Newsletter – September 2021
Please pass this newsletter on to any of your colleagues who might be interested.
Welcome to the September 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.
>RSE Case Studies and Profiles
AGM and Elections: all Society members are invited and encouraged to attend this online event
The third election of trustees of the Society of Research Software Engineering will be taking place this month, along with our Annual General Meeting (AGM). The AGM will take place on Thursday 30th September 2021 at 10am, and is part of the online conference SeptembRSE. Nominations for the election were open from Monday 2nd August until midnight at the end of Monday 23rd August. In order to be eligible to vote in this election, you must have beeen a member of the Society at the time the election opened on Tuesday 7th September 2021. Please read this post on our website for more information on how this year’s election will work.
Opt-in to get offers and information from commercial partners
On request from our members, we have now implemented a separate communication option for emails with information from our commercial partners (such as discounts on their products). In your membership preferences on Whitefuse you have now the possibility to opt-in to receive commercial offers and announcements. Login to your account, select “Communication” on the left under “My account”, and check the “Offers and information from commercial partners” checkbox.
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. Click here for a summary of the event and Society next steps.
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. Let us know what you have planned and if you want to get involved. If you are interested in what NL-RSE have planned, have a look here.
RSE Conference 2021 – SeptembRSE update
SeptembRSE – Timetable
We are in the last week of the 4-week long online conference. The first three weeks were a great success and we expect this last week to be similar. Our thanks go to Christopher Woods and the rest of the organising committee. Christopher is probably the only person to have attended every session! Nearly all the sessions were recorded and are available on the Society YouTube site.
The SeptembRSE conference store is still open! Here you will find lots of fun conference shirts, stickers, and bag designs to hopefully fit in everyone’s budget. All proceeds go back into the Society to fund more events and initiatives for the whole community.
Pilot Mentoring Programme launched at SeptembRSE
Launch date: was 21st September 2021 at this SeptembRSE Session
The Society is really excited to announce that we’re organising our first pilot mentoring programme and that we launched it on the 21st September during SeptembRSE. We are looking for mentors and mentees to join the programme and if you are interested in participating, after the launch, an application form will be available until 13th October 2021 with the programme kicking off in early November.
Mentoring is a developmental dialogue between two people and can be a powerful developmental relationship. It is a process of ongoing support and development, which can tackle issues and problems identified by the mentee. Anybody at any stage of their life or career can benefit from having a mentor, whether it is deep personalised learning with someone with substantially more experience or having a sounding board with a peer.
Often individuals can benefit from having more than one mentor in their life if they are going through a period of intense change. Mentoring taps into a basic instinct most people share – the desire to pass on their learning or to support development and help another person fulfil their potential.
Mentoring is also a confidential, offline (not with your line manager) partnership between two people based on understanding and trust. Its chief aim is to build on self-reliance and self-confidence in the mentee. It is a positive, developmental relationship which is driven primarily by the mentee, but it is also a two-way learning relationship and an effective mentor will learn so much from the relationship as well.
Training and support to both mentors and mentees will all be delivered through interactive online briefings. Initially the mentoring programme will run and be supported for 9 months but some mentoring relationships may continue after this period if they wish to. More info.
Regional RSE Groups Special Interest Group launch
On September 24, we launched our Regional RSE groups SIG. This SIG aims to support the forming of regional groups, and to give advice and guidance for the running of such a group. The SIG members can be contacted under [email protected] . Financial support can be requested through the SocRSE Events and Initiatives grant. At the launch workshop, RSEs from various regions discussed and planned first steps to form regional groups. Have a look at our website for an overview of existing groups.
Many thanks to our trustees: Paul, Ania, Mozhgan, Fouzhan and James who are retiring from the Board of Trustees at the end of this month. Paul was of course our President and oversaw many key changes and improvements to the Society during his time in office.
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.
Paul Richmond, President: Over the last month (and during the middle section of the conference) I have been taking such long overdue Annual Leave. Prior to my holiday I have been working with the other trustees to announce the AGM and provide support for a selection of events at the conference (e.g. Conference opening and AGM announcement, Meet the fellows panel). Over the remainder of this month I will be preparing for the AGM and handover to the new trustees including the new president!
Teri Forey, Secretary: This month I’ve mostly been working on the RSE Role Diversity Workshop we’re running for SeptembRSE, as well as the upcoming AGM. I’ve also been prepping for handover to the new trustees, both for the governance subgroup and web subgroup. Lastly I’ve been working with the governance group on our plans for inducting the new trustees into the society and planning their first trustee meeting in October.
Matt Williams, Finance: This month SeptembRSE has been in full swing. Many trustees have been taking part in both organising it and providing sessions and of course the Society is supporting it financially. With my trustee hat on, I took part in one of the panel sessions for SeptembRSE Worldwide (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=87f7f3OsN0w) which was a really great discussion to find out about all the similarities and differences between the challenges faced across the world. On the treasurer front, we’ve been taking in ticket sales for the conference, liaising with our sponsors and setting up the online shop to ensure that we have funds to keep running the initiatives that we do. Then there’s always the day-to-day running of balancing books, replying to emails and attending meetings. Finally, the AGM is nearly upon us and so preparations for the voting and the treasurer report have been ongoing. In the AGM there will be a vote to confirm the appointment of the new trustees (including me).
Kirsty Pringle, Finance: I have been helping with the finance side of SeptembRSE (ticket sales, t-shirts, etc.) as well as the usual financial bookkeeping for the Society. I have also helped with a few Society led SeptembRSE events, including the launch of the mentorship programme.
Ian Cottam, Membership Team Lead and Communications team: This month I made a little history by being part of the first panel discussion at an RSE conference (SeptembRSE). It was about industrial software engineering and what we can/should adopt in the academic research world. and was widely well received.
We are now at 512 paid-up members (as of 24 September 2021). The 500th membership went to: Richard Palmer (Digital Media & Publishing Dept, Victoria & Albert Museum, London), who has received a free SeptembRSE tee-shirt from the Society trustees. Richard has joined in a personal capacity, not necessarily endorsed by the V&A.
Marion Weinzierl, Communications Co-lead: September was SeptembRSE month! During the last weeks I was busy tweeting, slacking and otherwise communicating about SeptembRSE. I was was in the panel of the RSE Worldwide discussion, co-organised the the Regional Special Interest Group launch (looking forward to continuing the work in this SIG!), and helped with the RSE Landscape workshop. Apart from the conference, we had the SocRSE Governance Review workshop.
Ania Brown, Web team, Mentoring scheme working group: The Society mentoring scheme opened on the 21st September and will provide one-on-one non-technical support for 20 RSEs over a period of 9 months. Volunteer as a mentor at https://bit.ly/3EzERVV or sign up as a mentee at https://bit.ly/3zBnyAh. For more information, see https://society-rse.org/events/pilot-mentoring-programme/. I have been working with our new partners Coach Mentoring to design and begin delivering this scheme. This month I was also involved in the SeptembRSE RSE role diversity workshop.
James Graham, Infrastructure, Elections: This month I have been working mostly on the voting process for the AGM, in particular given the necessary changes to our typical election process. Voting tokens will be sent to all eligable members over the course of today and tomorrow (Tuesday 28th September – Wednesday 29th September). Additionally, as part of the web and infrastructure group, I have been preparing our infrastructure for handover to the new trustee board next week. As my term has come to an end, this will be my last trustee update, so I’d like to thank the community and the rest of the trustees for their support over the last two years. See you in Slack!
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.
RSdropinUK is a new activity for researchers and RSEs across the UK to get technical help, support and advice from research software experts at regular “drop-in sessions”, initially taking place every two weeks on a Wednesday from 13:00 until 15:00.
Our initial session will take place on Wednesday 29th September. Drop in with your questions or to help out, or just come and say hello. Join us on Zoom anytime between 13:00 and 15:00 on the 29th.
Find out more about how to get help at one of our sessions or how to register as a helper to come along and help others on the RSdropinUK page.
Applications to the Software Sustainability Institute Fellowship Programme 2022 are now open! The Fellowship provides funding for individuals who want to improve how research software is used in their domains and/or area of work. Each Fellow is awarded £3,000, which can be used for any activities that meet both the Fellow’s and the Institute’s goals, such as travel to workshops, running training events, nurturing or contributing to communities of practice, collaborating with other Fellows, or for any other activities that relate to improving computational practice or policy. This round will also be a pilot for opening up the programme to international applicants.The deadline to apply is 31 October 2021.
Research Software Camp: Call for RSE volunteers
The Software Sustainability Institute is looking for RSEs who wish to become mentors in the volunteer programme, part of our autumn Research Software Camp: Beyond the Spreadsheet. All mentee volunteers are new to coding or at a beginner level, but wish to develop their skills. We will pair mentors and mentees according to their language or tools of interest. We would ask mentors to commit a maximum of 1 hr every week to walk their mentees through their projects. If you’re interested in helping out or wish to find out more, please get in touch with Selina Aragon ([email protected]).
Celebrating all research outputs: You can now watch the award ceremony of the Hidden REF here.
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.
Closing date is October 14.
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.
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.
The UK government has published a review of the UK’s large-scale computing ecosystem and the interdependency of hardware, software and skills: Large-scale computing: the case for greater UK coordination
RSE Case Studies and Profiles
In our new case study series we have our very first new case study: Meet Al Tanner from ACRC RSE Bristol, and read about how he became an RSE, what he likes about it (and what not), and why he sees himself as a “professional ancillary para-support techno-ally”.
In this 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. If you are willing to work with us on a case study about your work and/or your career, please contact us.
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.
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The full schedule is available at www.gpuhackathons.org/events
Greg Wilson is running a workshop on “Managing Research Software Projects” on Sept 29-30 to raise money for MetaDocencia, an inclusive and collaborative community that improves education by empowering instructors from underserved countries. Topics will include recruiting new contributors and making them productive, tips for designing large-scale software, how to run an effective meeting, workflows for small- to mid-sized projects, and more. For more information (including a learner persona) please see https://third-bit.com/2021/09/07/managing-research-software-projects/, and to sign up, please go to https://www.eventbrite.com/e/managing-research-software-projects-tickets-169833409299.
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.
The Workshop on Sustainable Software Sustainability 2021 (WoSSS21) will be held online from Wednesday 6th October to Friday 9th October 2021. Reports on the previous workshops are available here.
The Port Humanitarian Online Hackathon: 8.-10. October. Are you passionate about innovation and employing innovation driven ways to mitigate major humanitarian challenges? Do you like to work with creative minds? Do you want to develop new skills and meet new people? THE Port Humanitarian Hackathon is a 3 day event to tackle the unprecedented challenges for humanitarian actors and social innovators today and help construct a brighter future for humanity. Deadline for applications: 27th August.
Northumbria Research Computing Community Launch event, 10am-2pm, Thursday 21st of October 2021.
This is a grassroots community being developed by a group of researchers at Northumbria. We recognise that many of us use similar tools, face similar problems, and teach similar topics – even if from different research domains. We hope that by meeting and sharing our experiences, our tips and tricks, our trials and tribulations, we will support and grow the research software community at Northumbria.
The NRCC community is very much in development – this is our first event. Hopefully after this meeting our community will be much bigger!
This event is open to staff and postgraduate students across all the departments at Northumbria. You do not need a certain level of expertise to join us – you may have been coding in Fortran since the 70s, or you may be brand new to research computing – you are welcome!
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.
Fancy being in Hawaii in January 2022? Papers wanted by HICSS 22.
New episodes of the RSE Stories podcast created and delivered by Vanessa Sochat in the US:
- SeptembRSE special: Oracle and Research
- SeptemberRSE special: Closing the skills gap
- SeptembRSE special: How to become a cloud ninja
Open Science Stories – Open science concepts explained as stories in 10 minutes or less
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.
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)
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!
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 available.
Collect your gold star here if you’ve read all the way to the end!