Technical Manager for High Performance Computing

Updated: 7 days ago
Location: Durham, ENGLAND

Technical Manager for High Performance Computing (
Job Number:
Department of Physics
Grade 7: - £35,333- £37,474 per annum (Pro Rata)
Fixed Term - Full Time
Contract Duration: 36 months
Contracted Hours per Week: 35
Working Arrangements: Full or part time to suit applicant, within normal Monday-Friday office hours. Some flexibility for occasional out of hours working would be helpful.
Closing Date
: 17-Mar-2023, 7:59:00 PM
Disclosure and Barring Service Requirement: Not Applicable. 

The University 

At Durham University we are proud of our people.  A globally outstanding centre of educational excellence, a collegiate community of extraordinary people, a unique and historic setting – Durham is a university like no other. We believe that inspiring our people to do outstanding things at Durham enables Durham people to do outstanding things professionally and personally.      

Across the University we have a huge variety of roles and career opportunities, which together make us a large and successful community, which is a key hub of activity within our region and nationally.  We would be thrilled if you would consider joining our thriving University.     

Further information about the University can be found here .   

The Department and Role Purpose

The Institute for Computational Cosmology (ICC) within the Department of Physics performs world-leading research with a high international reputation and is one of the largest groups in Europe dedicated to theoretical cosmology. The ICC operates and maintains a high-performance computing (HPC) facility, COSMA, on behalf of DiRAC (, a UK national facility.  This service constitutes the largest academic system in the North of England and is designed to support scientific workflows which require large RAM volumes, for example cosmological simulation.

This role will be engaged with the continued operation of the COSMA DiRAC Memory Intensive service, both routine maintenance procedures, user support and also research and development projects leading to new capabilities and facilities for both users and support staff. The applicant will liaise with DiRAC researchers in cosmology and other areas to understand their codes and develop expertise in the efficient running of these codes on HPC facilities, including some code development to optimise use with new hardware. The applicant will have the opportunity to lead both software and hardware projects helping to shape the future of UK HPC.  The applicant will also work with other support staff and with the other DiRAC technical support teams to deliver an effective HPC service for users, including responding to user queries. The applicant will be a member of the ICC Staff, and their primary role is to support the scientific research of the users of the DiRAC Memory Intensive service. There will be opportunities for training to support the career development of the successful applicant, both within Durham and in collaboration with other DiRAC and/or industry partners.  The applicant will have opportunities to travel to conferences and HPC events and will be involved with regular meetings with other HPC facilities from across the UK. 

Further information about the role and the responsibilities is at the bottom of this job description.      

Working at Durham       

A competitive salary is only one part of the many fantastic benefits you will receive if you join the University: you will also receive access to the following fantastic benefits:       

  • 30 Days annual leave per year in addition to 8 public holidays and 4 customary days per year – a total of 42 days per year.     
  • The University closes between Christmas and New Year.
  • We offer a generous pension scheme, As a new member of staff you will be automatically enrolled  into the University Superannuation Scheme (USS).   
  • No matter how you travel to work, we have you covered.  We have parking across campus, a cycle to work scheme which helps you to buy a bike and discount with local bus and train companies.   
  • There is a genuine commitment to developing our colleagues professionally and personally.  There is a comprehensive range of development courses, apprenticeships and access to qualifications and routes to develop your career in the University.  All staff have dedicated annual time to concentrate on their personal development opportunities.    
  • Lots of support for health and wellbeing including discounted membership for our state-of-the-art sport and gym facilities and access to a 24-7 Employee Assistance Programme.   
  • University Nursery is available and children’s clubs in the summer holidays.   
  • Family friendly policies, including maternity and adoption leave, which are among the most generous in the higher education sector (and likely above and beyond many employers).   
  • The opportunity to take part in staff volunteering activities to make a difference in the local community   
  • Discounts are available via our benefits portal including; money off at supermarkets, high street retailers, IT products, the cinema and days out at various attractions.    
  • A salary sacrifice scheme is also available to help you take advantage of tax savings on benefits.    
  • If you are moving to Durham, we can help with removal costs and we have a dedicated team who can help you with the practicalities such as house hunting and schools.  If you need a visa, we cover most visa costs and offer an interest free loan scheme to pay for dependant visas.     

Durham University is committed to equality, diversity and inclusion

Our collective aim is to create an open and inclusive environment where everyone can reach their full potential and we believe our staff should reflect the diversity of the global community in which we work.       

As a University equality, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) are a key part of the University’s Strategy and a central part of everything we do.  We also live by our values and our Staff Code of Conduct,  At Durham we actively work towards providing an environment where our staff and students can study, work and live in a community which is supportive and inclusive. It’s important to us that all of our colleagues are aligned to both our values and commitment to EDI.      

We welcome and encourage applications from members of groups who are under-represented in our work force including people with disabilities, women and black, Asian and minority ethnic communities.  If you have taken time out of your career, and you feel it relevant, let us know about it in your application.  If you are a candidate with a disability, we are committed to ensuring fair treatment throughout the recruitment process. We will make adjustments to support the interview process wherever it is reasonable to do so and, where successful, reasonable adjustments will be made to support people within their role.

Core responsibilities:

  • Recognised professional practitioner and service specialist.
  • Implement changes to the design and development of service processes, techniques and deliverables for one or more service strands or project streams.
  • Provide specialist expertise and support with complexity of data and information sources, interpretation and analysis.
  • Contribute to development of operational service activities to ensure excellence in the stakeholder experience.
  • Collect and analyse stakeholder feedback to help define needs and requirements and the design and planning of services.
  • Internal and external relationship development and partnership working, networking and participation to engage and influence future services and the University reputation.
  • Identify and design activities to meet learning objectives and outcomes.
  • Deliver training, teaching and/or development delivery for stakeholders.
  • Maintain an awareness of current policy for University business goals such as widening participation and access, and provision of advice using specialist knowledge.
  • Contribute to and lead business meetings, working groups and sub-committees at departmental and operational service levels.
  • Responsible for managing small budgets for consumables and some capital items, keeping records and processing invoices.

Role responsibilities:

  • Provide day-to-day management for the delivery of a high-quality technical and/or experimental facility/platform and service to ensure teaching, learning, research and knowledge exchange outputs.
  • Collaborate with internal and external academics, industry and technical specialists to support the delivery of teaching, learning and research projects, contributing to the generation of external income.
  • Take responsibility for the design, set-up, maintenance and integrity of teaching, research and learning facilities, technology and resources within a specialist area, namely HPC.
  • Provide specialist technical problem-solving advice to inform activity and project planning, continuous improvement and service development.
  • Provide guidance and advice on University health and safety and compliance issues in specialist area.
  • Apply maintenance schedules to ensure the smooth, safe and efficient use of technology, facilities and services to teaching, research and learning activities.
  • Supervise service users during practical and test teaching, learning and research work activities, projects, and self-directed sessions.
  • Provide support to ensure the delivery of undergraduate and post graduate teaching and learning activities, and income generation where appropriate.
  • Develop, modify and optimise protocols and methodologies.
  • Contribute to the planning, design and delivery of research outputs and prepare innovative teaching/research proposals.
  • Contribute to promotional events and presentations at conferences.
  • Liaise with internal and external agencies, local authorities, industries and visitors where appropriate.
  • Design, build and maintain complex, specialist teaching and research apparatus, equipment, instruments, systems and appliances.
  • Take responsibility for monitoring and updating risk assessments and safety procedures, providing guidance to others where necessary.
  • Record, monitor and collate information, analyse patterns and trends as part of teaching, learning and research activities.
  • Provide advice on digital tools and infrastructure to ensure an appropriate pedagogical approach to developing world class teaching. 
  • Any other reasonable duties.

Specific role requirements

Applicants must demonstrate the ability to fully engage in the services, citizenship and values of the University.  The University provides a working, research and teaching environment which is inclusive and welcoming and where everyone is treated fairly with dignity and respect.  Candidates will be expected to demonstrate these key principles as part of the assessment process.

The essential criteria for this post are:

  • Experience with a Unix-based environment (e.g. Linux, Mac OSX), including the command line.
  • Experience working as part of a team.
  • Experience working in a support, research or development environment.
  • Ability to self-manage a complex workload and prioritise effectively.
  • Ability to network and develop professional relationships within and outside the ICC.
  • Ability to understand the environmental infrastructure supporting HPC.
  • Physical ability to access and manipulate computer and data centre hardware.
  • A good honours degree in a STEM subject or equivalent experience.
  • Fluent in one or more scripting languages (e.g. Python, Bash, etc).
  • Resident, or intention to reside within 30 minutes of the Physics department.
  • Desirable criteria (for which candidates should provide evidence of some, if not all criteria) are:

  • Experience with end-user engagement and user support.
  • Experience writing documentation and support manuals.
  • Experience working with HPC including computing, storage and networking.
  • Up to date knowledge of how to secure a system against security attacks.
  • Experience in working to deadlines and dealing with unexpected issues.
  • Experience with one or more web development frameworks.
  • Experience with virtualisation and containers.
  • Experience with Python.
  • Experience leading successful implementation of sub-projects.
  • Experience with data interpretation and information processing.
  • Experience engaging with suppliers.
  • Experience with server maintenance and ability to safely manipulate specialist computing hardware.
  • Experience with long-term strategic planning.
  • Experience with databases.
  • Experience with data curation techniques.
  • Experience with web frameworks such as Django
  • A scientific background in an area such as cosmology
  • Recruiting to this post

    In order to be considered for interview, candidates must evidence each of the essential criteria required for the role in the person specification above (including those listed in the section ‘Realising Your Potential Approach’). 

    In some cases, the recruiting panel may also consider the desirable criteria, so we recommend you evidence all criteria in your application. 

    Please note that some criteria will only be considered at interview stage.

    How to apply

    We prefer to receive applications online.

    Please note that in submitting your application Durham University will be processing your data. We would ask you to consider the relevant University Privacy Statement which provides information on the collation, storing and use of data.

    What you are required to submit

  • A CV;
  • A covering letter which details your experience, strengths and potential in the requirements set out above.  Please spell out (e.g. as a bullet list) how you meet the essential and desirable criteria.
  • Please ensure that you submit all documentation listed above or your application cannot proceed to the next stage.

    Contact details

    For further information please contact Alastair Basden, , 07771 335593.

    At Durham University, our aim is to create an open and inclusive environment where everyone can reach their full potential and believe our staff should reflect the diversity of the global community in which we work.  We welcome and encourage applications from members of groups who are under-represented in our work force including people with disabilities, women and black, Asian and minority ethnic communities.

    We will notify you on the status of your application at various points throughout the selection process, via automated emails from our e-recruitment system.  Please check your spam/junk folder periodically to ensure you receive all emails.

    View or Apply

    Similar Positions