Trusted Research Environment Lead
Research Business Assurance
King’s College London (KCL) is recruiting for an experienced Trusted Research Environment Lead to design, deploy and support a new platform and service model, to help facilitate research using confidential and sensitive research data at KCL.
The Trusted Research Environment Lead ( TRE Lead) is a new role at KCL, reporting into the e-Research team. This post presents a great opportunity to be one of the first recruits into a new team, with significant investment planned over the next 3 years. KCL is at the start of a significant reboot of its e-Research function having invested £2,500,000+ over the past 18 months on core platforms for providing Cloud, Storage and HPC capabilities to its world-leading researchers. The TRE Lead will play a leadership role within e-Research, responsible for developing a mission-critical service for researchers at KCL
The TRE Lead will be responsible for designing the Trusted Research Environments which are to be implemented to support research using sensitive and identifiable data at KCL. Trusted Research Environments will be designed and implemented individually on a per-project or a per-group basis – the TRE Lead will be responsible for providing the system administration of this (predominantly) MS Windows infrastructure stack for these projects – ensuring that the platform is available, stable, secure and delivers to the expectations of the users. The TRE Lead will also be responsible for managing the user software stack required on the TRE platforms, including common CDMS systems such as REDCap and OpenClinica, as well as packages such as R, Stata, Python, etc.
KCL is a diverse, research-focussed University with an annual research income of around £200 million. A significant proportion of this income is for research projects within the Health Schools, many of which could benefit, or require the use of a Trusted Research Environment for hosting and managing sensitive and identifiable research data. The TRE Lead is a critical role at KCL for ensuring that research projects using sensitive data can be carried out in a compliant manner, on a robust and easy-to-use platform.
The TRE Lead will be required to provide leadership, both within e-Research, as well as across the KCL research community. The TRE Lead will have the opportunity to grow a small team to ensure that the e-Research TRE services scale across KCL, and are delivered to a high-quality to users.
This post will be offered on an indefinite contract .
This is a full-time post.
A summary of some key responsibilities for the Trusted Research Environment Lead are as follows:
- Working with the rest of the e-Research Scientific Computing Infrastructure team to develop the TRE designs which are to be implemented within the existing infrastructure stack.
- Ensuring that KCL TRE designs are based upon current standards and best practices in Trusted Research Environment architectures.
- Assisting the implementation of TREs with the Scientific Computing Infrastructure team.
- Leading the testing of the administrator- and user-functional capabilities of TREs, prior to them being accepted into production.
- Leading the system administration and engineering of the TRE platforms – predominantly managing a MS Windows based infrastructure stack and user productivity platform.
- Configuring TRE platforms for the specific needs of research groups.
- Installing application stacks required by research groups (e.g., statistical analysis packages, etc.)
- Patching and updating TRE platforms as required.
- Monitoring the operational performance of the TRE tenancies, and responding to, and managing incidents arising on the platforms.
- Supporting users with requests and incidents on the platform.
- Installing, validating, patching and updating the key TRE applications.
- Providing 2nd-line support for users of the key TRE applications (e.g., providing advice, and debugging common user problems).
- Working with 3rd-line (vendor or user community) application support to resolve issues.
- Reviewing, validating and approving new application requests for installation on a TRE platform.
- Consulting with research groups to understand their technical needs – what they are trying to do in their research project, and feeding this back to the e-Research team, e.g., addressing questions such as: (i) do we need more GPUs to support emerging projects? (ii) are our systems locked-down enough? and (ii) what data interfaces are required across KCL, etc.?
- Understanding the community best practice – i.e., what other groups are doing with TREs, in other universities and research centres.
- Working to understand technical requirements and best practices of the KCL NHS Trust partners though King’s Health Partners (KHP).
- Creating a technical review panel, or similar, of academics and research centre leads, for reviewing and validating research projects as fit for hosting on the TRE platform.
- Developing processes and documentation (e.g., SOPs, in alignment with institutional SOPs) for the validation of the TRE platform and key applications managing research data.
- Performing regular validations of key processes, such as research data backup recovery
- Developing the user documentation to support the platforms which are implemented. The documentation should address the most frequent and basic user questions and queries. The user documentation content should be high-quality, and based around the current methods used in e-Research.
- Training users, in group sessions, on how to use their TRE platform. The content of these training sessions should be designed for non-experts.
The above list of responsibilities may not be exhaustive, and the post holder will be required to undertake such tasks and responsibilities as may reasonably be expected within the scope and grading of the post.
Skills, knowledge, and experience
- Degree in Computer Science, Informatics, Physical Sciences, Engineering, Computational Biology/Bioinformatics or a postgraduate qualification (e.g., MSc, PhD) in a relevant area
The Trusted Research Environment Lead should have demonstrable skills in deploying, managing and supporting users on a Windows-based infrastructure. Ideally, the TRE Lead should also be proficient managing linux-based infrastructures. Some key skills required for the TRE Lead include the following:
- Proficiency in administering and managing a multi-user hypervisor-based MS Windows-based converged infrastructure including MS Windows Server, VDI, etc.
- Competency in managing a modern linux-based infrastructure.
- Capabilities in developing high-quality user documentation, and designing and developing training programs for users to adopt Trusted Research Environment platforms.
- Proven abilities in providing high-quality, high-performing operational support of research-IT/e-Research platforms, ensuring high-availability and high-levels of user satisfaction.
- Experience with modern systems administration tooling (e.g. Puppet, Ansible, Git)
- Experience with both PowerShell and Python
- Experience with private/public cloud and virtualisation technologies (e.g. OpenStack, VMWare, AWS, Azure)
- Experience working with and tuning automated monitoring systems
- Experience implementing the technical controls required in a Trusted Research Environment or Data Safe Haven.
- Strong troubleshooting and performance profiling experience on Windows (e.g. familiarity with sysinternals suite)
- Excellent project management and prioritisation skills, this role will be responsible for managing the onboarding pipeline of the TRE environment which is likely to be highly popular and populated by research projects with 6 and 7 figure grant funding budgets
The TRE Lead should have an in-depth knowledge of supporting research, especially healthcare informatics or research based on sensitive, identifiable or clinical data. The TRE Lead should have knowledge of:
- Typical workflows and pipelines for users in health informatics or clinical trials, in a Trusted Research Environment
- The roles involved in clinical research, such as Chief Investigators, data managers, statisticians, data managers, data scientists, etc.
- Compliance guidelines from external bodies such as NHS Digital and the MHRA, or funding agencies such as RCUK, Wellcome Trust, etc.
- Typical application stacks used in health informatics and clinical trials research.
- Information governance best practices.
- Current cyber security threats, and mitigation technologies and measures/processes.
- ISO27001 Information Security Management System requirements and accreditation.
The TRE Lead should have previous experience managing infrastructure used to support health informatics and clinical trials research. The TRE Lead should have experience such as the following:
- Equivalent to about 5 years practical experience as the primary system administrator for windows-based infrastructure, being responsible for ensuring that the system is functional, secure, and performs to the expectation of the users
- Demonstrable experience supporting research in an academic or commercial environment
- Demonstrable experience of practical involvement in supporting research based on sensitive or highly confidential data
- Supporting NHS Digital Security Protection Toolkit registrations
- Supporting audits of IT infrastructure and processes, carried out internally, or from external organisations.
- Supporting research grant applications
Candidates must provide clear evidence of the following essential qualifications, experience and knowledge, in their application:
1. Degree in Computer Science, Informatics, Physical Sciences, Engineering, Computational Biology/Bioinformatics or a relevant postgraduate qualification (e.g., MSc, PhD).
2. Experience in previous roles of administering and managing a multi-user hypervisor-based MS Windows-based converged infrastructure including MS Windows Server, Windows File Server, VDI.
3. Experience of managing typical application stacks used in health informatics, clinical trials research, data science or the electronic data capture or management of sensitive data.
4. Experience implementing and managing a multi-user end-to-end IT infrastructure which is designed with the technical controls required to host confidential and sensitive data.
5. Experience of providing high-quality, high-performing operational support of research-IT/e-Research platforms, ensuring high-availability and high-levels of user satisfaction.
6. Knowledge and experience of typical workflows and pipelines (including both data-flow and user roles) for users in health informatics, clinical trials, or other disciplines dependent upon sensitive data hosted in a Trusted Research Environment or Data Safe Haven.
7. Experience of working in an environment governed by compliance guidelines or expectations from external bodies such as NHS Digital, MHRA, ISO27001, or equivalent.
8. Experience of administering infrastructure with private/public cloud and virtualisation technologies (e.g. OpenStack, VMWare, AWS, Azure)
9. Experience developing scripts with both PowerShell and Python for facilitating system administration functions or processes
10. Experience managing complex deployments or changes using project management and prioritisation skills.
11. Knowledge and experience of the current cyber security threat landscape, the mitigations and best practices to adopt for a mission-critical infrastructure.
Candidates are required to provide evidence of the following desirable experience and knowledge in their application:
1. Experience of competency in managing a modern linux-based infrastructure.
2. Experience of supporting audits of IT infrastructure and processes, carried out internally, or from external organisations.
3. Experience of building and supporting infrastructure for data science, or health informatics, including the use of deep learning and/or High Performance Computing, and their associated applications stacks.
Interviews will be held on the KCL campus in central London at a date to be specified. The interview will consist of a presentation from the candidates demonstrating their relevant experience for the role, as well as questions and potentially tasks for the candidate to demonstrate their appropriate knowledge and skills for the role.