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Job advertisement Software Engineer Data Sharing Services for EPOS Multi-Scale Laboratories (28 - 32 hrs/wk)

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European Geosciences Union

Software Engineer Data Sharing Services for EPOS Multi-Scale Laboratories (28 - 32 hrs/wk)

Software Engineer Data Sharing Services for EPOS Multi-Scale Laboratories (28 - 32 hrs/wk)


Utrecht University, Faculty of Geosciences, Department of Earth Sciences

Utrecht University’s Faculty of Geosciences studies the Earth: from the Earth’s core to its surface, including man’s spatial and material utilisation of the Earth – always with a focus on sustainability and innovation. With a population of 3,400 students (BSc and MSc) and 720 staff, the Faculty is a strong and challenging organisation. The Faculty is organised in four Departments: Earth Sciences, Physical Geography, Sustainable Development, and Human Geography & Spatial Planning.

The Department of Earth Sciences conducts teaching and research across the full range of the solid Earth and environmental Earth sciences, with activities in almost all areas of geology, geochemistry, geophysics, biogeology and hydrogeology. The department hosts a highly international tenured staff of over 50 scientists and more than 110 PhD students and postdoctoral researchers. Our research programme spans four intertwined themes: Climate & Life, Earth interior, Earth materials, and Environmental Earth Sciences. We house or have access to a wide variety of world-class laboratories, including our HPT-laboratory.

About Utrecht
Utrecht is the fourth largest city in the Netherlands with a population of nearly 360,000 and forms a hub in the middle of the country. Its historical city centre and its modern central station can easily be reached from our campus in Utrecht Science Park by public transport or by a 15-minute bicycle ride. Utrecht boasts beautiful canals with extraordinary wharf cellars housing cafés and terraces by the water, as well as a broad variety of shops and boutiques.


Utrecht, Netherlands


Relevant divisions
Earth Magnetism & Rock Physics (EMRP)
Geodynamics (GD)
Tectonics and Structural Geology (TS)

Full time

Entry level

See 'Terms of employment'

Preferred education

Application deadline
28 April 2024

9 April 2024

Job description

We are looking for a software engineer to help us in further developing (web)services for international sharing of Earth scientific laboratory data. Data sharing takes place in the context of EPOS, the European Plate Observing System: a European network of research infrastructures for solid earth science, that facilitates the integrated use of open data and research facilities. The position will be embedded in the Department of Earth Sciences of the Faculty of Geosciences.

Your job
In Europe, the main access portal for international solid earth-scientific data is provided by EPOS. EPOS Multi-Scale Laboratories (MSL) is one of the ten discipline groups in EPOS and is coordinated at Utrecht University. It comprises a European community of approximately 100 geophysical research laboratories with varying expertise. An important aim of EPOS MSL is to make solid Earth scientific lab data more FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable). To that end, MSL researchers publish data at various data repositories across Europe, frequently under an ‘open access’ license (e.g. CC BY 4.0). While this ensures that data can in principle be re-used by others, data availability remains highly fragmented across Europe, i.e. difficult to find by potential users. Moreover, metadata assigned to data publications are in many cases limited, unharmonized, or disparate.

In recent years, the EPOS MSL data catalogue was developed to make solid Earth scientific laboratory data, published in multiple repositories across Europe, centrally findable on a single website. The catalogue is developed building upon CKAN as a central catalogue to store and access data publications and laboratory and data repository information. Using custom built CKAN plugins, several functions have been added including a customised frontend. In addition to the CKAN catalogue, several webservices, harvesters and vocabulary management tools have been developed within a PHP/Laravel application supporting the management of the CKAN catalogue.

The main workflow functions as follows:

  • custom harvesters gather metadata of relevant data publications at specific data repositories;
  • metadata is harmonised and enriched before being stored in CKAN;
  • presentation of enriched metadata in a structured, hierarchical form, for optimal findability of harvested data publications;
  • aggregated metadata access is provided using webservices.

Notable other functionality:

  • DataCite search query based on MSL terminology: Identifying MSL-relevant data publications, and where these are published;
  • vocabulary describing MSL terminology accessible using web services and linked data formats.

As software engineer for EPOS Multi-Scale Laboratories you will contribute to:

  • further development of the MSL data catalogue, and the related workflow and webservices;
  • developing tooling to make MSL data more interoperable (e.g. harmonised data products, easy combination of data from multiple data publications);
  • improving user experience, by making MSL data easier to explore interactively;
  • designing the strategy to make MSL data more FAIR, together with a team of researchers, data scientists/managers and project managers.

You will work alongside another software engineer involved in EPOS Multi-Scale Laboratories.

Your qualities
You are interested in the entire process of making solid earth scientific laboratory data more FAIR, and like to be involved in all steps to make this possible. You feel comfortable switching from proposing new ideas, e.g. to locate relevant data publications, to writing code for webservices.

The position requires:

  • demonstrated experience programming in Python and/or PHP;
  • experience working with MVC like frameworks for (web)application development (e.g. Flask, Laravel);
  • contributing to and maintaining software projects (e.g. GitHub, GitLab);
  • frontend development (e.g. HTML, JavaScript, CSS).

Considered advantages are:

  • search platforms and techniques (e.g. SOLR, Elasticsearch);
  • software deployment (e.g. Docker, Vagrant, Ansible);
  • geospatial data (e.g. SOLR, PostGIS, GEOJSON);
  • vocabularies and/or semantic web technologies;
  • experience working in research or publishing contexts.

Terms of employment
We offer:

  • a position for 2.5 years;
  • a working week of 28 to 32 hours and a gross monthly salary between €3,226 and €4,494 in the case of full-time employment (salary scale 10.0 – 10.8 under the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities CAO-NU);
  • 8% holiday pay and 8.3% year-end bonus;
  • a pension scheme, partially paid parental leave and flexible terms of employment based on the CAO-NU.

In addition to the terms of employment laid down in the CAO-NU, Utrecht University has a number of schemes and facilities of its own for employees. This includes schemes facilitating professional development, leave schemes and schemes for sports and cultural activities, as well as discounts on software and other IT products. We also offer access to additional employee benefits through our Terms of Employment Options Model. In this way, we encourage our employees to continue to invest in their growth. For more information, please visit Working at Utrecht University.

In addition to the collective employment conditions, Utrecht University has a number of its own arrangements. These include agreements on professional development, leave arrangements, sports and cultural schemes, and you get discounts on software and other IT products. We also give you the opportunity to expand your terms of employment through the Employment Conditions Selection Model. This is how we encourage you to grow. For more information, please visit working at Utrecht University.

How to apply

For informal questions, please contact Dr Ronald Pijnenburg at

To apply click this link to the equivalent of this advertisement on our own website and follow the guidelines mentioned there. We aim for a quick selection procedure after the application deadline of April 28, 2024. The position can start as soon as possible on mutual agreement.

Note that international candidates that need a visa/work permit for the Netherlands require at least four months processing time after selection and acceptance. Finding appropriate housing in or near Utrecht is your own responsibility and, unfortunately, we must warn that it is a tight market at the moment.

Online screening may be part of the selection. Commercial response to this ad is not appreciated.