Newsletter – November 2021

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

Welcome to the November 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
>Announcements
>RSE Case Studies and Profiles
>Events
>Podcasts
>Talks
>Papers
>Blog posts
>Newsletters
>Community info
>RSE Worldwide

Society Update

Take the 2021 RSE survey

Keeping up with the phenomenal growth of the Research Software Engineer (RSE) community is far from easy, so the SSI runs 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.

RSEs need to understand the community they work in. National associations, funders and other policymakers need to understand the RSE community if they are to support it. Please help us provide this data and support the RSE community by completing the survey. You can complete the 2021 RSE survey in EnglishFrenchGerman or Spanish.

SocRSE Trustee Group Updates

Membership. We are at 523 paid-up members; thanks and welcome to those who joined us recently. See also the feedback session announcement below. The group particularly welcome comments on membership (benefits, etc.).

You may have received Black Friday offers from Dell UK via email from the Society (if you signed-up for such). As this offer is not restricted to SocRSE members, we repeat it later in this newsletter.

Events. This month the events team have been working really hard getting things ready for the 2022 in-person RSE conference. We’ve been chasing up quotes and organising visits to potential venues, as well as opening the call for the conference committee and the call for co-located events. Thank you to everyone who has volunteered, we’ll be in touch with you as soon as possible. 

We’re also working on the next Society Feedback event – see later in this newsletter for full details. 

Lastly, we had another successful request to the Events and Initiatives Funding policy, if you have an event or idea that you want the Society to help you with then please apply. 

EDIA. The group has started to define its goals for the coming year. The biggest priorities will be an EDIA landscape review of our community (survey coming out soon!) and from there the development of an EDIA strategy. As we did not want to wait until the strategy is written down, we decided to get started on two accessibility points straight away: the trustees had at the end of the last term decided that we need a captioning tool, with otter.ai being the first choice, but relatively expensive. We looked into built-in Zoom captioning as an alternative and decided to give it a go first, aiming to have it switched on at all Society events. We will reconsider other tools if we at one point get the feedback that it is not sufficient. The second issue it the accessibility of our website. We read up on accessibility guidance and used an online tool to get a first overview of the most obvious problems on our website, and started to work through them (luckily the web lead is also on the EDIA team). We will continue working on this. For both matters, as for any other EDIA matters, please give us feedback if you are affected and/or see something that needs improving.

Governance. We didn’t update you last month as we’d only just had our first trustee meeting and so were in a state of flux. Since then the governance team has new members with Matt and Mark joining and Paul retiring as a trustee. We’ve spent some time doing the small details behind the scenes like updating the Charity Commission with everyone’s details, onboarding the new trustees and sorting out the paperwork, including everyone’s trustee eligibility declarations. This month we received the governance review report from the NCVO which we are planning on publishing a public summary of in the near future. From this review we are starting to streamline how we run things internally to make better use of the limited time we all have, as well as feed it into an upcoming long-term strategy for the Society.

Finance. The finance team has been busy with handover to the new treasurer and vice treasurer. Kirsty Pringle has taken over from Matt Williams as treasurer, and Fergus Cooper has stepped into the vice treasurer role. There’s a lot to learn, so we have been mostly getting up to speed. Each month we have a number of payments to process. This month we are just wrapping up the finance for SeptembRSE (including sponsorship and t-shirt sales), and processing payment to CoachMentoring for their help in setting up and running the RSE Mentoring Programme.

Society Events and Initiatives Funding Policy

We’re holding a feedback and discussion session on Monday, 6 December 2021 at 11:00 – 12:30 GMT, to hear from the community how it thinks the Society has been running and what we could be doing differently. We’ve made a shortlist of topics to discuss, so please vote to let us know which you’d be most interested in using via this form: (…or add a new one if we’ve missed any!) You can vote and attend the feedback session whether or not you’re a Society member.

On 7 December 2021 the ReproHack core team, in collaboration with the N8 CIR, are now offering a two-hour train-the-trainer session for prospective ReproHack event organisers.

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)

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.

Announcements 

UNESCO Recommendation acknowledges the role of software in Open Science

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.

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.


Another exciting new EPSRC call: Support the Development of Research Software Engineering!

There are two funding streams:

  • Core Knowledge Integration
  • Training and Skills Development for RSE Knowledge Integration

Closing date is December 2, 2021.

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

We have a wonderful new case study on our website: Sarah Gibson, Open Source Infrastructure Engineer at 2i2c is telling us about her career path (and her various RSE roles on this path), the challenge of working on more than one project at a time, and what the most unexpected part about being an RSE is for her.

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.

Events

December

Performance Analysis Methodology Workshop
An ExCALIBUR knowledge exchange activity in collaboration with POP HPC in collaboration with the Computer Science Department and Advanced Research Computing, Durham University, DiRAC and N8 CIR. The workshop can be taken independently, or as follow-up of the Performance Analysis Workshop series. Workshop will be held on Wednesday (15th of December) 9:00-12:00 UTC on Zoom.

January

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

February

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.

April

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.

Podcasts

Cristin Merrit,  Cloud HPC Programs, Alces Software, writes… While this is more a US-thing (mostly based on COVID travel restrictions not allowing more UK folk in in time), the SC’21 conference had a news desk this year and we got two RSEs interviewed.

Daniel Katz: Talks about software sustainability
Charles Ferenbaugh: Discusses the Research Software Engineering landscape

The Code for Thought podcast – created and delivered by Peter Schmidt, a Senior Research Software Developer from UCL – is back…

Blog Posts

US-RSE: Supporting the Research Software Engineer

Daniel Katz: Event Formats including Hybrid

Community info

Happy Black Friday – offers from Dell UK to anyone UK-based (not just SocRSE members)

Dell UK have some special voucher codes for a week (valid 25th Nov – 5th Dec 2021)

All Inspiron, Gaming, XPS, Vostro, AlienwareSBASooRSE5
All Latitude, Optiplex, PrecisionSBASooRSE10
All MonitorsSBASooRSE3
All AccessoriesSBASooRSE20

These can be applied straight at the Dell checkout online or offline, feel free to send these out to anyone you think might like to use, these discounts are on top of the website sale prices

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)

AU/NZ RSE Group

Belgium Research Software Engineers Community

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

CANARIE

Check out upcoming events!

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

de-RSE

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.

NL RSE

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.

US RSE

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!

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