UKRI strategy recognises the critical role of software in research

Posted by s.hettrick on 13 November 2019 - 7:35am

The%20UK's%20research%20and%20innovation%20infrastructure%20-%20opportunities%20to%20grow%20our%20capacity%20FINAL%20LOW%20RES%20v3-1.png“The near-ubiquity of software [in research] means that it is not possible to disentangle the quality of the software from the quality of the research. Unreliable and untested software leads to unreliable results that cannot be trusted”, states a recent report on opportunities to grow the UK’s research capability. This report, produced by UK Research and Innovation, will be used to guide the UK government’s strategy for research investment - which is planned to increase to at least 2.4% of Gross Domestic Product by 2027. This is possibly the first time such a high-profile report has clearly identified the critical role of software and the people who create it.

The report cites research from the Software Sustainability Institute on the prevalence of software in research and notes that Research Software Engineers are “particularly critical” in universities, research institutes and business. It shows the Institute at the heart of the UK’s current national research and innovation e-infrastructure ecosystem (see Figure 17). Importantly, it supports plans for investment into software maintenance, which will “enable the full value to be extracted from software throughout its lifetime”, and a national facility of research software engineering, which could help broker access to skills across the UK.

We are incredibly pleased that this report recognises both the critical role that software plays in research and that this reliance on software necessitates investment to ensure the quality and trustworthiness of research.

For more information, see chapter 8 of the report (starting on page 114).