A laptop half open with surrounding text describing the Society of RSE newsletter.

Newsletter – December 2021

Welcome to the December newsletter from The Society of Research Software Engineering! Our monthly newsletter announces new Society initiatives, gathers RSE news, events, blogs, papers and anything else interesting and relevant together in one place. If you would like to add an item or suggest a new section to the next newsletter, submit it via this short form or get in touch with Claire Wyatt, RSE Community Manager.

Newsletter Contents:
>Society Update
>RSE Case Studies and Profiles
>Blog posts
>Community info
>RSE Worldwide

Society Update

Take the SocRSE Community survey

Another survey! But this asks what the Society trustees can do for YOU and wants to know your thoughts on what we work on and should do in the future for the RSE community.  Please complete this survey :pray:  It only takes 15 minutes. Open until mid-January 2022 so you can do this over the festive break :christmas_tree:.


 We’re delighted to announce that RSECon2022 will be at Newcastle University with Mark Turner as our Programme Chair. Mark is Head of Research Software Engineering at Newcastle University and has been heavily involved in the community for a number of years now, serving as a trustee on the society trustee board not long ago. The trustees are really pleased to have him on board as Programme Chair for RSECon and know that the conference is in very safe hands. The conference will take place in the week commencing the 5th September 2022 and we will be able to confirm exactly which days of that week in early January but for now if you’re planning on attending the conference, please save that week in your calendar! 

SocRSE Trustee Group Updates

Membership – We are at 529 paid-up members; thanks and welcome to those who joined us this month.

EDIA – We are continuing an accessibility analysis of the Society’s processes and tools. Website accessibility remains a focus here and we now have a plugin that analyses the quality of our website from an accessibility perspective and motivates our next steps. Work has begun on an EDIA strategy for the Society, and we have consulted with field experts on this matter. Notably, we are seeking to centralise the practice of collecting data about EDIA from all our events and have already begun this in our EDIA landscape review.

As always, a lot of work still needs to be done. We are giving thought to how we can diversify the trustee board – especially as we look for a 12th trustee to join our friendly team. If you have any questions or feedback about EDIA related issues, please do contact our team at: [email protected].

Society Events and Initiatives Funding Policy

The RSE Society is able to provide financial support for events and initiatives which support our mission statement and charitable objectives (see our constitution section). These are summarized below.

Society’s Charitable Mission Statement: “Our mission is to establish a research environment that recognises the vital role of software in research. We work to increase software skills across everyone in research, to promote collaboration between researchers and software experts, and to support the creation of an academic career path for Research Software Engineers.

The objectives of the RSE Society are:

  • To advance education particularly but not exclusively amongst research software engineers; and/or 
  • To promote and advance research particularly but not exclusively in all aspects of research that rely on software engineering and to publish the useful results.

See our strategy for 2020/2021 for further details about our planned activities to support these objectives. Read the full SocRSE Events and Initiatives Sponsorship Policy here. 

Membership and Mailing list

Not yet a member?  Sign up for membership! Just £20/per annum. There are three options for payment: credit card, debit card or direct debit.

Currently the members benefits are:

  • Support the work of the Society to further research software engineering
  • Eligible to apply for any future opportunities for Society funding
  • Opportunity for early registration to the Society annual conference and/or reduced fee
  • Opportunity for early registration to any future Society’s professional and networking events
  • Eligible to vote in Society decisions such as electing trustees or changing the constitution
  • Eligible to stand for election as a trustee
  • Eligible to be a volunteer or be nominated for working groups or committees that the trustees may establish
  • Up to 20% discount on a variety of Dell laptops, desktops and accessories (UK-based members)
  • Eligible to apply to be a mentee in SocRSE’s mentoring programme

RSE Slack space and channels

We have >3000 members in our Slack workspace! There are 120 public slack channels in the RSE space that you can join so feel free to explore by clicking on the +  on the left hand side, next to ‘Channels’ and then ‘Browse Channels’. If you joined the slack space recently, you were automatically added to these channels:- #general, #random, #introductions– where we can all get to know each other more and hear about you and your work,  #jobs – where you can post and see new vacancies and #events – to read and post about any relevant interesting events, and the #training channel.  If you’ve been here a while you might not be in those channels so use the + to join them and browse all the other channels available. We’d like to encourage everyone to introduce themselves in the #introductions channel…Connect to the RSE Community by joining the RSE Slack https://society-rse.org/about/contact/

RSE Vacancies – You can post an RSE role or a role supporting RSEs to the vacancy page on the Society website via a form.

You can also subscribe to our YouTube channel here.

Complaints and Grievances Policy

We hope that you feel that the Society Trustees are approachable and listen to your concerns and suggestions. If there are any serious complaints, our Complaints and Grievances Policy outlines the process of how you can raise them.


Complete the international RSE survey and help us understand the RSE community! The Software Sustainability Institute released the 2021 RSE survey in collaboration with the Society and the other national RSE associations. Keeping up with the phenomenal growth of the Research Software Engineer (RSE) community is far from easy, so they run a survey every two to three years across all the national RSE associations and publish the results as an open, anonymised dataset. The survey provides insight into the community and how best to support it, so it is of incredible value to RSEs, policymakers and funders. You can complete the survey in EnglishFrenchGerman or Spanish.

The Call for Participation for the UKRI Cloud Workshop is now open for the next workshop on March 29th 2022, which is planned to be an in-person event with the option for live streaming online attendance. Unfortunately, they are not able to accommodate virtual speakers for this event. As with previous events, they are looking forward to a varied programme from the UK research community covering all aspects of research computing using cloud (both public and private) and expect a mix of technical talks, with researchers reporting on their use of cloud technologies. They aim to have a diverse set of viewpoints represented at this workshop and encourage individuals and institutions of all backgrounds (for example academic, technical, business, or user experience) to apply. Call for Participation
The six proposed workshop themes are; 1) HPC, 2) Cloud Pilots & User Experiences, 3) Hybrid Cloud, 4) UKRI & Trusted Environments, 5) COVID & Cloud and 6) Performance/ResOps, although submissions outside of these areas are also welcome. Talk sessions are typically 20 minutes and should include time for questions. The deadline for submissions is 17th January. The Cloud Working Group will review the submissions and willlet successful submitters know by 31st January. You can find details about the submission process and the workshop topics online at https://cloud.ac.uk/2021/12/02/ukri-cloud-workshop-2022-call-for-participation/  

UNESCO Recommendation acknowledges the role of software in Open Science

The UKRI Net Zero Digital Research Infrastructure Scoping Project is having an Open Meeting for anyone interested in contributing to the development of a UKRI roadmap for net zero digital research infrastructure.These meetings are open to anyone who wants to learn more about the project and what options are available for getting involved or being allocated funding. There are two dates (17th Dec and 10th Jan) where we will run this meeting to maximise options for attendance.There are two dates, to maximise attendance. It is free to register, and will be conducted via Zoom. I have been involved in an early stage of this project and can confirm that they have a genuine desire to see how we can work together to reduce the environmental impact of the UK’s digital research infrastructure. The resulting report will have impact, so I do think this is an important endeavour, and the voices of RSEs should be heard. Registration and more details are here

Lorentz Centre workshop on diversity, equity and inclusion – call for participation
Would you like to join a conversation on how research software engineering could be reframed to place diversity, equity, and inclusion as a central organising principle? ReSA is calling for expressions of interest in joining a workshop entitled “Vive la differénce – research software engineers”. This will be a hybrid event with an in-person element from 19-22 April 2022 at the Lorentz Centre in the Netherlands; and online events from March-May 2022 across different time zones. This workshop will bring together a wide range of stakeholders who have not previously collaborated, to analyse best practice and available data to identify both research opportunities and solutions to their own local challenges, to create an informal network of champions in this area.
There are two ways to become involved: Apply to participate in the workshop, which has a maximum of 55 participants. Participants can attend remotely or in-person. The deadline for submission is Friday 19 November 2021, and all applicants will be advised of the outcome in December. Sign up to the ReSA newsletter to hear more about the online public events from March-May 2022 that will be associated with the workshop, as more details become available.

Registration is open for Collaborations Workshop 2022! 

EPSRC – High-risk speculative engineering and ICT research: New Horizons
EPSRC has launched a second phase of the pilot New Horizons scheme, focused on highly speculative research projects across the remit of EPSRC’s engineering and information and communication technologies (ICT) themes.

POP Webinar: Resources for Co-Design
Resources for co-design is a section within the POP website which gathers together a set of typical behavioural patterns, potentially resulting in some kind of performance degradation, that POP has identified in our analyses of user applications. For each of these patterns, the site links to the corresponding best-practice(s) that address their performance issues and, in many cases, also provides downloadable benchmarks to allow interested parties to compare the behaviour before and after applying a given best-practice. https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/568547985719812110?source=RSE+Newsletter

GPU Hackathon
Submissions are now open for the UK National GPU hackathon partnered with UKRI, OpenACC.org, and NVIDIA (Deadline Jan 10th, 2022): https://www.gpuhackathons.org/event/uk-national-gpu-hackathon-2022.

ReSA People Roadmap Report
The ReSA People Roadmap is a community consultation to map the landscape of research software community initiatives focused on people-themed issues, as part of ReSA’s mission is to bring research software communities together to collaborate on the advancement of the research software ecosystem. As part of the creation of the ReSA People Roadmap, 28 organisations, community initiatives and/or projects in the research software community were profiled to facilitate identification of opportunities for accelerating efforts to address major issues related to personnel challenges. The resulting ReSA People Roadmap Report aims to increase understanding on how to create an environment where research software personnel are recognised, have appropriate skill sets and access to inclusive communities, within policy and infrastructure environments that support their work. Initial outcomes from the  Roadmap were presented at the Workshop on Sustainable Software Sustainability (WoSSS) on 8 Oct by ReSA Director, Michelle Barker. ReSA will host two webinars to further discuss this work. Registration is free, and recordings will be available afterwards: Session 1: 8 December, 20:30 UTC (convert to your timezone). Registration is free. Session 2 (repeat session): 9 December, 09:00 UTC (convert to your timezone). Registration is free.

rSE22 – Call for Contributions – Software Engineering 2022 – February 23rd-25th 2022
In June 2019, research software developers from all over Germany met for the first time for a central conference at deRSE19 in Potsdam. Ideas and plans for follow-up conferences in 2020 and 2021 were unfortunately thwarted by the pandemic. Therefore, de-RSE e.V. is now joining forces with colleagues from software engineering and organising a separate track on research software for SE 2022 of the Gesellschaft für Informatik (GI) in February 2022.

The organising committee is looking forward to submissions for workshops, talks and posters, as well as for splinter meetings and informal “Birds-of-a-Feather (BoF)” discussion meetings. The aim of the conference is to map the diverse community of research software engineers through participation of all levels of experience across disciplines, locations, genders and origins.

Please consider putting yourself forwards to the EPSRC Review college so that proposal’s can be reviewed by RSEs.

Major funding boost for UK’s open research agenda: A consortium of 18 universities – members of the UK Reproducibility Network – has received significant funding to drive uptake of open research practices across the sector, furthering the UK’s position at the forefront of rigorous and reproducible research.

Case Studies and Example RSE Profiles

It’s holiday season, and we have one more amazing case study for you this year: Vanessa Sochat is giving us an insight into her career, challenges she faced and how she found her own way of working. She also tells us what she thinks the biggest missing area of work or emphasis in our RSE community is. A must-read!

We want to show all the shapes and forms that RSEs come in, and all the brilliant work they do and are looking for RSEs willing to work with us to put together case studies. We will send you a set of questions to answer (either career-focused or EDI focused, your choice), and are very happy to have a chat if you are unsure about something or need help writing up your answers. Email [email protected] if you are interested or have any questions.



Fancy being in Hawaii in January 2022? Papers wanted by HICSS 22.


rSE22 – Call for Contributions – Software Engineering 2022 – February 23rd-25th 2022
In June 2019, research software developers from all over Germany met for the first time for a central conference at deRSE19 in Potsdam. Ideas and plans for follow-up conferences in 2020 and 2021 were unfortunately thwarted by the pandemic. Therefore, de-RSE e.V. is now joining forces with colleagues from software engineering and organising a separate track on research software for SE 2022 of the Gesellschaft für Informatik (GI) in February 2022.


Save the date! Collaborations Workshop 2022 (CW22)
The Software Sustainability Institute’s Collaborations Workshop series brings together researchers, developers, innovators, managers, funders, publishers, policy makers, leaders and educators to explore best practices and the future of research software. Collaborations Workshop 2022 (CW22) will take place online from Monday, 4 April to Thursday, 7 April 2022. The themes of the workshop are Code Review, Ethics, Hybrid Working, and Software Sustainability. Sign up via the link above to receive updates.


The Code for Thought podcast – created and delivered by Peter Schmidt, a Senior Research Software Developer from UCL. Listen to Dave Horsfall and Graham McCartney on why it is important to look after our mental wellbeing at work.

And from Vanessa Sochat in the US, we have ‘For the Love of Learning‘ from Tim Haines a quintessential passionate learner who tells us all about astrophysics, compilers, and systems.

Blog Posts

The University of Manchester team have announced their top 10 blog posts of the year. Some are local to Manchester and some are more general.

The latest @RSE_Sheffield newsletter has just been published.

Community info

Reminding you about..

RSEs in the UK now have the opportunity to apply for the new Open Plus Fellowships that are funded by EPSRC. The Open refers to the fellowship being open to all who work in academia e.g. RSE and technicians while the Plus refers to being able to use some of your time for community activities. The RSE Fellowships will still continue but in time will migrate to these.

UKRI are building a new funding service that will eventually replace the existing Je-S system. If you have any experience of applying for funding, or are likely to apply for or assess funding in the future you can join the effort to help design the service in a way that will meet your needs. If you would like to input into the design of the new service please provide your details here

The DiversIT Charter is CEPIS’ flagship initiative aimed at reducing gender disparity in IT roles. It is a roadmap which moves through three levels of attainment: Bronze, Silver and Gold. Each level has a focus on attraction and retention, asking applicants to showcase their initiatives and policies for increasing gender diversity in ICT professions.

A Resources database has been set up on the Society website which will hold the links to all the static useful items that have featured here under Community info. Help us to fill the resources database by submitting an item to the database.

Better Scientific Software – a blog with relevant articles.

RSE Worldwide

Awareness of the RSE role and the RSE community is growing around the world with new national groups being created all the time. In this section, we introduce these groups and raise awareness of their success. The Society supports new groups and collaborates with representatives from them on various initiatives (papers, international workshops).

In January 2021, the International Council of RSE Associations was founded as a forum to communicate and formally meet to ensure cohesion between associations and to provide a platform for open discussion around international issues and affairs.

(In alphabetical order)


Belgium Research Software Engineers Community

Join the (informal) chats of the Belgium Research Software Engineers community on https://gitter.im/be-rse/


Check out upcoming events!

Some great keynotes confirmed for the Canadian Research Software Conference https://www.canarie.ca/event/crsc-2021/#speakers


Dates for the joined monthly calls of the Open Science und Research Software Engineering communities can be found here.

Save the date! Research Software Engineering track by de-RSE at SE2022 software engineering conference by German Informatics Society, 23rd-25th February 2022. There might be workshops at 21st and 22nd. If you have ideas for a workshop, let @StephanJanosch know. Fully virtual at no costs.


New meet-ups are scheduled for NL RSE. Interested in proposing a workshop, talk, or some other contribution? Get in touch!

Nordic RSE

Research Software Hour…Hosted by members of the Nordic-RSE community, this continues weekly on Twitch. Research Software Hour is an online stream/show about scientific computing and research software. It is designed to provide the skills typically picked up via informal networks; each week, they do some combination of exploring new tools, analyzing and improving someone’s research code, and discussion. Watchers can take part and contribute code to us which they analyze and discuss on stream. They broadcast on Twitch Thursdays at 20:30 Oslo time / 21:30 Helsinki time.


Their December 2021 newsletter is out!

Upcoming and recurring events can be found on the events website!

Collect your gold star here if you’ve read all the way to the end!

About the author: Ian Cottam