career paths in academicaBy Jonathan Cooper, University College London, Ilektra Christidi, University College London, Thomas Etherington, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, Caroline Jay, University of Manchester, Martin O’Reilly, The Alan Turing Institute, Melody Sandells, CORES Science and Engineering Limited, Andy South, Freelance.

This post is part of the Collaborations Workshops 2017 speed blogging series.

“Is there an alternative to the standard academic career path that would actually make research work better?” There are many essential roles that make up a team. At present, the creativity and skills of those outside of a principal investigator role are often hidden behind academic power structures that do not necessarily…

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We need your help with our campaign for Research Software Engineers (i.e. software experts who work in academia).

Last year's survey [1] allowed us to prove that software experts make a huge contribution to research, but often go unacknowledged and are paid less than their research counterparts. To continue our success with this campaign, we need to track how the community evolves over time, so please complete our survey.

It takes around 15 minutes and all demographic questions are non-mandatory.

It would be very helpful if you could forward this email to any software experts you know who work in academia, or anyone who employs software experts in academia.

[1]: See RSE State of the Nation Report 2017, page 21.

About the survey

The purpose of this survey is to collect information about people who develop software that is used in research. We call these people Research Software Engineers (RSEs), but they use many different job titles (including postdoctoral researcher and research assistant).

Please note that this research is not compulsory and even if you decide to participate you can withdraw at any moment.

This study is conducted by the University of Southampton on behalf of the Software Sustainability Institute and complies with University of Southampton ethics guidelines (reference no.: ERGO/FPSE/25269). The investigators are Simon Hettrick and Olivier Philippe. The survey is hosted on Limesurvey servers in Germany and respects the provisions of the Data Protection Act. These records are anonymised and access is strictly protected…

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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…

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The RSE Conference Committee is currently calling for 15-minute talks, posters and 90-minute workshops or tutorials. Submit your proposals by 28th April 2017.

The RSE conference 2017 is for anyone who works in research and cares about software to the Research Software Engineers Conference 2017 taking place on 7th & 8th September at the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester.

Registration will open in June.

The first RSE conference in 2016 brought together 202 Research Software Engineers from 14 countries and was a huge success:

“This might have been my 30th conference but it was the first where I felt thematically 100% at home and understood. I understood that I am not alone with my observation, practices, solutions, problems. Great discussions, great networking, great venue, great organisation."

“It was a fantastic conference put together really well. I especially loved the small size (very manageable and easy to meet everyone!) and the venue (how refreshing to walk to other rooms quickly instead of running across conference centres).”I

The RSE committee kindly offers to provide a mentor for less experienced conference speakers or workshop leaders. Questions before submitting a proposal can be sent to rse2017@rse.ac.uk.

 

We have funding available at EPCC for PhD places to study different aspects of research software, related to the work of the Software Sustainability Institute.

To be eligible for funding covering both fees and stipend, students must be UK nationals, or EU nationals who have been resident in the UK for at least 3 years before commencing the studentship. 

There is a deadline of 15th May 2017 for applications for funded places. Prospective students should contact Neil Chue Hong (n.chuehong @ software.ac.uk) who will help them develop a short (2-3 page) research proposal which they must submit as part of their application. Please note that Neil is on leave between 21st April and 7th May, so responses will be slightly delayed.

 

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…

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Policy

Biography coming soon.

RSE State of the NationBy Simon Hettrick, Deputy Director.

The first State of the Nation Report for Research Software Engineers provides a history of the RSE campaign and a snapshot of the RSE community as it stands today. If you want to know how a name coined during one of our workshops turned into an 800 strong community which is gathering interest from around the world, then the report is a good place to start.

Most research would be impossible without software, and this reliance is forcing a rethink of the skills needed in a traditional research group. With the emergence of software as the pre-eminent research tool used across all disciplines, comes the realisation that a significant majority of results are based, ultimately, on the skill of the experts who design and build that software.

The UK has led the world in supporting a new role in academia: the Research Software Engineer (RSE). This report describes the new expert community that has flourished in UK research, details the successes that have been achieved, and the barriers that prevent further progress.\

The report is available for download from Zenodo: 10.5281/zenodo.495360.

Research Software Engineers, EPSRC, funding awardEPSRC has awarded £100K to the Software Sustainability Institute and the Edinburgh Parallel Computing Centre (EPCC) to build links and network with the USA HPC communities, announced today at the Tier-2 launch in Birmingham. As part of this funding, a sum of £35,000 has been made available to support collaboration, share knowledge and build stronger partnerships between UK and US Research Software Engineers (RSEs). The Software Sustainability Institute will administer this initiative and make grants available to support objectives such as sharing specific expertise or projects, or promoting and sharing RSE experiences with international centres.

This funding aims to encourage greater collaboration around the following topics:

  • investigating emerging hardware and the impact on software;

  • building collaboration around a particular science area;

  • developing common community codes;

  • building links between computational /computer science and maths.

An initial round of funding will target applications from EPSRC RSE Fellows, the UK Research Software…

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RSE Conference 2017Following the success of the First Conference of Research Software Engineers, the Second Conference will be held at the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester on the 7th-8th September 2017. We are expecting a lively, international mix of over 200 attendees and are now announcing the opening of the calls for talks, posters, workshops and tutorials.

RSE17 is not a standard academic conference! It’s a community conference: get involved and help us build the RSE Community.

The deadline is Friday 28th April, with an early deadline of Friday April 7th for those who want to apply for £250 travel bursaries.

For more information, please visit the RSE website.

Registration for the conference will open on May 31st. If you want to be notified, please sign up for notifications using this form