Research Software Engineer Fellowship

9190581261_7cefddac29_z.jpgBy Gillian Law.

New Research Software Engineer (RSE) fellow Leila Mureşan will be using her microscopy image analysis skills to develop software for biologists, physicists and mathematicians as part of her RSE fellowship.

As a scientific software engineer at the University of Cambridge’s Cambridge Advanced Imaging Centre (CAIC) Mureşan designs and implements software to analyse imaging data. Computational microscopy uses software and computation to get around the limitations of optical systems, she says. Mureşan trained as a computer scientist in Romania, and went on to study the analysis of single molecule microscopy images with application to ultra-sensitive microarrays for her PhD at the Johannes Kepler University in Linz, Austria.  After doing post-doctoral research at the École Normale Supérieure in Paris and the Centre de Génétique Moléculaire at CNRS in Gif-sur-Yvette France she joined CAIC as it launched in 2014.

Mureşan has developed a particular interest in lightsheet microscopy imaging, which allows developmental biology scientists to follow the development of an embryo in a “fast and gentle” way over several days, she says. This process naturally produces an enormous amount of data, which requires software that can handle the analysis. Mureşan also works on super resolution microscopy, which increases resolution by an order of magnitude.

“I like this area a lot. The…

Continue Reading

5148710483_a9c0c77da4_z.jpgBy Gillian Law.

Joanna Leng is a computational scientist and visualisation expert who will focus her Research Software Engineer (RSE) fellowship on bringing research computing to imaging. She believes that some areas of the imaging community are failing to fully pick up on the potential of computing, and Leng hopes to transform the use of technology in the field to accelerate scientific discovery.  

Leng will develop software on campus at the University of Leeds for three new imaging techniques, collaborating with Sven Schroeder for spectral X-ray imaging, Rik Drummond-Brydson for spectral electron microscopy imaging and Michelle Peckham for super-resolution light microscopy, in partnership with Diamond Light Source, SuperSTEM and the SCI Institute in Utah, USA.

With 20 years of experience in imaging, visualisation and High Performance Computing (HPC), Leng brings a broad network of contacts to her fellowship, having been interested in imaging and visualisation since her undergraduate degree in biophysics at the University of Leeds. After university, she retrained in computer science, looking for a better paid career, only to “realise at the last minute that I couldn’t face working for one of the banks!” That moment of clarity “brought her to her senses”, and she moved to work in visualisation at the University of Manchester at the Computer Graphics Unit that shortly afterwards hosted an academic…

Continue Reading

8897696003_c549d5e58e_z.jpgBy Gillian Law.

Physicist and new RSE fellow Phil Hasnip specialises in software to predict materials properties, and in making that software accessible to all researchers.

Hasnip believes that most physics problems end up being materials problems. “You want a better battery? You need a better battery material. A better turbine? You need a stronger material for the blades. Wherever you look, materials are key.” says Hasnip. Running experiments on these potential new materials is expensive and difficult, so using computational methods to either predict what a material might do, or to explain what is going in on experiments, is incredibly useful.

Having completed his PhD at the University of Cambridge followed by several post doc positions, Hasnip is now at the University of York where he is developing tools including the CASTEP program which uses quantum mechanics to compute the properties of materials and chemicals.

There is a constant tension in research between taking the time to improve the tools used and getting research results, Hasnip says, and he hopes to use his fellowship as an opportunity to focus on improving the tools available and making them more accessible to all researchers, rather than just those with computational skills. “Many of the tools being used aren’t really high enough quality. They’ve been developed by researchers who are good scientists…

Continue Reading

8523276256_b32bcc2df2_z.jpgBy Gillian Law

Research software ought to be easier to use, says newly appointed 2018 RSE Fellow Jeremy Cohen.

A computer scientist by background, Cohen has spent the bulk of his career to date in the Department of Computing at Imperial College London, supporting scientists in their research. “I’ve worked in a lot of domains, offering applied computing research to support scientists in various areas” he says. This has included using high-performance computing platforms and cloud-computing infrastructure.

“Of course, in general scientists tend to have some computing knowledge, but they often have very much a domain-focused view,” Cohen says. He aims to make their codes easier to access and use. Even if the scientist could do it themselves, they may end up doing it in a more complicated or inefficient way if they’re learning as they go along, “so I aim to make life simpler and let them focus on the science, not the computing.” Good code can also help scientists to make their modelling and simulation work more accessible to their broader team. “There’s often a lot of post processing needed on a model or simulation and so what I’m trying to do is bridge the gaps, or glue together different processes, and simplify complex things. Again, we’re working with people who are very experienced and they can do this work themselves, but we can help them to do it much more effectively.” That opens up the code to…

Continue Reading

By Simon Hettrick 

Next week, we will be hearing from the successful applicants to last year’s RSE Fellowship, funded by the EPSRC. The Fellows are exceptional individuals in the software field who demonstrate leadership and have combined expertise in programming and a solid knowledge of the research environment.

We’ll first hear from Jeremy Cohen who believes that “research software ought to be easier to use” and will describe his plans to help build communities of RSEs. We’ll hear why Phil Hasnip believes that most physics problems end up being materials problems. Joanna Leng will describe her desire to bring research computing techniques into the imaging community. Finally, we’ll hear from Leila Mureşan who will focus on the field of microscopy imaging.

The EPSRC has recognised the importance of investing in software development and the development of skills and career development for those engaged in software engineering. It is these aspects that this RSE Fellowship addresses. The Software Sustainability Institute and the RSE community campaigned for the development of this Fellowship so, and we are very happy to welcome the new RSE Fellows!

We are pleased to announce the awardees from the final round of the EPSRC USA-UK Research Software Engineer Travel fund applications. This funding aims to encourage greater collaboration between the UK and USA-based Research Software Engineer communities to help with: investigating emerging hardware and the impact on software; building collaboration around a particular science area; developing common community codes; and building links between computational / computer science and mathematics.

We have now closed applications for this funding.

Awardees

Alys Brett

Alys Brett, on behalf of the UK RSE association’s RSE Leaders group, has been awarded money to enable USA RSE group leaders to travel to take part in the two-day International RSE leaders meeting in London at the Alan Turing Institute in early 2018. Alys Brett is Head of Software Development Group at the UK Atomic Energy Authority and will be organising the meeting and site visits to UK RSE groups along with other applicants from the RSE Leaders group including Robert Haines (Manchester), James Hetherington (UCL), Simon Hettrick (Southampton), Mark Turner (Newcastle), Chris Woods (Bristol) and Claire Wyatt (RSE Community Coordinator).

Filippo Spiga

The University of Cambridge group led by Filippo Spiga, in collaboration with Jeffrey Salmond and Krishna Kumar, has been awarded money from the EPSRC RSE Travel fund to facilitate the visit of Christian Trott and H. Carter Edwards, main developers and contributors of Kokkos C++. Both software sustainability and performance portability are…

Continue Reading

Candidates are invited to submit an outline proposal in the first instance. Up to £4m is available for this call. EPSRC expects to fund 4 – 8 Fellows in this call, for a period of up to 5 years. Please note only 2 submissions per institution are allowed.

The aim of this call is to provide long-term funding to individuals working as Research Software Engineers who demonstrate exceptional leadership skills and will be able to co-ordinate and promote the role of Research Software Engineers in academia. 

Closing date is 8th June 2017.

Please note that you must read the full Call document for guidance before submitting your proposal. 

EPSRC Research Software Engineer Fellowship

The RSE Fellowship describes exceptional individuals in the software field who demonstrate leadership and have combined expertise in programming and a solid knowledge of the research environment. The Research Software Engineer works with researchers to gain an understanding of the problems they face, and then develops, maintains and extends software to provide the answers. As well as having expertise in computational software development and engineering, the RSE Fellow should be an ambassador for the research software community and have the potential to be a future research leader in the RSE community. RSE Fellows should promote the widespread use of computation and software best practice to enhance research.

Relevant links

EPSRC Software as an…

Continue Reading

How to get EPSRC RSE FellowshipBy Christopher Woods, EPSRC RSE fellow, University of Bristol

As one of the RSEs who hit the jackpot and had their EPSRC RSE Fellowship applications funded, I know how crucial it was that my University supported my application. I was very lucky that the University of Bristol provided an excellent letter of support. Among other things, the University committed to a capital budget, management training, and, most importantly, a permanent position helping to create a new Research Software Engineering Group within the Advanced Computing Research Centre in IT Services. These promises demonstrated the partnership and level of commitment that existed between Bristol and myself. I know this was recognised and rated highly by the reviewers and panel.

So, how did I get this level of institutional support? And what recommendations do I have on how you could achieve something similar?

First, I should say that all universities and individuals are different, so this is not a one-size-fits-all objective recipe. However, there are some generalisations that I believe are true.

An RSE Fellowship is a Fellowship

You’re applying for a Fellowship, so the normal advice about how to get a university to support any Fellowship or major grant application is valid. While the Fellowship…

Continue Reading
Subscribe to Research Software Engineer Fellowship