Vacancy Technical Consultant - Data Preservation Services

Would you like to join the Data Preservation team as a technical consultant? Technical consultants at SURF help researchers make the most of SURF services and infrastructures by providing support, consultancy, and tailoring solutions to their needs.

  • Educational background: MSc/PhD
  • Location: Amsterdam
  • Employment: 24-40 hours
  • Closing date: 10 March 2021

About SURF and Research Services

SURF supports research and education through innovation and service development, by leveraging its expertise in High Performance Computing, Data Processing and Data Services.

Within SURF, the department Research Services is responsible for the Dutch national supercomputer compute cluster Lisa, and the Data Archive. The Data Preservation Services team that runs, among other services, the SURF Data Archive, a tape library with more than 90 petabytes of research data. The Data Archive plays a central role in the long-term storage and retrieval of scientific research data in the Netherlands and Europe, particularly in fields with very large volumes of data, e.g. the LHC at CERN and the LOFAR telescope.

What does this position entail?

As a technical consultant you will provide advice and support for the SURF Data Archive and other Data services at SURF and you will be involved in European projects on Research Data Management. As a consultant at SURF, you have a deep understanding of scientific research. You can demonstrate and present your knowledge in a professional and engaging way to colleagues, external relations and users. You are able to recognize researchers’ needs for services that SURF is already offering or might develop in the future. You are able to identify possibilities for improvement and innovation, and drive the development of new solutions.

What will you do?

In this role:

  • You will help research communities make optimal use of the services that SURF offers, and translate and explain their needs to our system experts. For this means, you build and maintain relations with scientific researchers, research groups, and supporting functions such as IT departments.
  • You provide effective communication between different teams within SURF and externally - on both a national and international level. You attend (inter)national projects and conferences.
  • You will provide trainings on topics related to research data management (FAIR data, metadata, persistent identifiers, etc.) and on using SURF-services or services that we develop with our partners.
  • You will keep up-to-date, deepen your knowledge, and develop your skills in the domain of research data management and other fields related to high-performance computing.

What we are looking for

We are looking for candidates that serve as the face of our operational team to the outside world. As an ideal candidate, you are analytically strong, proactive, and have an affinity for science, even though you are not doing the scientific research yourself. You enjoy learning new things, particularly new technology, and you learn quickly. You enjoy working independently, but also function well in a team. You have good social skills and recognize yourself in the following:

  • An academic level of thinking and working. You hold an MSc or PhD in a data / computationally-intensive research field such as computer science, artificial intelligence, mathematics, etc. or have equivalent professional experience.
  • Experience with programming (preferably C/C++/Java and/or Python), and good knowledge of Unix/Linux systems.
  • Excellent communication skills. You speak and write fluently in English and preferably also in Dutch.
  • You can present your work at conferences and via technical blogs, e.g., you have written scientific papers or books in the past. 
  • Knowledge of scientific workflows, data processing algorithms and data structures.
  • Knowledge or experience in project management is an advantage.
  • Knowledge or experience in data management or high-performance computing is an advantage.
  • Experience in teaching or delivering training sessions is an advantage.

What we offer

SURF has a very diverse, dynamic, and open environment. It is unique in providing its employees with an opportunity to innovate and experiment with state-of-the-art technology on a very large scale, while also developing and maintaining highly reliable HPC services for researchers on a national and international level. We offer a diversified and challenging job for 24-40 hours (0.6 - 1.0 FTE) with a salary range of € 3.535 to € 5.802 gross based on a full-time appointment. SURF offers extensive training opportunities and excellent fringe benefits, including 36 holidays and a 1st class NS business card. Our office is located at the Amsterdam Science Park, with good public transport facilities nearby. The appointment is initially on the basis of a one-year contract, with the prospect of a permanent employment in the event of good performance and unaltered business conditions.


Please send your motivation letter and cv by 10 March 2021 to for the attention of Sara Ramezani.

An assessment may be part of the application procedure. You must be able to submit a Certificate of Good Conduct (Verklaring Omtrent Gedrag/VOG) during your first month of employment. Acquisition in response to this vacancy is not appreciated.

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