Fellows Inaugural Meeting 2019

Posted by s.aragon on 4 June 2019 - 9:09am
Group photo at Fellows Inaugural Meeting
Photo by Mario Antonioletti

By Raniere Silva, Software Sustainability Institute.

Usually, Fellows would meet face to face for the first time during the Inaugural Meeting but this was a special year and some of them met during Collaborations Workshop 2019. On 21 May 2019, this year’s cohort of Fellows got together in Manchester to receive orientation from staff and introduce themselves to their peers.

Like in 2018, we were in Manchester at Kilburn Building, University of Manchester. This was due to our interview calendar for our Research Software Community Officer/Manager position. Next year, we wish to host the Inaugural meeting in a new place.

The day started with some housekeeping information from me and was followed by an introduction to the Institute and the community team from Shoaib Sufi, our Community team lead. Shoaib explained about the goals of the third phase of the Institute and the role the Fellowship Programme to achieve some of those goals. Next, we had Aleksandra Nenadic explaining the training activities that we are involved in, our partnership with The Carpentries and inviting all Fellows interested in training to join CarpentryConnect Manchester 2019 — the gathering together around best teaching practice that we’re organising for the end of June. Steve Crouch joined us remotely over Zoom to talk about the Research Software Engineering activities that his team in Southampton develop and how Fellows can benefit from it. The last to speak was Selina Aragon, Communications team lead. Selina talked about the Institute's communication channels and resources – for example, website, newsletter and Twitter account – that are available for Fellows to amplify their outreach activities.

Once all team leads introduced themselves and we had a short break for refreshments, it was time to Fellows go up on stage to introduce themselves, talk about their plans for their Fellowship and mention any updates. One of the Fellows was travelling and couldn’t attend the meeting given time zones. Another fellow joined us remotely and presented her plans. The others 15 Fellows attended the meeting and started to make plans to collaborate with each other – the main reason for us to have this meeting in person.

Talks were interrupted by a warm lunch. Given the sunny and warm day that we have in Manchester, many Fellows decided to have their lunch in the roof terrace and get a little tan. If we could predict the nice weather, we would’ve order ice cream for dessert. I'm sure our Fellows would’ve love it. After lunch, we went back in for another hour of talks.

After all the talks, Giacomo Peru, our Project Officer, provided Fellows with instructions on how to use their £3k as part of their Fellowship. Fellows asked important questions about the process that will be incorporated in our documentation.

Halfway through the afternoon, we had another break for refreshments. The last part of the meeting was devoted for Fellows, gathered in groups of five, to discuss what they need from the Institute, what resources they recommend and use, and what training they would like for us to provide that would help them enhance their community development skills. Each group had three minutes to report back their discussion and we’ll be planning our activities based on their contribution.

With the clock reaching for 5pm, we handed out our "Better Software Better Research" t-shirts to Fellows and wished them a safe trip back home. With mixed feelings, I had to say "goodbye" as I will not be collaborating with them in the capacity of Community Officer at the Institute. However, this is a fabulous cohort of Fellows and I hope to see many of them soon in meetings related with open science and reproducibility.

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