Data architect & Technology officer

Natuurhistorische collectie

Naturalis Biodiversity Center in Leiden, is the largest natural history museum in the Netherlands, with a unique collection of huge scientific and cultural value. It provides a key for scientists and the general public to open the door to the rich biodiversity of the Netherlands. Our collections, comprising more than 42 million objects, are part of an international network of biodiversity research and knowledge institutes. With over 120 researchers, Naturalism has the latest and innovative research facilities. In addition to research, Naturalis also provides educational activities for students from different universities. 

Naturalis Biodiversity Center is presently seeking a Data architect & Technology officer.

-36 hours a week

Volg onze verhalen

Bij Naturalis zijn we dag en nacht bezig om de collectie aan te vullen als rijksmuseum, academisch onderzoeksinstituut en erfgoedinstelling.



The Distributed System of Scientific Collections (DiSSCo) is a new pan-European Research Infrastructure (RI) with the vision to place European natural science collections at the centre of data-intensive scientific excellence and innovation for taxonomic and environmental research, food security, health, and the bioeconomy. DiSSCo brings together 115 museums across 21 European countries to unify and serve genomic, geographical, morphological and taxonomic knowledge for the 1.5 billion physical objects held in European collections. Naturalis, holding one of the top-5 natural science collections in the world, provides leadership in the development of DiSSCo. The new RI introduces a step change by massively improving the way scientists discover, access and analyse complex and previously disjoined information deriving from the study of the vast European natural science collections. DiSSCo embarks on a complex preparation and construction programme. The programme is executed through a series of innovation, consolidation and construction projects across multiple European stakeholders.\

The first project that entails a construction component is Synthesys+, a 4-year EU-funded project starting early 2019 with 32 partners and a budget of 10M Euro. One of the main aims of this project is to develop in partnership with Industry a service component called ELViS, the European Loans and Visits System. This will create a unified entry point to the collections for access and visits requests, prioritisation and monitoring.

What will you do?

As part of your responsibilities your role will include the following functions:

  1. Working closely together with the international research community to design infrastructure and data services that fit real science needs, and are cutting-edge in the global research infrastructure landscape;
  2. Guiding the implementation of ELViS and other e-services in close collaboration with industry partners, international organisations and research infrastructure providers;
  3. Comparing technology solutions and take technical decisions in projects that will entail the DiSSCo construction programme;
  4. Designing and detailing the technical roadmap that will enable DiSSCo to become fully operational in 2025 and will link and provide access to all data related to the approx.1.5 billion collection objects in Europe stored in hundreds of currently disconnected collections with a user base of approx. 20,000 researchers;
  5. Providing novel technical ideas and advise as part of the small and focused international team responsible for development of DiSSco;
  6. Translating complex technical architecture in easy to understand graphics and documentation for the collection and research community users and implementers;
  7. Representing DiSSCo and actively advocating and positioning the DiSSCo 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 DiSSCo Research Infrastructure. You will be responsible for designing, documenting and deploying the DiSSCo 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 DiSSCo-linked projects.

Who are we looking for?

We are looking for a talented and innovative Data architect & Technology officer to design and detail the European DiSSCo data infrastructure and e-services and to lead on technical decisions. Hence, to fulfill the responsibilities, the successful candidate will have the following skills:
● 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 architecture in complex international science innovation or infrastructure projects (R);
● Hold a university degree, preferably in data architecture or similar technical study (R);
● Have affinity with the community and field of natural sciences and biology (D);
● Think in long-term, scalable and maintainable but also pragmatic and practical solutions (R);
● Have experience working in distributed work environments (D);
● Be able to travel internationally several times a year (R);
● 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 English fluently and willing to work in an english-speaking environment (R).

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

What we offer

This is a unique opportunity to contribute to the design and development of a new Research Infrastructure, that will transform natural science collections in Europe 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, a vibrant working environment and report to the Coordinator Research-data and E-infrastructure. We offer a one year contract, which can be extended for one year pending performance evaluation and funding availability.

As an employee of Naturalis the Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Museums will be applicable to you. All our employees are incorporated into a pension fund. Naturalis Biodiversity Center promotes gender equality and wants to enhance the diversity of staff members.

We offer a gross salary of max € 4.366,- a month (scale 11 of the Collective Labour Agreement) and an additional 8% holiday allowance and 3,15% end-of-year bonus. Incoming international employees could benefit (depending on conditions and tax regulations) from significant government tax relief (30% ruling) for a set number of years.

Application procedure and further information 

Enquiries concerning the position can be addressed to Wouter Addink (, Coordinator Research-data and E-infrastructure and to Dimitris Koureas, head of the Department and Coordinator of DiSSCo ( For information concerning the procedure or HR issues please contact the HR department (071-751 9191).

Interested in the job? Applicants are invited to submit their application, including a cover letter and CV using het Sollicitatieformulier (application form) before 15 January 2019.

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.
Interviews for the position are expected to take place last week of January 2019.
No (recruitment) agencies please.