Charteris Land, EdinburghBy Shoaib Sufi, Community Lead.

Every year once the Fellowship starts, we get the Fellows together to give them the opportunity to learn about the different parts of the Institute (Training, Community, the Research Software Group, Policy, Communications and the Directorate) so they can better understand how we operate and how to interact with us to produce a good working relationship and better outcomes for their Fellowship.

This year we were in the lovely city of Edinburgh at Charteris Land, University of Edinburgh.  The Institute is headquartered in Edinburgh and it is where three of the new Institute 2017 Fellows are based, making it an ideal location for holding the inaugural. With 18 new Fellows, 14 were there in person, two connected via Skype, one sent a video and only one could not be involved.

The Institute Director, Neil Chue Hong gave an introduction to the Institute, its teams and how it operates; he highlighted Fellows as…

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PhD Candidate, School of Mathematics, University of Southampton


Astrophysics, general relativity, modelling fluids in strong gravitational fields (general relativistic hydrodynamics), burning and explosions, neutron stars, high performance computing, parallel computing

My work

In my PhD research, I model explosions that occur on the surface of neutron stars. From some of these stars, flashes of X-ray radiation are frequently observed. These are thought to be produced by nuclear explosions in a liquid surface layer. Neutron stars are very extreme objects which rotate several hundred times per second and have incredibly strong gravitational fields. I'm investigating what the effects of these strong fields and fast rotation might be on the physics of the explosions. I do this by building numerical simulations, using parallel computing to allow me to run high resolution models in a reasonable length of time. 

As part of my work, I have both built my own codes and used codes built by others in my scientific field. In the process, I have found that often these codes were built primarily with science in mind and therefore could be improved from a software sustainability point of view. It is my goal to use the SSI fellowship to educate my fellow researchers in the importance of reproducible, well tested and well documented code, show how to build more sustainable code and demonstrate how existing codes can be improved so that they meet higher standards of software sustainability. 

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James Baker accepts British Library Labs awardLibrary Carpentry (lead by the James Baker, Software Sustainability Institute Fellow 2015) wins the British Library Labs 2016 award for Teaching and Learning on 7th November 2016.

James is using the award fund to run even more Library Carpentry workshops (see the Library Carpentry workshop call).

What is Library Carpentry?

Library Carpentry is made by librarians, for librarians to help you:

  • automate repetitive, boring, error-prone tasks
  • create, maintain and analyse sustainable and reusable data
  • work effectively with IT and systems colleagues
  • better understand the use of software in research
  • and much more…

Library Carpentry introduces you to the fundamentals of computing and provides you with a platform for further self-directed learning. Find out more about Library Carpentry activities.

British Library Labs Awards 2016

The annual BL Labs Awards, introduced in 2015, recognises outstanding and innovative work that has been carried out using the British Library’s digital collections and data. This year, they commend work…

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If you were not able to attend the Fellowship 2017 Informational Webinar, a recording of this event has been made available on the Institute's SoftwareSaved YouTube channel: 

Fellowship 2017 Programme

It's worth watching if you are thinking of applying for a fellowship.

Fellows 2017 imageApplications for the Software Sustainability Institute Fellowship Programme 2017 are now open.

The Institute's Fellowship programme funds researchers in exchange for their expertise and advice.

The main goals of the Programme are gathering intelligence about research and software from all disciplines, encouraging Fellows to develop their interests in the area of software sustainability (especially in their areas of work) and aiding the Fellows as ambassadors of good software practice in their domains. The programme also support capacity building and policy development initiatives. 

Fellows come from a variety of career stages, they demonstrate a passion for their area, the ability to communicate ideas effectively, and a real interest in the role of software in research. Fellows are empowered to talk about software in their research domain to a wider audience, network with others who share a passion for software in research, and learn key skills that benefit them and their collaborators.​

You have to be a UK based researcher when applying for Fellowship, but once you are a Fellow even after your initial funding period you remain a Fellow even if you are then based outside of the UK (terms and conditions do apply). Please see the FAQ for more details about eligibility.

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Please watch the recording of the Launch Webinar for the Fellowship Programme 2017 to find out more.

Slides are available at:

Introduction to the Institute & the Fellowship Programme  by Shoaib Sufi

Fellows experiences:

For more information, visit the Fellowship Programme page.


mentoring workshopBy Robert Haines, Caroline Jay and Suzanne Embury, School of Computer Science, University of Manchester

A new software engineering curriculum

How can we replicate (or at least provide a taste of) real software engineering in an undergraduate course unit?

We've been asking that question in the School of Computer Science at the University of Manchester, as part of a radical redesign of our software engineering curriculum. Students on the new course will be working on open source software, writing tests, fixing bugs and using continuous integration, in an environment much closer to the one that they will experience after their degree than the green field development currently typical of undergraduate teaching.

Developing an industry-relevant course requires close collaboration with industry, and we've been talking to companies throughout the development of the programme. We also thought it would be great if our students could have some first-hand contact with industry while they are learning. This could provide many advantages, from ensuring students understood the value of what they were learning, to providing them with job opportunities. Seamlessly integrating industry involvement into an academic programme could be tricky though. What's the best way to make it work?

To explore this issue, we organised a…

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Research Fellow, Geography & Environment, University of Southampton


Satellite imaging; Geographic Information Systems; Air pollution; Open-source geographic software; Reproducible research; Software citation


I am currently a research fellow at the University of Southampton, where my main work is developing new methods to monitor air pollution (specifically PM2.5) from satellite data. My other research activities sit alongside this, either focusing on new methods for quantitatively processing satellite data to produce useful information, or contributing further to research on air pollution and its effects.  Alongside this, I am working with the Flowminder Foundation on the use of mobile phone data to understand human mobility, and I led their response to the Nepal earthquake.

My background is a mixture of geography and computing: I did a pre-university gap year writing software to control nuclear power stations (yes, really!), an undergraduate degree in Geography, followed by a PhD in Complex Systems Simulation & Geography.

All of my work is carried out computationally, and can involve processing data ranging from a tiny CSV file to a stack of many 20Gb satellite images. I write most of my code in Python, but will use whatever language is necessary for the job - and have written relatively-large code bases in R, C++ and the .NET framework…

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Freelance Software Developer


I’m interested in using data to tell new kinds of stories. My areas of interest include open data, civic hacking and transparency, online mapping, JavaScript frameworks, NoSQL, data journalism and data visualisation.

You can see examples of my work at http://anna.ps.


I’m a freelance developer, working mostly in JavaScript and Python. In my professional life I work with startups, corporates and non-profits on front- and back-end web development and data visualisation.

I became interested in software for research after creating Open Domesday http://domesdaymap.co.uk, the first free online copy of Domesday Book. I built Open Domesday in my spare time, using data created by the University of Hull - my goal was to create an accessible, attractive, and free version of Domesday Book.

Working with Professor John Palmer, who created the original data, the project has been able to release the dataset and high-quality images of Domesday under a Creative Commons licence, and create an API that is used by the British Museum and others.

I’ve created several other applications using datasets, such as England & Wales Baby Names http://names.darkgreener.com. This is a popular interactive visualisation and search tool for baby names, based on Office of National Statistics data, that was widely covered in the media.

My goal…

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Senior Lecturer; Institute for Teaching, Innovation and Learning; University of West London


My interests are Teaching and Retention.


I used my 2013 SSI fellowship to explore the potential for computational approaches in sociology and anthropology. Since then I've moved into a new role focused on student retention, but I'm still in regular contact with a number of fellows and I'm still interested in computational approaches to investigating social science (and now administrative!) problems.

Online Presence 

Check out contributions by and mentions of Nick Pearce on www.software.ac.uk

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