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Newsletter – October 2021

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

Welcome to the October 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

AGM and Elections: 30th September 2021

The third election of trustees of the Society of Research Software Engineering took place last month, along with our Annual General Meeting (AGM). We welcome the new trustees to the trustee board and thank the remaining trustees for continuing into the second year of their term. You can read all about the trustees and the roles they have taken up on the board on our governance page. A recording of the AGM is now available on the Society YouTube site.

Our thanks go to Christopher Woods and the rest of the organising committee for four weeks of fantastic RSE events and a new novel way of networking in gather town. All the sessions were recorded and are available on the Society YouTube site and a summary blogpost is now available from the programme chair, Christopher Woods.

International RSE Day – 14th October

We celebrated the first annual International RSE Day this October. In the UK, we asked tweeters to change their twitter profile photo and tweet appreciation about their RSE colleagues which worked well. We saw a lot of twitter love for RSEs flying about! The day also saw RSE Asia launch and the NL-RSE group release a new video along with US-RSE and de-RSE having a day of talks.

Trustee Updates

A huge thanks to the trustees who have stepped down: Paul, Ania, Mozhgan, Fouzhan and James. As President, Paul oversaw many key changes and improvements to the Society during his time in office that we are continuing use now.

After the elections at the AGM, we have been inducting our new trustees and held our first board meeting in mid October. At that meeting, we welcomed the new trustees and organised our new roles and subgroups. For the rest of October, the new subgroups have been meeting and settling into their new roles. Handover is ongoing into November.

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 3rd September 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.

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. 

Building Human Capacity Development With a Sponsored Training: Data Science With R Syntax‘ is a recent success of the funding policy. Dr Timothy Ogunleye recently trained up 80 people in Nigeria after applying for funding from the Society. Read about it at the blog post link above.

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 512 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.

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.


Kernel Tuner tutorial at Supercomputing SC21 – GPU Code Optimization and Auto-tuning Made Easy with Kernel Tuner. Monday, 15 November 20218am – 12pm CST
In this tutorial, you will learn how to use Kernel Tuner, a for optimizing and auto-tuning GPU codes using simple Python scripts. We will take a step-by-step approach to explain the auto-tuning basics, such as tuning GPU kernel thread block dimensions, building up to more complex search spaces with many tunable parameters and interdependencies. We will cover a wide range of topics from the basics of GPU code optimization, parameterizing code, and verifying the output of kernels with many different parameterizations, to using advance search space optimization strategies to accelerate the auto-tuning process. We will provide code examples for the hands-on exercises. Participants can use Jupyter Notebooks and Google Colab if they don’t have access to a machine with GPUs.
Speakers: Ben van Werkhoven, Netherlands eScience Center, Alessio Sclocco, Netherlands eScience Center

For all those interested in reproducibility and code review!
Anna Krystalli would love to invite you to celebrate with them on November 18th 2021 the launch of their ReproHack Hub :tada::rocket:  Reprohacks are one day hackathons providing a sandbox environment for practicing reproducible research. Authors submit paper with associated code and data for review. During events, participants attempt to reproduce submitted papers of their choice and feed back their experiences to authors by completing a review form. They spend time sharing and learning from the experiences of participants in the group and informal impromptu peer-to-peer training sessions often emerge! e.g. Docker school, live demos of publishing to zenodo and mentored contributions to open source projects. There will also be a talk by Esther Plomb, introducing the Turing Way community, a great resource to continue learning on these topics. So if you (or any researchers you are working with) would like friendly review on the reproducibility of the associated code and data, submit it to the ReproHack Hub paper list https://reprohack.org/paper/. If you want to get practical experience in reproducibility (or probably more appropriate for this group, if you want to get experience of the current practices used by researchers and help participants if they get stuck!) by working with other people’s material’s join them on the day! https://www.reprohack.org/event/11/ Indeed, support by RSEs at past events has always been invaluable so Anna hope to see some of you there!

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.

Sign up to Research Software Camp panel discussion: ‘Do we have the right tools for research?
Registration is open for the panel discussion of ‘Do we have the right tools for research?’ at the Research Software Camp: Beyond the Spreadsheet. Join the Software Sustainability Institute expert panelists in a conversation around the use of spreadsheets in research, spreadsheets as powerful tools to handle data, and what’s available for researchers who wish to move beyond spreadsheets. Register on Eventbrite for the panel which is taking place online on Friday 5 November 2021, from 2 – 3pm GMT. The experts come from different research backgrounds and represent various tools, such as Lambda for Excel (Microsoft), Google Sheets, Open Refine, Filament, and languages, such as Python and R. The panel will be chaired by the Simon Hettrick, SSI Deputy Director. All researchers and research software developers are welcome to join this discussion panel. It will be presenting as many views as possible from using spreadsheets as a powerful tool in research data management to discussing options for moving beyond them.

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. Submission Deadline: November 12th 2021

An 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.

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.



Software Sustainability Institute’s Research Software Camp: Beyond the Spreadsheet will run from 1st to 12th November 2021. Watch the video introduction to this Software Camp! They will focus on the uses of spreadsheets in research and the next steps into further use of software in research. View the full programme and sign up to our various sessions.

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 programme 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 Programme begins – this allows participants to enjoy as much of the Technical Programem 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.

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. 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.


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.


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.

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. Submission Deadline: November 12th 2021


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.


New episodes of the RSE Stories podcast created and delivered by Vanessa Sochat in the US:

The Code for Thought podcast – created and delivered by Peter Schmidt, a Senior Research Software Developer from UCL – is back after its summer break!

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

Blog Posts

US-RSE: Supporting the Research Software Engineer

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 October US-RSE newsletter is available and check out their new website and logo!

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

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