A growing number of people in academia combine expertise in programming with an intricate understanding of research. Although this combination of skills is extremely valuable, these people lack a formal place in the academic system. This means there is no easy way top recognise their contribution, to reward them, or to represent their views.
Without a name, it is difficult for people to rally around a cause, so a group created the term Research Software Engineer (RSE) at our Collaborations Workshop in 2012. Since that time, we have campaigned to raise awareness of the role and bring the community together, and we have formed a community of RSEs that is now a democratic organisation with over 300 members.
Now that we have a strong community, the next stage of our campaign is to focus on employers of RSEs to ensure that career paths are put in place, we will campaign within different domains to draw a wider variety of RSEs into the community, and we will raise awareness of the importance of including a RSEs on funding proposals.
You can learn more from our not-so-brief history of RSEs.
A recognised position for RSEs in academia is fundamental in a world where most research is powered by software.