Data & Systems Architect

Scagliolabrakkee / Neutelings Riedijk Architects Atrium

A key position to the future development of the Naturalis and the ARISE research infrastructure, that will drive the future of biodiversity research and monitoring.

Naturalis is looking for a Data & Systems Architect 36 hours a week, starting  November 2021.


Naturalis Biodiversity Center in Leiden is the Dutch national institute for biodiversity and systematics. With our collection of 42 million specimens, one of the world's largest natural history collections, and our state-of-the-art research facilities we offer the (inter)national research infrastructure for species identification and monitoring. We present the history of our planet, and the diversity of life on Earth, through permanent and temporary museum exhibitions, educational programmes and online presence, with more than 400.000 visitors per year. 
The Naturalis data and system architecture must serve a variety of business priorities and users. These priorities include the development of comprehensive data-driven scientific infrastructures and our business unit objectives, including the digital transformation of the organisation. 
Additionally, within Naturalis, the ARISE programme spearheads the innovation and further development of all aspects and facets of data management - from strategic choices in organizing and handling data to tactical and operational matters surrounding standardization, interoperability and technical solutions.
The NIEBA ARISE (Netherlands Infrastructure for Ecosystem and Biodiversity Analysis: Authoritative and Rapid Identification System for Essential biodiversity information) is a programme funded by NWO under the National Roadmap for Large-Scale Research Infrastructure and aimed at establishing a unique end-to-end infrastructure for the interpretation of evidence of the occurrence of species from digital sensors and eDNA. 

This new infrastructure knits together big data management, FAIR data architecture/digital objects, interoperability of various data sources and ML algorithms and end-user focused services (e-services) to drive species recognition and biodiversity monitoring at scale. ARISE will therefore introduce a step change by massively improving access and analysis of complex and previously disjoined information.
The programme is executed through a series of innovation, consolidation and construction projects across multiple consortium partners and stakeholders and with a strong intertwined link with the Naturalis Biodiversity center infrastructure. 


The vacancy is for the key role of data and systems architect within Naturalis and the ARISE programme. The Initial focus of this role will be, but not limited by:

  • Understand and translate business objectives to efficient data and system architectures for Naturalis and ARISE infrastructures
  • Understand software, hardware, and user interactions, integrations, and interfaces in support of user needs
  • Work within the existing IT ecosystem of Naturalis and drive change management based on the envisaged architecture
  • Direct the construction and implementation of the first core components of the ARISE infrastructure and e-services
  • Construction of a data management infrastructure, including storage and interoperability solutions 
  • Designing and implementing a digital object infrastructure, following FAIR principles.
  • The species reference data knowledge service, combining various existing and new  databases into a virtual knowledge structure
  • Align IT and Data governance with business requirements 
  • Align architectural principles across international infrastructures, e.g. DISSCo, Catalogue of Life and GBIF
  • Guide the further development of ARISE components and align these developments with existing and new activities and systems in Naturalis and the partners

Job description
and expectations

We are looking for a talented and innovative Data and Systems Architect to oversee design and to lead on technical decisions for the Naturalis and ARISE data infrastructure and e-services.
As part of your responsibilities your role will include the following functions: 

  • Working closely with the Naturalis and ARISE community to design data principles, infrastructure and data services that fit real science needs, and are cutting-edge in the global research infrastructure landscape
  • Guiding the implementation of data standards, data management and other core components in close collaboration with Naturalis and ARISE teams and stakeholders, e.g. (international) species and biodiversity organisations and research infrastructure providers, e.g. SURF and eScience center
  • Comparing technology solutions and take technical decisions in the ARISE programme that will interconnect with the Naturalis infrastructure
  • Designing and detailing the technical roadmap that will enable ARISE to become operational in an iterative, Agile, manner, while evolving the Naturalis infrastructure; 
  • Driving the implementation of some key infrastructural data technologies as a basis for other systems and projects
  • Providing novel technical ideas and advice based on state of the art knowledge 
  • Translating complex technical architecture in easy to understand graphics and documentation for the technical teams, research community users and other stakeholders
  • Representing Naturalis and ARISE and actively advocating and positioning the ARISE data architecture at the forefront of novel data architecture in international workshops and meetings

 This is a key position to the future development of the Naturalis and the ARISE Research Infrastructure. You will be responsible for designing, documenting and deploying data architecture and for coordinating, planning and guiding the technical development. As a data architect, you will be also called to contribute intellectually and provide technical leadership to future Naturalis-linked projects.

Skills and Education

You will be asked to provide evidence of skills and competencies that directly support your capacity in the roles described above. 
We expect you to:

  • Have a solid understanding of the processes, limitations and technical solutions in development of data infrastructure for international science, in particular on data processing, linking and indexing (R)
  • Have experience in designing data and system architecture in complex international science innovation or infrastructure projects (R)
  • Have (hands-on) experience in implementing technical/infrastructure solutions related to data management, and affinity with the skills needed to implement and manage these (R)
  • Be able to absorb and process large amounts of information to inform decisions (R);
  • Hold a university degree, preferably in data architecture or similar technical study (R)
  • Have affinity with the community and field of natural sciences, biology, biodiversity research or other societal relevant topic (D)
  • Think in long-term, scalable and maintainable but also pragmatic and practical solutions (R)
  • Have experience working in distributed work environments (D)
  • Be self-motivated, feel responsible and happy to complete tasks with minimum supervision (R)
  • Think in an innovative manner and able to articulate and sell novel ideas clearly and in context (R)
  • Speak Dutch (D) and English (R) and willing to work in an Dutch/English-speaking environment (R)

(R): Required qualification
(D): Desirable qualification

we offer

This is a unique opportunity to contribute to the design and development of a new Research Infrastructure, that will drive the future of biodiversity research and monitoring in the Netherlands and Europe. It will help transform Naturalis into a leading facility for global trans-disciplinary research that will aid in finding solutions for societal challenges in climate change, health and management of natural resources. 
The position enables a highly dynamic and promising career path in e-science infrastructures and data architecture for scientific data in biodiversity and geodiversity, with the opportunity to promote open source, open data and to have direct involvement with the user community. 

You will be positioned in Naturalis Biodiversity Center in Leiden, the Netherlands in the Department for International Biodiversity Infrastructures, and report directly to the CIO of Naturalis. We offer initially a one year contract, with option to extend pending performance evaluation and funding availability. A salary between € 3.405,00 and € 5.214,00 gross per month depending on relevant experience on the basis of a 36-hour working week. The job level is under evaluation and has to be determined definitely. Incoming international employees could benefit from significant government tax relief (30% ruling) for a set number of years.

As an employee of Naturalis the Collective Employment Agreement of Dutch Museums will be applicable to you. All our employees are incorporated into a pension fund. Naturalis Biodiversity Center promotes gender equality, accepts applications without distinction on the grounds of colour, racial, social or ethnic origin or sexual orientation, and wants to enhance the diversity of staff members.

procedure and further information

Enquiries concerning the position can be addressed to Dimitris Koureas, Naturalis CIO ( For information on the ARISE programme you can contact Elaine van Ommen Kloeke (, Programme manager ARISE. For information concerning the procedure or HR issues please contact the HR department (, 
071 - 7519 176). 

Interested in the job? Please use this form for your application no later than 29 August 2021 23.00 h CEST.
Please include your GitHub ID, ORCID or other relevant accounts and indicate in the application how you found this job advertisement. An assessment may be part of the selection procedure. We look forward to hearing from you.

Acquisition is not appreciated.