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Newsletter – May 2021

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

Welcome to the May newsletter from The Society of Research Software Engineering! Our monthly newsletter will announce new Society initiatives, gather 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 Career Pathway Event: 17 June 2021 2PM

Register for RSE Pathways Event

Recognition, reward and an opportunity for career development. All RSEs want these things but how do we get them? This event gives you a chance to hear about existing high profile initiatives in UK research to recognise and reward talent and explore how to break the boundaries of career progression for RSEs. The event will include speakers from UKRI (representing the Research Concordat) and the Technicians Commitment and include a breakout room discussion session.

The event is open to all who identify as an RSE regardless of background or career stage. Early career RSEs are particularly encouraged to join the conversation.

The event hopes to shape Society strategy and UKRI engagement and ensure that the career progression needs of RSEs are understood, particularly within the context of fixed university job families and limitations of any existing initiatives.

We are also interested to hear your career path experience, so let us know on the registration form if you would like to contribute a short presentation.

See you all at the event in June!

RSE Conference 2021 – SeptembRSE update
We are happy to announce the SeptembRSE conference website is now live https://septembrse.society-rse.org . 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.

Calls are now open for posters, talks, workshops, walkthroughs, panels and discussion. The deadline for submission to all of these is midnight Friday 2nd of July.

SeptembRSE is a community conference intended for networking and collaboration in the RSE community. We value the participation of each and every member of our community and want all attendees to have an enjoyable, welcoming, and fulfilling experience. Accordingly, all attendees are expected to show respect and courtesy to other attendees throughout the conference and at all conference events, whether officially sponsored by UK RSE or not.

Policies (society-rse.org)

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Dell UK discount – excellent news for members’ benefits

As pre-announced in our last (April) newsletter, Dell UK will discount some of their desktops, laptops and accessories – up to 20% – to our paid-up membership. (Offer only valid for UK-based members, but the 6% or so based overseas can contact [email protected] to discover if similar deals are available in their locales.)

Clearly, such savings can more than cover the cost (£20) of membership of SocRSE, so we encourage people just on our mailing list to join us now https://society-rse.org/join-us/.

The Dell UK discount applies to both personal and business purchases. If needed, Dell have dedicated account managers and technical business advisors to assist our members in making buying decisions.

Members of SocRSE can see the offers from Dell UK at https://society-rse.whitefuse.net/pages/23-member-benefits.
(If you are a paid-up member but have trouble logging in, it may be because you have not created a WhiteFuse account. Do it with the same email as your SocRSE membership https://society-rse.whitefuse.net/account/users/sign_up and all should be well.)

Our thanks to Dell UK for making this discount available to our membership.

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 11th May 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 has been split between governance and working towards our published strategy. With respect to governance, I met (along with the governance sub group of trustees) with a representative from the NCVO. We recently voted to undertake an external governance review and this meeting set out the expectation of what would happen. An external review will essentially ensure that we have appropriate policies and governance in place to protect the society and its members. It will ensure the society is on a sound footing to continue to move forwards. In the last trustee meeting we voted to form a working group looking at potential constitutional changes. I met with the group to discuss this and we have set a plan to ensure that we are able to propose changes in time to meet the deadlines imposed by our constitutional process. In order to work towards our strategic aims I met with a senior member of EPSRCs ICT SAT to lobby for improvements to the grant submission and review guidance around software. Similarly, the society has been in discussion with UKCRC to highlight the importance of research software and the people who develop it. UKCRC undertake a great deal of strategic work around national policy so are a great ally for the society.

Matt Williams, Treasurer: This month we have started work towards the SeptembRSE conference. As part of this we will be holding our AGM and elections for new trustees. We are looking to improve the election process and are now meeting regularly to make sure it all goes smoothly. The annual financial report is also due soon and so we are starting work to put that together.

Kirsty Pringle, Vice Treasurer: Working with other trustees to develop a mentorship scheme for RSEs, including scoping out the style and range of the proposed scheme. Met with Jeremy Cohen and Chris Woods (and other trustees) to discuss regional RSE groups and whether RSE Society could in some way support or guide the development and maintenance of regional groups. Proposal to form a special interest group will go to trustees in the May meeting. Joined the SeptembRSE committee.

James Graham, Infrastructure Lead: This month, I’ve been leading a Working Group to prepare for this year’s trustee elections. We’ve been discussing ways to best fit with the new SeptembRSE conference format and address the issues that our members raised last year.
The Society’s web team will be making some changes to the infrastructure which runs our website soon, which will mean that the website will be unavailable for some parts of Sunday 6th June. We apologise for this disruption.

Ian Cottam, Membership Team Lead:   I helped to put this newsletter together. The detailed comms went out to paid-up members regarding the Dell UK discount, including their special offer on laptops just for the week commencing 17/5/2021. I joined and contributed to the meetings of our Elections working group; a follow-up was that James and I had a discussion with Civica.

Marion Weinzierl, Communications Team, RSE Role Diversity working group: I have been working on our communication review and plan, as well as continuing our work in the RSE role diversity group and discussing how we can raise the profile of all kinds of RSE types (please volunteer a case study, see below!), helping out with the RSE career pathways event, and building a task force to support the forming of regional RSE groups

Claire Wyatt, Vice President and RSE Community Manager: This month I have been working on several events: the RSE Careers Pathway event (more info coming soon!), the SeptembRSE Conference and updating more governance documents. The Governance sub group have had an initial meeting with an auditor from NVCO ahead of our governance review, which should be completed in the next few months and will be reported on in the annual trustee report. I am also working on the Constitution Working group which is looking at reviewing and amending some parts of the constitution. As part of the Communications and Publicity Working Group we meet regularly and are finalising a communications plan and stakeholders document. At our regular meetings, we discuss content for the newsletter (Submit something!) and our twitter content. We’re always looking for positive stories to tweet so contact us on [email protected] so we can amplify your good work. We are currently planning more publicity for the new EPSRC RSE Fellows with blog posts and podcasts so they’ll be coming available over the next few months.

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 428 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
  • 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

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.


Dave Horsefall, newly awarded SSI Fellow, has written a blog post about the immensely important topic of RSE Mental Health: https://society-rse.org/mental-health-in-research-software-engineering/. We are proud to support Dave in his work, and ask everyone in our community to look out for each other (and for Dave’s survey in a few months time!).

Celebrating all research outputs! The Hidden REF is a competition that recognises all research outputs and every role that makes research possible.  Submissions have now closed. The committee crowd-sourced submission categories to construct a broad set of categories which they hope will recognise everyone who contributes to the success of research. Submissions opened on 14 December 2020. They are now being reviewed by panels drawn from across the research community and winners will be announced in June 2021.

SSI Fellows The Software Sustainability Institute has announced the 2021 SSI Fellows! Read more about their plans and ideas for their fellowship.

RSE Case Studies and Profiles

In this new category, which we hope to make a regular feature, 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.

Let us also point you to the N8 CIR website, which features some very well put-together Research Software Engineering case studies: here.


The 2021 sktime summer programme
from [email protected]. 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 GPU Hackathon program 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
IDRIS May 17,25-27 March 17th
CINECA June 14,21-23 April 14th
CSCS Sep 20,28-30 July 13th
ENCCS Dec 7,14-16 Oct 6th

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


Nordic RSE Unconference

Bristol Data Week 2021 – SocRSE trustee Matt Williams writes: The Jean Golding Institute at the University of Bristol is excited to announce Data Week Online 2021, a jam-packed week of complimentary workshops, renowned speakers and interactive events showcasing the latest in Data Science and AI. All events are free to attend for anyone around the world.

If you work at the interface of software engineering and computational science, consider submitting a paper to the next International Workshop on Software Engineering for Computational Science, which will take place as part of the International Conference on Computational Science (ICCS), 16-18 June, 2021. 

The Workshop on Performance Engineering, Modelling, Analysis, and Visualization Strategy (PERMAVOST) is calling for papers. Submissions now closed. We are looking to gain perspectives from performance tools developers as well as domain scientists, and application developers on how to better understand their code performance and create a best practice in analysing and arrange a performance improvement strategy. PERMAVOST is going to be an online event in conjunction with ACM HPDC 2021 that will be held in June.


An AWS hackathon on HPC / ARM


RSE Conference 2021 – SeptembRSE update
We are happy to announce the SeptembRSE conference website is now live https://septembrse.society-rse.org . 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] .

6th OpenMP Developer Conference and 4th Euro-OpenMP User Conference

These two conferences are joining forces this year, and will be in Bristol in September (https://openmpcon.org/ and https://openmpusers.org/).

These conferences are extremely relevant to RSEs, since they are user experience focused, and looking for results from users, rather than language designers. The call for submissions is now open at https://openmpcon.org/call-for-submissions/ with a deadline on 14 June 2021. For talks a short (500-1000 word) abstract is all that is required, and  the aim is a presentation/video, rather than a paper.

 Topics for 2021 include, but are not limited to:

  • Development tools, including compilers, debuggers and profilers and reference implementations
  • HPC frameworks and libraries developed with OpenMP
  • Performance and portability, including benchmarking
  • Proposed OpenMP extensions
  • Using OpenMP on accelerators and GPUs
  • Best practices for using OpenMP, including Gotchas and FAQ’s
  • Comparisons with other parallel programming languages
  • The use of OpenMP in any scientific or high-performance computing (HPC) application domain

As well as full presentations, there are also opportunities to propose tutorials, workshops, posters and Birds of a Feather (BoF) sessions.

The full call for participation is at https://openmpcon.org/call-for-submissions/.

17th International Workshop on OpenMP

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.

IWOMP 2021 will be hosted by the High Performance Computing research group at the University of Bristol, UK.

SocRSE Trustee Mozhgan Kabiri chimeh writes: There is still time to apply for the Early Career Program (ECP) as part of the SC21 conference . The ECP will be held virtually this year. If you have any questions, let me know.

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

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


New episodes of the Code for Thought podcast:

  •  Julia part 2
  • A new 3-part series “Designed to Work” on software architecture.  Listen to a discussion on the role of architects and how they fit in with research software engineering

New episodes of the RSE Stories podcast:

  • Have you heard of Gromacs, or are you familiar with the rocky road to establishing a #rseng career? RSEStories chatted with @the_mabraham of @EuroCC_Sweden about his journey from designing software to figuring out his career.


Radio and listen again: Archiving, curating and digging for data David Beavan [email protected]


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.

Blog Posts

A great article on the research software engineering movement, viewed from the USA https://iris-hep.org/2021/05/12/career-path-rse.html

Spot the differences: what is new in Spyder 5?

Manchester RSEs write about packaging up Gromacs wih Conda to optimise for varying hardware configurations

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 new ‘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.

Imperial College Newsletter…The Imperial College RSE Team have been producing a newsletter for a while now for their institute community. They include a ‘Research Software of the month’, links to blog posts and dates for your diary.

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/



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


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.

Nordic RSE Unconference.


The latest (May) US-RSE newsletter is out

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

About the author: Ian Cottam