicitly produce NextFlow pipelines. We have access to a 4000+ core University high performance computing system, and we have begun working with cloud technologies such as Google Cloud Platform and Kubernetes. Most of the group code in Python, though there is a significant amount of R and Perl hanging around. I am an R guru, if you’d like to learn it 😉

I am always happy for folk to learn on the job – if you don’t think you have the skills, but would like to learn them (by doing!) then apply anyway – if you’re the right person and the right fit for the job, we can fill in the technical skills later. Honestly, the technical skills might be the least important. As long as you are comfortable in Linux, everything else can be learned quickly.

Our focus is on discovery biology fuelled by reproducible science. What can we discover that is novel about biological systems using computational biology? We also write and maintain novel software workflows to ensure that (i) our science is reproducible and (ii) others can follow our work and apply it to their own problems.

The group is always full of ideas of what we can do, and we try to keep ourselves at the cutting edge of technology.

4. Edinburgh

Edinburgh is one of the World’s most beautiful cities, with historical buildings, huge green open spaces, and a long golden beach (yes really!). There are too many attractions to list them here, but needless to say, it is an incredible place to live and you will never be short of things to do here. Living expenses are affordable compared to many other cities in the UK and Europe, and decent accomodation at all levels can be found throughout the city; alternatively, many people at Roslin choose to settle just outside the city, in one of the many local villages and towns. There are plenty of options!

5. Funding

Unfortunately I cannot change the academic funding model of the UK single handedly, and so many of the posts in the groupe are 2 or 3 year contracts. However, what I can say is that we have a track record of success in funding and personally I have been consistently funded since 2008, and have current grants that run to 2022 – that will be 14 years of funding from various research agencies with no break. I am confident that I will have positions available for you when you run to the end of your contract, should you wish to stay; if not, there are hundreds of opportunities elsewhere in the University, for all sorts of career paths; and computational biologists are always in demand.

6. Travel

Generally speaking I support travel and attendance at conferences and workshops (within reason, and within budget). Attendance at the UK’s Genome Science conference, which I help organise, is always encouraged and many of the team members attend PAG in San Diego every January. We have an active project with collaborators in Nairobi too, and so travel there is also a possibility. The H2020 project we have is a pan European project, and I expect the post holder to attend meetings throughout Europe in that time. However, if you don’t wish to travel, or can’t, for whatever reason, that’s also fine and we can always discuss the best way to handle meetings that are necessary for the project you’re working on.

7. Salary

Unfortunately the one thing I am not in control of is salary – I am so sorry! I would pay you more if I could! The University sets the pay band, and even worse than that, each project will have been funded with a specific salary band – I have no room to negotiate on this. I wish I did! Hopefully there is enough above to convince you to come and work for me.


That’s it! We have a great group, and we are doing fun and important things. Please come!