Purpose and responsibilities of the post

We are seeking an experienced, collaborative technical leader for the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) DARE UK (Data and Analytics Research Environments UK) programme. The purpose is to lead the establishment of the technical requirements, define the use cases and establish options for the technical implementation of a novel and sustainable national federated data research infrastructure across the UKRI Councils. This will build on the work already completed in the first year of the programme.

The post holder will be collaborating with a wide range of technical leaders and researchers to establish working groups to analyse these requirements and initiate pilot work to explore implementation options.  It is anticipated that this role will further develop to lead through a series of open and collaborative workstreams the production implementation of these services in future phases of the programme.

This individual will be responsible for:

  • Identifying the requirements across the UKRI Councils for the federated and secure access to data for research.
  • Establishing a range of design options for a novel and sustainable national federated digital infrastructure (including, for example, services, API/interoperability frameworks, TREs, privacy enhancing technologies, standards and supporting policy and governance frameworks), to be co-developed with users, funders, public, technology providers and data custodians and that provides a range of capabilities that can be flexibly deployed to support different analytical requirements.
  • Identifying use cases for specific aspects of the approach and options under consideration, including implications for the overarching designs.
  • Supporting a programme of stakeholder listening and engagement activities and events that contribute to the design and build confidence and buy-in among stakeholders in the proposed approach.
  • Developing a detailed technical delivery plan for future phases of the programme.
  • Establish working groups to provide leadership to initially pilot implementations of the federated core services.

The role will involve a broad range of activities and requirements:

  1. Key to success is delivering an infrastructure that demonstrates trustworthiness and has the full confidence, and meets the needs of, data custodians, users (scientists), and the public – now and in the future.
  2. Community co-design that is inclusive and transparent, engaging a range of stakeholders from across different disciplines and sectors, to ensure that a shared capability is established and with a clear vision of what needs to be achieved.
  3. Working with stakeholders from across the UKRI councils and their respective research communities to establish open working groups to explore, pilot and implement APIs and services to establish a federated TRE infrastructure.
  4. Building on best practice, develop a “TRE blueprint” of standards, access and ethics policies, and technical services for sensitive data (which may include APIs, micro-services and how TREs inter-operate within a UK digital research ecosystem).
  5. Gather detailed technical specification for the standards and services. Focus on providing the context and facilities to maintain the integrity of a trustworthy data research ecosystem for distributed data linkage and analysis.
  6. Evaluate and promote the use of Privacy Enhancing Technologies.
  7. Selection of a small number of driver research use cases to: (i) test and inform the iterative development of the TRE service capability; (ii) provide an important and conspicuous research ‘launch-pad’ for the DARE UK services.

It is expected that a range of approaches will be deployed including: conferences/workshops; sprint projects (real world test projects to try out ideas and solutions); sandboxes; prototyping (to build/test data service solutions before implementation at scale); webinars.

The post will report to the DARE UK National Digital Research Infrastructure Programme Director

Knowledge, skills and experience

Requirements

  • Substantial and successful track record of technical delivery at a senior level in a large, complex, multi-stakeholder organisation.
  • Proven experience of requirement analysis and use case design across multi-functional organisations.
  • Experience in the delivery of complex, large-scale, user-focused data products, resources and services; with good understanding of ethical and public trust dimensions.
  • Experience of developing and operating data infrastructures for research (including security, privacy, cybersecurity, storage, analytics, standards) gained either in industry or academia.
  • Awareness of the requirements of data analysis across multiple research domains.
  • Hands-on experience with some or all of federated/distributed data analysis, state-of-the-art public cloud technologies and HPC/HTC environments.
  • Understanding of the approaches needed to build secure environments for trustworthy research on sensitive data. Awareness of the role of Privacy Enhancing Technologies (PETs) in secure implementations.
  • Able to be both a strategic leader (proactively identify opportunities and developing plans to realise them) and a hands-on deliverer.
  • Experience working with cross functional teams and with many delivery partners, particularly, demonstrating an ability to build a strong relationship and credibility with Technology, Engineering and Science teams in industry, NHS, academia, charities and government.
  • First class written and verbal communications, including experience at leading technical workshops and delivering technical and lay written reports.
  • Emotional intelligence, political awareness and the ability to quickly adapt to – and embrace – the values and cultures of different stakeholder organisations.
  • Commitment to HDR UK’s values – Transparency, Optimism, Respect, Courage and Humility.
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