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Newsletter – July 2021

Please pass this newsletter on to any of your colleagues who might be interested.

Welcome to the July 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

RSE Conference 2021 – SeptembRSE update

Registration open! We are pleased to announce that registration for #SeptembRSE is now open!

Registration provides month-long access to 30+ live #SeptembRSE sessions, session recordings, and our gather.town interactive online conference centre. Tickets cost £15 for members of the Society of Research Software Engineering and £35 for non-members.

Register for SeptembRSE here!

Be Part of our Discussions. We are excited to announce that our Discussion topics for SeptembRSE have been chosen.  They are:

  • RSE2031: What could (and should) Research Software Engineering look like 10 years from now?
  • Industrial Software Development Practices: Do they work in Academia? Should RSEs learn and use them?
  • Is testing overkill for most research software? How can we make it easier to test scripts?
  • Python is ubiquitous in research, even when it is not the optimal option. When is it worth investing time in a more specialised but harder to learn/maintain programming language?

We’re now looking for our Discussion participants. Applications for participation are open to everyone – you do not have to be working as an RSE, or a member of the RSE UK Society, in order to participate. We actively encourage those outside of the community to apply in order to add different points of view to our discussions. There are no prerequisites aside from an interest in and enthusiasm for discussing a specific topic.

Would you like to participate in our discussions? Get more details here!

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RSE Career Pathway Event: The presentations of our RSE Careers event are now available on the SocRSE YouTube channel along with the Q&A Panel. We are currently in the process of finalising our summary of the event and the survey we sent out after the event, and will share the report with you as well as with UKRI and other funding agencies.

International RSE Day: The International Council of RSE Associations around the world are keen to celebrate RSEs and RSE work on an annually recognised ‘International RSE Day’ on October 14th 2021. The Council encourages events to be organised at the local level by those who would like to get involved.

Trustee Updates

You can keep up to date with trustee meetings as we have shared a summary of Society monthly trustee meetings including the decision log. And, Trustee role descriptions are on our website now.

The trustees had our usual monthly meeting on the 16th July 2021 and continue to work hard on various initiatives. As before, we provide updates from some of the trustees below to give you more detail on the types of things we are working on.

Paul Richmond, President: This month I have engaged in the usual governance sub group meetings. Our focus recently has been on ensuring that our governance is up to date. In particular, we have made some changes to our risk register to identify areas where we may be exposed in terms of both diversity of trustees and the skills in which trustees bring to the board via the election process. A number of risk mitigation factors have been proposed which will involve us examining our elections process for future years. As part of the constitutional working group we have already made some specific suggestions which will be shared with the community shortly. We have created a GitHub repo so that each individual amendment can be reviewed and shared with our community in a familiar format. Outside of trustee meetings I have been liaising with UKRI to request clarification on their guidance around full economic costing of RSEs. I have also written an extensive review/summary of our RSE careers pathway event which we will publish after our internal review process has been completed.

Claire Wyatt, Vice-President and Community Manager, Communications Co-lead: This month I have been focused on launching the sponsorship packages for SeptembRSE, the online RSE Conference for 2021 and contacting our past supporters.  I’m happy to report back that the packages were publicised at the beginning of July  and we’ve already had four sponsors come forward to support the RSE Community again. In my role on the Governance sub group, I updated the Scheme of Delegation adding more of the policies and tools that now have an owner for each and we organising the AGM that will take place at the end of SeptembRSE on the 30th.  We have continued our series of ‘Meet the new RSE Fellows’ each Wednesday releasing a blogpost and video on the Society website. For the funding policy for events and initiatives, we have had several requests through the form. One for an RSE Leaders meeting in the autumn and the other for some R Training in Africa. We are working with both applicants to get their request off the ground. At the recent trustee meeting, I proposed that the Society invest in otter.ai for our events and in particular to support SeptembRSE and I’m delighted to report that the trustees voted unanimously to add this to our suite of tools. We are now focusing on writing the Trustee Annual report that will be circulated to the membership but is also a requirement for the Charity Commission. As part of the Regional RSE Groups SIG, we are continuing to organise our launch of this SIG in SeptembRSE. On the comms team, I have been tweeting and posting on slack daily about various initiatives and RSE News so follow us on twitter (@ResearchSoftEng) or join us on slack for all the updates. I represented the Society at the recent International Council of RSE Associations meeting mid July where we discussed an international RSE Day in October, our charter document and the transfer of the website researchsoftware.org to the council after which we will start updating it to reflect the current situation.

Teri Forey, Secretary: This month I’ve mostly been working on how Working Groups and Special Interest Groups can be established and work with the Society. This mostly resolves how the trustees can delegate, communicate and work with others who may or may not be members, whilst following all of our governance and charity commission requirements. To this end I’ve written an information pack on how these groups can be established and what we’ll provide, as well as two template terms of reference documents that should make it as easy as possible for this relationship to be defined. It’s also been a busy few weeks with the governance and elections subgroups as we prepare for the AGM and upcoming elections in September. 

Ian Cottam, Membership Team Lead  and Communications team:  The Elections working group met this month, and much progress has been made. Watch out, from early August, for updates about standing for the Board of trustees.
Paid-up membership stands at 451. Why not join us now? https://society-rse.org/join-us/. By the way, you can save £20 off the non-members SeptembRSE (https://septembrse.society-rse.org/registration/) conference fee (£35) by becoming a member first (also £20, but with extra benefits such as the Dell discounts for UK-based members, the ability to apply for event funding, and much more).

Marion Weinzierl, Communications Co-lead, Membership Team: This month was a bit quieter for me as a trustee, mainly because Clare fulfilled a lot of the time-demanding comms duties. We discussed potential changes to our newsletter (let us know your thoughts by email to [email protected]), put together this month’s newsletter, and I helped a little bit on Twitter. In the RSE Role Diversity group, we finally found our first three volunteers for creating RSE case studies, so watch this space (and contact us if you want to do a case study with us, too)! On the membership team side I have, as always, done a bit of work helping members with problems and questions regarding our membership platform. And our Regional RSE Groups SIG, which has recently been approved by the RSE Society, is gearing up for its launch!

Ania Brown, Web team, Mentoring scheme working group: I’m excited that the mentoring working group has now chosen an organisation to partner with to deliver a one-on-one mentoring scheme for RSEs. We’re planning for the launch of the scheme to coincide with SeptembRSE so look out for news on that soon. As part of the web team I’ve also been supporting day-to-day operations on the website, particularly helping to get out the news about our new RSE Fellows. Additionally, I gave a talk to the useR conference about the RSE movement and encouraged the community to get involved on slack and join us as members.

Matt Williams, Finance: This month the finance team have finalised our record of accounts for the 2020-2021 financial year. They are currently with our accountants for an independent examination and will be released to the members alongside our annual report at the AGM. We have also been working to prepare for SeptembRSE for accepting ticket sales which opened this week. With my non-treasurer hat on, I have been helping with preparing for the upcoming trustee elections which will be opening for nominations very soon.

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

Thanks and welcome to all who have joined the Society in the last month. New members of both the Society and the mailing list are always welcome. We have 451 paid-up members with several thousand people forming the online community on the RSE Slack space.  Sign up for membership! 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)

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.


BREAKING NEWS as we go to press…
Software Citation made easy by Github: Software is an important research output and should be cited in the same way that papers, etc., are cited. This has just been made easier: GitHub now displays software citation information in repositories, if they contain a citation metadata file (CITATION.cff) in the Citation File Format (CFF). Additionally, these files are now used as a metadata source when publishing software on Zenodo, via the GitHub-Zenodo bridge. Zotero have just announced their support too. CFF is a community format developed by and for RSEs, including Stephan Druskat (de-RSE board member), Jurriaan Spaaks from the Netherlands eScience Center, and SSI Fellow and Head of Research IT at The University of Manchester Robert Haines.

We should have further details of this in next month’s newsletter.

EPSRC call for Software for Research Communities. This call is a huge success for us as a community. Now is even more important than ever than you put yourselves forwards to be in a position to review applications to this call. Please consider putting yourself forwards to the EPSRC Review college so that proposal’s can be reviewed by RSEs.

French National Plan for Open Science: “The French Plan for Open Science recognizes that software is an essential component of academic research, and a precious product of human creativity.” says Roberto Di Cosmo, director of Software Heritage, and chair of the Free and Open Source Software Working Group of the French National Committee for Open Science. “The plan contains a broad panel of groundbreaking measures designed to ensure that software will be on a par with publications and data: priority to dissemination as open source, provisions for long term archival and reference in the Software Heritage universal archive, a prize for distinguishing remarkable projects, collaboration with the French OSPO, and the creation of a dedicated software committee in the National Open Science Committee. It is the first time that such an organic, clearly designed strategy for (open source) software in research is laid out in an official national strategy document: we hope this may serve as a model for similar initiatives in other countries.”

For your info – the ExCALIBUR Research Software Engineer Knowledge Integration Landscape Review.

The UK Software Sustainability Institute’s (SSI – www.software.ac.uk) digital / software requirements survey of the AHRC research community opened at the start of June 2021. 

SSI is working with the AHRC to improve the understanding of the digital practices people undertake or wish they could undertake in the arts, humanities, GLAM (galleries, libraries, archives and libraries) and creative sector; all of those areas that are covered or within the remit of AHRC funded activities. The survey thus has a UK focus; participants should be connected with a UK based institution.

This knowledge will aid AHRC and SSI to tailor our approaches to those working in the field and help direct AHRC digital infrastructure funding (no Personally Identifiable Information (PII) as defined by GDPR will be shared with AHRC). 

The survey asks about your views on digital-tools/software, your experience of developing digital-tools/software , and your practices and preferences for recruiting help with digital tool/software development. We have over 100responses to date and are gaining a better understanding of what software is used for, why people choose particular pieces of software and how better software could improve the work being undertaken.

We are actively seeking views from people who do not develop digital tools / software. We are seeking input from all roles, including senior decision makers, researchers, curators, librarians and software developers in the AHRC remit. Please contribute your voice and experiences and encourage your team members and network also. 

Please promote the survey on twitter using this tweet – https://twitter.com/SoftwareSaved/status/1414930735849410563

You can promote on LinkedIn also – https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6820696994865037312

The survey is available at: http://bit.ly/ahrc-digital-requirements-survey. It now closes at the end of day 5th August 2021 after which there will be a prize draw. You will have a chance to win one of four £50 shopping vouchers (please opt-in during the survey).

For further information or any questions, please contact Shoaib Sufi ([email protected]).

RSE Case Studies and Profiles

In this new category we want to present Research Software Engineering case studies and Research Software Engineer profiles, in order to show all the shapes and forms that RSEs come in, and all the brilliant work they do. We would also like to add new case studies and profiles to our website. 

If you are willing to work with us on a case study about your work and/or your career, please contact us.

We are currently working on our first three new case studies, so watch this space!


The 2021 sktime summer programme – Workshops, talks and tutorials for sktime community members and people interested in contributing – please reach out if you want to get involved or have any questions!  https://github.com/alan-turing-institute/sktime/issues/863. sktime is a unified framework for machine learning with time series https://github.com/alan-turing-institute/sktime

GPU Hackathons in Europe 2021

The programme is designed to help scientists, researchers and developers to accelerate and optimize their applications on GPUs. The hackathons are four day intensive hands-on events designed to help computational scientists port their applications to GPUs using libraries, OpenACC, CUDA and other tools by pairing participants with dedicated mentors experienced in GPU programming and development. 

Domain scientists are paired with experienced GPU mentors to learn the critical accelerated and parallel computing skills needed by the scientific community.

Today, more than 1800 domain experts from premier universities, research centres, and high performance computing centers around the world have been trained and over 400 scientific applications have been ported in part or completely to GPUs.

Throughout this year there will be multiple GPU Hackathons taking place in Europe. Don’t miss your chance to attend one these GPU Hackathons and work with experts to get the latest updates on programming models, best practices and tools for using and optimizing your codes on GPU.

Site Dates Submission Deadline
BSC Oct 25, Nov 2-4 Aug 14th
ENCCS Dec 7,14-16 Oct 6th

The full schedule is available at www.gpuhackathons.org/events


As part of the UK’s ExCALIBUR programme, the GenX: Exascale continuum mechanics through code generation project are offering a hands on introduction to Firedrake : an automated system for the solution of partial differential equations (PDEs) using the finite element method (FEM). The training session will take place on the afternoon of 23rd August, and participants will have a chance to use ARCHER2, the UK national supercomputer. Anyone interested is welcome to register and more information can be found here: https://www.archer2.ac.uk/training/courses/210823-firedrake/
This event is one of the RSE knowledge integration activities as part of the ExCALIBUR programme, it would be great to see some of you there!


RSE Conference 2021 – SeptembRSE – Sign up to participate, submit talks, posters and more. Follow #septembrse for future updates and announcements, and to join in with the discussion with the RSE community.

The HPC Autumn Academy, hosted by the Centre for Scientific Computing at the University of Cambridge, will be online again this year, 6th-17th September 2021. Lectures will be given on C++, Fortran, Performance Programming, OpenMP, MPI, and various other topics suitable for Master’s/Ph.D. students, early-career researchers, and early-career industrial software developers who need High-Performance Computing skills as part of their course or work. If you know any students or colleagues who would benefit from this, please encourage them to book a place. If you have any questions, please contact [email protected] .

IWOMP 2021 will be hosted by the High Performance Computing research group at the University of Bristol, UK. IWOMP is the annual workshop dedicated to the promotion and advancement of all aspects of parallel programming with OpenMP. It is the premier forum to present and discuss issues, trends, recent research ideas, and results related to parallel programming with OpenMP.

A free and open online course on reproducibility in data science provided by Harvard University, September 16, 2020 – September 15, 2021.

GridPP is being held at the beginning of September for all those folks in the UK interested in grid computing infrastructure for large-data physics projects.


International RSE Day: The International Council of RSE Associations around the world are keen to celebrate RSEs and RSE work on an annually recognised ‘International RSE Day’ on October 14th 2021. The Council encourages events to be organised at the local level by those who would like to get involved.


SocRSE Trustee Mozhgan Kabiri chimeh is chairing the Early Career Program (ECP) as part of the SC21 conference .

Are you an early-career researcher or technical professional within the first five years of a permanent position in navigating a successful career path? Check out the Early Career Program at SC21!  Please share this opportunity widely to interested individuals.

The Early Career program provides a one-day series of special sessions for early-career researchers, educators, and technical professionals. This includes academic, industry, and laboratory staff and post-docs within the first five years of a permanent position. The Early Career program is available to participants by application only. The program aims to help participants secure a better understanding of the issues and challenges faced while navigating a successful research career. The program will include engaging interactive sessions aimed at helping participants develop their professional skills, as well as a strategic vision for their future

Early Career sessions will be held in a virtual workshop format on Monday, November 15, 2021 (subject to change), before the full SC21 Program begins – this allows participants to enjoy as much of the Technical Program as possible. The participants have networking opportunities throughout the day.

Applications close August 31, 2021, notifications sent September 30, 2021.

Another Call for Papers: PAW-ATM 2021: Parallel Applications Workshop, Alternatives To MPI+X. Held in conjunction with SC21, St. Louis, MO

RSE-HPC-2021 submission deadline is next Friday, August 6! We are excited to announce the Research Software Engineers in HPC Workshop (RSE-HPC-2021) to be held as part of SC21 (in St. Louis, MO and virtually). This will be a full-day workshop 9:00am-5:30pm CST, Monday, November 15, 2021.
This workshop will bring together RSEs and allies involved in HPC, from all over the world, to grow the RSE community by establishing and strengthening professional networks of current RSEs and RSE leaders.  We’ll discuss the current activities and plans of national RSE organizations, discuss the needs of RSEs and RSE groups, and write a report on ways RSE organizations can help address these.
We encourage prospective participants to submit position papers (limit of 2 pages, not counting references; no format prescribed) on topics related to RSE issues. Papers and discussion topics should be submitted using the submission website.
The deadline for submissions is Friday, August 6, 2021, at 11:59 PM AoE (UTC-12). For more information, see the workshop website or contact the organizers at [email protected].

PackagingCon 2021: We’re working hard on the organization of the first “packaging-con”. A conference for developers of software package management software, as well as software packagers and communities! Packaging Con is going to be a two-day virtual event with contributors from all over the planet. Our mission is to bring different eco-systems together: from Python’s pip to Rust’s cargo, from Debian apt over Nix to conda and mamba, and from vcpkg to Spack we hope to have many different approaches to package management at the conference.

The PackagingCon conference will be virtual and will span two days, the 9th and 10th of November 2021.
Tickets will be sold at a pay-what-you-want basis, with suggested prices.


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


New episodes of the RSE Stories podcast:

New episodes of the Code for Thought podcast:

New podcast: 100 moments that rocked Computer Science

Open Science Stories – Open science concepts explained as stories in 10 minutes or less


Heidi Seibold gave a keynote talk on “Research Software Engineers and Academia” at the useR! 2021 conference.


Special issue on software citation, indexing and discoverability – Daniel S. Katz and Neil Chue Hong are editing a special issue of PeerJ CS on software citation, indexing and discoverability, so if you are doing any work in this area, please consider submitting it to this special issue. Abstract submission deadline is July 30, 2021.

Blog Posts

Getting to know your 2021 RSE Fellows — Andrew Brown

Getting to know your 2021 RSE Fellows — James Knight

Getting to know your 2021 RSE Fellows — Ed Bennett


University of Sheffield Research Software Engineering Team Newsletter July 2021

US RSE July 2021 Newsletter

Imperial College Research Software Community Newsletter – June 2021

Latest news from Research IT at The University of Manchester

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. More details to come.


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.


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

The latest (July) US-RSE newsletter is out

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

About the author: mweinzierl