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Fellows Newsletter: June 2023

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Fellows Newsletter: June 2023

Rachael Ainsworth

Rachael Ainsworth

SSI fellow

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Fellows Newsletter: June 2023

Posted by r.ainsworth on 6 June 2023 - 10:00am Stay Connected written on a computerPhoto by Ehimetalor Akhere Unuabona

Welcome to this month's SSI Fellows Newsletter, which shares activities and opportunities taking place within the SSI Fellows' community. Read on for:

  • Fellow's Spotlight: Jesper Dramsch
  • May 2023 Community Call recap
  • Fellows' and related activities
  • Upcoming events and calls

Fellows’ Spotlight

Jesper Dramsch, Scientist for Machine Learning, ECMWF

  • Updates from call - As the ever-chaotic person I am, I diverged from my original proposed plan right away and created a tutorial called "Increase citations, ease review & foster collaboration" to draw in researchers applying machine learning. That felt pretty good, but I got a bad conscience considering I promised a workshop, so I activated our wonderful fellows community and asked Gemma Turon and Valerio Maggio to organise that workshop at Pydata, which was a glowing success https://realworld-ml.xyz. Then I got bored and made a Jupyter book out of the tutorial with extra polish at https://ml.recipes. I was lucky to work on a few other things, including blogs, talks, courses, a MOOC, and my Youtube channel, gaining over a million impressions and an entire year of watchtime. Now building a community of people in AI, tired of the "if you're not trying these chatGPT prompts, you're falling behind" crowd at https://latent.club
  • My non-work highlight - I finally went scuba diving again after the pandemic. Mozambique had some of the more challenging dives I have done with whales on the surface and mantas and stingrays at 30m depth. And last week, I dove with beautiful reef sharks and nurse sharks (or rather undersea puppies) in the Bahamas, which was an incredible experience. Generally, rediscovering the awesome things I can do was a lovely awakening after being caged in my four walls for so long.
  • My recommendations - All my life, there was something wrong with my head. The podcast "Mental Illness Happy Hour" has been incredible for me in understanding the diversity of brains out there and, with that, understanding my own brain a little better. The podcast goes to the nitty gritty, vulnerable place instead of some of the more polished podcasts out there, which isn't always pretty, but it is always insightful. (Mind you, I'm still 4 years behind, playing catch-up.) 

Community Call Recap

During the May 2023 SSI Fellows Community Call, we heard a Fellow’s update from Jesper Dramsch (click the link to watch the recordings). In discussion groups, we talked about alternative methods of contributing and onboarding new contributors, branching out on your own - how to decide if freelancing is right for you and figure out what people would pay you for, and the next phase of the Software Sustainability Institute. 

Fellows’ and related activities

  • Code for Thought - Code for Thought is a podcast on software, engineering, research and anything in between launched by SSI Fellow Peter Schmidt. Recent episodes include a conversation with SSI Fellow Saranjeet Kaur to discuss building the RSE Asia network from scratch.
  • Research software engineering accelerates the translation of biomedical research for health - SSI Fellow Dave Horsfall published a comment piece in Nature Medicine focused on Research Software Engineering, co-authored with SSI Deputy Director Simon Hettrick and SSI Director Neil Chue Hong. This is fantastic exposure for all the amazing work done within our RSE community, and raises awareness of the type of work we do to biomedical researchers and the wider scientific community. Dave would love to hear your thoughts on the article, and please help share with any relevant communities.

  • Blog post: Can National Research and Education Networks be a focal point for Research Software Engineers in some regions? - In this blog post, SSI Fellow Saranjeet Kaur Bhogal shares insights on how the National Research and Education Networks could help boost the Research Software Engineering community in Asia. It also includes a Call to Action to engage in such discussions on relevant platforms.

  • Project SpeXtra (Specialized Process Equipment training using eXTended Reality Applications) - SSI Fellow Magesh Chandramouli is working on a project to develop an interactive, photorealistic VR/AR framework for training technicians in Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (API) operations. For more information, please visit https://www.nsf-spextra.org/ 

Upcoming events and calls

  • Open Life Science 8 - The call for application to the 8th round of training for early stage researchers and young leaders interested in furthering their Open Science skills through the Open Life Science programme is open. 

  • DiveRSE Seminar - Join us for our second talk in the 2023 DiveRSE series. Rowland Mosbergen will deliver a presentation for people interested in improving Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Research Software Engineering community, be they Chairs of Committees or RSEs/researchers in multi-disciplinary teams. Rowland’s talk will provide a framework to understand that the underlying problem is systemic, explaining that discrimination has an accumulated impact over time for diverse candidates, and it gives you practical advice and tips on things you can actually do right now to make a difference. 

  • Research Software Engineering: Why? What? How? - Jeremy Cohen (Advanced Research Fellow in the Department of Computing and Director of Research Software Engineering Strategy at Imperial College London) will give a talk on “a (relatively) new career in research technology”. In some domains, researchers have been writing software to support their work for many years. In others, software and code was not traditionally something that researchers needed to think about. As research is increasingly computational and data processing, simulation and machine learning technologies become an element in almost all areas of research, this has changed. Research Software Engineering (RSE) emerged a little over a decade ago out of the increasing need for support and career paths for researchers whose focus was writing code. These individuals, and the specialist skills and capabilities that they bring to research, now represent a significant and vital part of the research lifecycle. In this talk, Dr Cohen will look at some background to the RSE movement and why it’s important that institutions recognise the key role RSEs play in supporting and producing their research outputs. He will also discuss what can be done to address this and some different models that demonstrate how it may be implemented.

  • RSE Asia Community Call - An opportunity for people who work with or manage (research) software to meet and discuss challenges and solutions, share skills, opportunities, and resources. Join this call if you: want to learn about research software engineering; develop software for research; mostly do coding or software developing in a research group; are a doctoral or postdoctoral researcher who mostly develops software; have build software while doing research; want to join the emerging research software engineering community in Asia.

  • Research Software Camp - The next Research Software Camp will be held from 19th to 30th June 2023 on the theme of FAIR software. Over the course of two weeks, we will host a panel discussion, basic skills workshops (R, Python, visualisation, etc.) and a mentorship programme. We will also publish curated online resources throughout the two weeks of the Camp, addressing varying approaches to learning to code in academia. Our team will also be running a parallel social media campaign using #RSCamps on Twitter. 

  • Open Infrastructure Fund - Invest in Open Infrastructure (IOI) is now accepting proposals for the Open Infrastructure Fund! The fund aims to strengthen sustainability and resilience and increase the adoption of open infrastructure that underpins research and knowledge creation. Funding of 5,000-25,000 USD will be given to selected projects that focus on one of the following areas: Capacity building, Strengthening community governance, and Critical shared infrastructure. Applicants from anywhere in the world can apply. We reserve at least 60% of the total funds for individuals, organizations, and services working in Low and Middle Income Economies.

  • RSE Conference 2023 - The seventh annual conference for Research Software Engineering will take place in Swansea. See the link below for more details and submission deadlines.


The monthly SSI Fellows Newsletter aims to share activities and opportunities taking place within the SSI Fellows' community. The newsletter will share a summary of the latest community call, as well as contributions and calls for collaboration from the SSI Fellows. We are looking for newsletter items related to events, webinars, workshops, resources, job and funding opportunities that SSI Fellows are involved in or looking for support with (submit via this Google Form). If you have any questions, please contact Community Manager Rachael Ainsworth at r.ainsworth@software.ac.uk 

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