Trustees Elections 2019

Voting opens on 19th September and closes on 11th October. All members of the Society of RSE are eligible to vote.

Please read the profiles below and select up to 6 candidates you think will make the best contribution to the board of trustees.

The trustees of the Society are responsible for running it effectively to further its aims and meet legal requirements. What we are looking for in trustees and their responsibilities are described in more detail here: https://society-rse.org/trustee-elections-2019/

Half of the new trustee body will be appointed for a 1-year term and the other half for a 2-year term so that, from this point onwards, half the places will be up for election each year. This year, in order to transition to this staggered system, half of the places on the board are reserved for the highest-polling existing trustees.

The following people are standing for election to the Society board of trustees.
Please click on each name to see the details of their candidacy.
Tania Allard, Developer advocate
Microsoft
How have you contributed to furthering the RSE role and building the community?
Over the last few years, I have been deeply involved in building and supporting the global RSE community through:
  • Active participation in the UK RSE Society as an elected committee member (now trustee)
  • Mentoring of aspiring RSEs colleagues and junior colleagues across the UK, other countries in Europe, USA, Canada and Latin America
  • Involvement in the organisation of the RSE conference: some roles I have taken are programme co-chair, diversity, inclusion and accessibility chair, volunteer, supporting our logistic chair and the such
  • Advocating for a culture change and the formal recognition of the role. As well as raising awareness of this role among intersectional communities. This has been done through advisory roles, speaking at conferences and panels.
  • Active participation in the multiple online platforms (Slack, Twitter, mailing lists)
  • As an academic RSE and now still working in building collaborations between industry and academia, and generally supporting RSE teams
What abilities can you bring to the role of trustee that would be useful in establishing and running a new organisation?
I have extensive community management experience, derived from my involvement in the UK and global Python, Mozilla, open science and RSE communities. This is a valuable skill for a newly formed society to serve their members and the broader ecosystem better. As a UK Python Association trustee, I have experience in running a charitable organisation (4 years old). I am also an experienced (a serial?) event organiser. Which will also be of great help when organising and running future Society events. Such as the worldwide leaders’ event, emerging leaders and RSE conference as well as any new in-person and online events. I have experience mentoring colleagues and community members as well as running and scaling mentoring schemes. I have experience building collaborations among different networks, communities. Apart from technical expertise in many tools, technologies, and the such.
What would you like to help achieve through the Society in the role of trustee?
In this consolidation and growth phase, I would be particularly interested in the following:
  • Mentoring programmes for new RSEs (and aspiring RSEs) as well as future RSE leaders within the UK and globally
  • Work towards the representation and inclusion of diverse voices in the community (e.g. different backgrounds, locations, career stages, age, gender, all the layers of diversity)
  • Helping emerging RSE chapters/societies to establish and build their local community. I am particularly interested in helping those in areas currently underrepresented in our communities. Such as Latin America, Africa, Asia which would mean establishing further collaborations, networks and identifying the challenges faced in such research communities
  • Raise awareness around the role of the UK RSE Society. I know sometimes the functions of such organisations can go unnoticed or not be entirely understood by the community. So I would like to help with this to also open the dialogue on what we could be doing better to serve the community
  • Continue advocating for the role and career paths of RSE as well as the recognition of its role in research
For existing trustees only:
How have you contributed to setting up and running the Society in your role as a committee member and trustee so far?
I have been working on the revisions of our Society constitution as well as taking part in discussion and decisions around processes for the Society: from elections to membership, among others. I also have been involved in the creation and revisions of policies for the Society and community such as the new Code of Conduct and the data retention policies. Both of which are crucial for the growth of engagement with the community. Additional support and voting on critical decisions for the society as well as organisation of events and launch of multiple initiatives. Involvement and support with other Societies.
Iain Bethune, Technical Programme Manager & RSE Group Lead
STFC Hartree Centre
How have you contributed to furthering the RSE role and building the community?
Grown a team of RSEs at the Hartree Centre from 0 to 15 people, working on a range of industry-facing projects and pushing for better software engineering practices across the centre. Committee member of the RSE Association 2017-2019, and founding trustee of the Society of RSE.
What abilities can you bring to the role of trustee that would be useful in establishing and running a new organisation?
10 years experience in scientific software development and project management, including working across organisations, planning and organising projects and events, and building strong relationships within a team and with stakeholders.
What would you like to help achieve through the Society in the role of trustee?
I would like to promote the role of RSEs as a way of improving the impact of research. Better Software, Better Impact ūüôā
For existing trustees only:
How have you contributed to setting up and running the Society in your role as a committee member and trustee so far?
Involved in various aspects of society setup including code of conduct, content for the new website, comments on the draft constitution. Attended F2F and Skype committee meetings (minuted one).
Alys Brett, Head of Software Engineering Group
UK Atomic Energy Authority
How have you contributed to furthering the RSE role and building the community?
I was an RSE for the JET nuclear fusion experiment for 7 years and I am now head of the Software Engineering Group at UKAEA, the national fusion lab. I set up a new RSE team to collaborate on wider research projects which has grown to 9 members in the first year. I discovered the RSE Association when I became an SSI fellow, just in time to be part of the RSE Leaders group from its inception. I am a co-investigator on the RSE Network grant through which we engaged a dedicated community coordinator, seed-funded the RSE conference and networking activities. I was talks chair on the first two RSE conference committees and ran the first international RSE leaders workshop. I advocate for RSE and better approaches to research software in many contexts. I am on the external advisory boards for various things such as the new Oxford University RSE group and a software-focused DTC. I was co-editor of the Software and Skills strategy whitepaper for the research councils’ e-infrastructure road-map, laying the groundwork for policy and funding improvements and structures for national RSE provision. I love talking to people who are trying to improve things related to research software in any way, connecting them to the experience of others and learning from them in return. I have spoken about RSE all over the country, for example at institutional and regional RSE events and European research networks. I have given keynote talks on RSE in each of the last three years at conferences where new national movements or organisations were being established (New Zealand, Canada and Germany).
What abilities can you bring to the role of trustee that would be useful in establishing and running a new organisation?
In my role as chair of trustees for the Society during its foundation I have been rapidly familiarising myself with the rules and practicalities of running a charity. In my 5 years at the forefront of the RSE movement I have developed good knowledge of the history, current state and aspirations of the RSE community and the people within it. I think I am able to do a good job of communicating this to others so I can represent the Society effectively to various audiences and vice versa. I have experience of leading teams, building collaborations, organising events, developing proposals and writing for various purposes. In both my Society of RSE work and in my UKAEA role I have a track record of identifying opportunities, taking responsibility and and putting in the work to exploit them. I am happiest doing this along with a small, committed, ambitious group with a collaborative attitude – whether taking the lead or chipping in with whatever needs doing. I think this is a good fit for the role of trustee in a fledgling organisation.
What would you like to help achieve through the Society in the role of trustee?
The Society is at a crucial stage of its development having just set up our initial systems and opened registration for members. There is work in progress to be completed to get it fully established and self-sustaining. It is imperative that there is good communication between the trustees, the members and the wider research community. I have a strong drive to make sure this happens and that our structures and systems are established and fit for purpose as they are set up and tested throughout the full first-year cycle. It is important we bring in new trustees with fresh ideas and the impetus to implement them, and that both new and continuing trustees remain engaged and feel valued. I think the Society needs to establish clear positions of responsibility on the new board of trustees and also engage more professional support (now we have control of our own funds) for instance buying in training and advice for trustees and outsourcing well-defined tasks. This will enable us to implement our strategic plans (shaped by our members’ priorities) and also to keep on top of day to day tasks needed to run an efficient organisation. I would be willing to continue in the role of chair for part or all of the coming year if the new board of trustees wishes me to, with a view to handing this role over in a managed way at or before the 2020 trustee elections. Should a new chair be appointed this year, I’d like to remain on the board and support them. In that case, I could take on an external relations role, building on our links with other organisations in the UK and abroad. For instance, I’d like to be part of organising another international RSE leaders workshop and ongoing coordination between national organisations. I’d also like to work on connecting us to people who can spread this movement to further places that could benefit from it (be that countries, research disciplines, demographics or career situations). I want to make more of the good ideas this community has had for supporting RSE group and career development a reality – setting up a mentoring/coaching/peer support scheme and harnessing the knowledge of our members to develop sustainable shared resources.
For existing trustees only:
How have you contributed to setting up and running the Society in your role as a committee member and trustee so far?
I am founding chair of trustees for the Society of RSE. I was joint-chair of the UKRSE Association from 2016-19, playing a leading role in the efforts to establish this professional Society. I have chaired the committee meetings and AGMs, coordinated work and been personally involved in most aspects of the set-up of the new organisation, from detailed discussion of the constitution to setting up the website and launching membership and this election process. I have always prioritised work for UKRSE and the Society alongside a demanding day job – I believe I have missed only one monthly meeting in three years. I have the support of my employer for spending core time on this but also devote significant amounts of my own time when necessary. I have represented UKRSE and the Society in many national and international forums, for example on UKRI selection panels and strategy working groups and at international RSE-related conferences and workshops. I proposed and chaired the first ever international RSE leaders workshop in 2018 on behalf of UKRSE (https://researchsoftware.org/2018/04/23/int-rsel-workshop.html). I won funding for 5 US participants to attend, which played a part in the beginnings of the US RSE association. The Nordic Association launched its website during the workshop. More informally, I’ve shared our UK experience with people working on similar initiatives in other countries and supported new and aspiring RSE leaders as others have supported me. These interactions can be the most important thing as ultimately it is the people within the community who make the changes we know are needed.
Anna (Ania) Brown, Research Software Engineer
University of Oxford; University of Southampton
How have you contributed to furthering the RSE role and building the community?
Since arriving in the UK in 2017 I have worked as an RSE developing, optimising and maintaining software across fields such as quantum computing, fusion reactor simulation, and radio astronomy. I particularly value close and active collaboration with domain experts and advocate for good software practice within those collaborations. I have been an enthusiastic participant in several community events: I presented a workshop on GPU optimisation at my first RSE conference in 2017, was one of the chairs for workshops and for diversity in 2018, and was co-organiser of a mentoring panel this year to collect ideas for a mentoring scheme that I hope will be created by the Society. I am also part of other community-building initiatives such as the Oxford Research Developers Network, RSLondonSouthEast and HPC/Archer champions.
What abilities can you bring to the role of trustee that would be useful in establishing and running a new organisation?
  • Commitment: I have wanted a career as an RSE since before I knew the term; having found this community I want to do everything I can to stay involved and help it grow.
  • Event organisation: As a 2018 RSE conference workshops chair I liaised with presenters and sponsors, prepared the software environment, and coordinated with volunteers on the day. As one of the diversity chairs I worked on our conference communications and processes to improve diversity and inclusion at the event.
  • Diverse experiences: I have lived in several countries and bounced around departments on the way to finding the RSE career. I understand that the path to working as an RSE can be complicated and I hope my experiences will help me to work with RSEs from many backgrounds with openness and empathy.
  • Communication and networking: Through the nature of my work and particularly now that my time is split between universities, I come into contact with people working in a wide range of fields in various communities. I try to make use of any opportunities I find to connect new people to the community and to advocate the need for RSEs.
What would you like to help achieve through the Society in the role of trustee?
Having completed the process of incorporation, the Society is now in an exciting position to move forward with new projects and infrastructure that will support RSEs and develop the community. It is important to me that these efforts are made in response to real needs. I would like to take advice from the community at large both individually and via surveys and events to learn what would best serve our community, and work with the other trustees to create programs based on this feedback. One example that there looks to be a need for is a system for mentoring. While I and other RSEs in my acquaintance have found great benefit in participating in mentoring schemes through, for instance, local institutions, they are not necessarily available everywhere and mentors are not guaranteed to be familiar with RSE. I hope to create a mentoring scheme based on needs discussed at our conference panel that would give any RSEs in our community the ability to connect with more experienced mentors that understand the RSE role.
Mihaela Duta, Research Associate and Senior RSE
University of Oxford
How have you contributed to furthering the RSE role and building the community?
In my home institution I have been combining the roles of RSE and researcher for the past 8 years. During this time I have been working cross-discipline, furthering the RSE role in a variety of translational projects with a potential for future societal impact. Since January 2019 I have also been helping to start, establish and co-manage the OxRSE group at the University of Oxford to serve the research software development needs of the whole institution. The group had made rapid success, quickly expanding beyond its initial size. At the national level, I helped organize RSE2018 in the role of workshop co-chair. I have also been a committee member for the UKRSE Association since 2016, and am one of the founding trustees of the new Society of Research Software Engineering, thus contributing to the establishment of the first formal professional organization to advance the practice of research software engineering.
What abilities can you bring to the role of trustee that would be useful in establishing and running a new organisation?
I have extensive experience with working in a public-facing research environment; this includes organizing and participating in public outreach events, as well as designing and producing publicity material for our research. As a conference committee member (workshop co-chair) for RSE2018 I also gained experience in organizing a scientific/community event, including handling the corresponding WordPress site. As a member of the committee for the UK RSE and a founding trustee of the Society of Research Software Engineering I learned a lot about what it takes to understand and enable the RSE community, as well as work towards setting up the legal and policy framework for a professional organization. I also have previous experience as a trustee for a local charity.
What would you like to help achieve through the Society in the role of trustee?
I would like to focus on strategies to establish and/or improve: a) a tailored presence of the RSE role within the organizational structure of academic institutions, and b) the visibility of RSE work, contribution and relevance at traditional forums for presenting research outputs. On the one hand, I would like to initiate work towards a framework for the formal evaluation of Research Software Engineers. I think this is a critical prerequisite to successful lobbying for the recognition and promotion of RSEs in academic institutions, which are largely equipped to handle only the evaluation of the teaching and research output of their employees; there are virtually no established specific metrics to evaluate and put into context the RSEs’ contribution to the institution’s academic output and impact. I would like to set up a working group for a series of consultation meetings to gather information on existing practices and put forward proposals for an advisory document on formal metrics for the evaluation of RSE work. These meetings would attempt to bring senior RSEs together with key academics and organizational leaders/managers, thus widening the scope of conversation and enabling it to reach individuals with decision power on matters of structure and policy. On the other hand, I would also like to continue working on a scheme to facilitate and fund the exchange of RSE-specific knowledge and the dissemination of RSE contribution to research output beyond the scope of the annual RSE conference. It is often the case that RSEs from within academic institutions (whether on grant funding or not) do not have access to funds specifically to present their work within the broader research context at scientific events. I think that the opportunity to present research work, with due emphasis on RSE contribution, is important not only for personal development, but is also a critical step towards furthering the RSE role and establishing it on equal footing with the researcher role. To address this I would like to continue working to set up a framework to facilitate information exchange about possible opportunities for presenting RSE work at academic seminar series, conferences, etc, which will be complemented by a scheme by which the Society will fund individual RSEs to travel to present their work at these events.
For existing trustees only:
How have you contributed to setting up and running the Society in your role as a committee member and trustee so far?
As a committee member and trustee I attended Skype and face-to-face meetings (hosted one), contributed to decisions within the scope of my expertise and knowledge, committed to actions when required and represented the committee in the RSE2018 organizing committee as a workshop co-chair. More specifically addressing the issues of setting up and running the Society, I worked on adapting the Charity Commission constitution template document to make it suitable for the specific purpose and needs of the Society, contributed towards defining the online presence for the Society and started working to set up a scheme to facilitate knowledge exchange by funding RSEs to travel and give invited talks on their contribution to research work.
James Graham, RSE
Software Sustainability Institute
How have you contributed to furthering the RSE role and building the community?
While the Society of Research Software Engineering brings together RSEs at a national scale, it is important that support is also available for RSEs at their own institutions. Since starting my role as an RSE, I have been involved in setting up the Southampton Research Software Community (RSC), a network for RSEs and Researcher-Developers. I designed ‚ÄėCode Surgery‚Äô sessions after identifying that more opportunities for bespoke advice and training were required by the community. I implemented and now manage these sessions which provide a learning resource for researchers from all domains. These sessions provide researchers with one-to-one support in research code development, use and management from our Southampton RSEs. The Surgeries practically demonstrate the value of RSEs, raising awareness of our role in research and ingraining our values in work across the University.
What abilities can you bring to the role of trustee that would be useful in establishing and running a new organisation?
In my support for the Southampton Research Software Community (RSC), I have prepared a number of policy briefs, describing what I believe the purpose of such a community to be and outlining various ways in which that purpose can be met. Each of these documents, once sufficiently complete, was opened up to input and feedback from stakeholders at Southampton, and from other RSEs within the wider community. Documents such as these help to have an informed discussion around a particular policy objective, as well as being an effective means of communicating the work of an organisation to internal and external stakeholders. I am currently in the process of formalising the infrastructure to support the RSC, based on the needs of Special Interest Groups and the ‚ÄėCode Surgery‚Äô sessions. Once completed, this will provide: a set of web pages describing each of the components of the community, templates and document stores for each type of activity the community conducts, and mechanisms for sharing informal information in a more persistent format.
What would you like to help achieve through the Society in the role of trustee?
With the incorporation of this charity, and the creation of similar groups in other countries (e.g. Germany, the Netherlands, USA), I believe that the RSE movement has reached a threshold and is ready to be more actively outward-looking. As a trustee, I would like to extend some of the practices I have trialled in Southampton to increase the breadth of our impact in research. In addition to the RSE mentoring scheme that has been proposed recently, I would seek to set up a mechanism for researchers and Researcher-Developers to have direct one-on-one discussions (e.g. Skype) with an RSE, in a similar style to the ‚ÄėCode Surgeries‚Äô at Southampton. This would rely on a small amount of time being volunteered by the RSE community, but my experience of the community so far suggests that this would be forthcoming. These discussions with researchers from all across the research landscape will also provide a much wider base of information from which to direct future policy decisions.
Simon Hettrick, Deputy Director
Software Sustainability Institute
How have you contributed to furthering the RSE role and building the community?
I chaired the meeting at which the RSE term was coined. I began and architected the RSE campaign in 2013. I organised the first workshop for RSEs where people voted to set up the UK RSE Association. I was the founding chair of the Association and instrumental in that organisation becoming democratic. I gained the seed funding to begin the RSE Conference in 2016 and have been a member of the conference committee ever since. I wrote the constitution for the Society of RSE, organised our lawyer and completed the paperwork for the Charity Commission. I am currently a trustee of the Society and its treasurer. I held the first RSE Leaders Network meeting and supported the network’s development ever since. I won the funds to provide the community with its own RSE coordinator to help with administration of the community across the UK. I have helped other RSEs around the world to set up RSE associations and RSE Groups. I have lobbied funders and policymakers to gain recognition for RSEs in funding and other academic policy. I’ve done a lot of other stuff too, but I hope this gives a taste of my involvement with the RSE community and my work supporting it.
What abilities can you bring to the role of trustee that would be useful in establishing and running a new organisation?
My history with the RSE campaign means that I’ve got a pretty good understanding of the community’s requirements and know most of the people in it. Hence, I’m good at bringing the right people together to make things happen. I have almost a decade of experience in running national and international communities, I have good contacts with stakeholders across the world who care about software in research and RSEs. I have dedicated a lot of my free time to the RSE campaign over the last 6 years, and I will continue to do so in the future.
What would you like to help achieve through the Society in the role of trustee?
I helped develop the RSE community from a concept to having its own learned society. I feel that we are very, very close to being sustainable, but I would like to continue my role as treasurer for one more term, so that I can be sure that the Society’s finances – and its future – are secure.
For existing trustees only:
How have you contributed to setting up and running the Society in your role as a committee member and trustee so far?
I wrote the constitution. I organised our lawyer and completed the paperwork for the Charity Commission. I registered for our bank account. I wrote a lot of the text on the Society and membership websites. I was involved in most (potentially all) of the decisions on how to construct the society.
Matthew Johnson, Research Software Engineer
Microsoft
How have you contributed to furthering the RSE role and building the community?
I have worked as an RSE at Microsoft for five years, first in Microsoft Research, and now as part of the HoloLens organization, both in Cambridge. In that capacity, I created and led an RSE team within the lab that helped with a variety of projects and have been an active advocate for training programmes and fair and inclusive hiring practices to increase diversity in our profession. I was a member of the RSE committee from 2016 to the present, and gave the keynote at the first RSE conference. I have given talks on how to better use emerging AI technologies as an RSE, sat on the EPSRC committee for selection of RSE fellows, and have helped organize workshops and talks on diversity and inclusion in hiring for the RSE profession in the UK.
What abilities can you bring to the role of trustee that would be useful in establishing and running a new organisation?
I have been on the board of trustees of a charitable organization before, where I acted as the alumni liason and organised fundraising and events planning. I also have run several engineering organizations at different companies, which I believe gives me an insight into how to engage with and represent industrial RSEs on the board.
What would you like to help achieve through the Society in the role of trustee?
I want to make it so that every person, be they in academia or industry, has the opportunity to enter into a lifelong and fulfilling career as an RSE. Given my past and expertise, I want to champion hidden RSEs in industry and to advocate for the role of research engineering in private enterprise. More importantly, however, I want to help remove barriers and create opportunities for women, minorities, people of colour and indeed any underrepresented group to enter our profession. Whether it be better hiring practices, more training opportunities, or mentoring: we need to do more and I want to help direct the society’s efforts in this critical area.
For existing trustees only:
How have you contributed to setting up and running the Society in your role as a committee member and trustee so far?
I have attended as many meetings as possible (barring reasonable scheduling conflicts), helped arrange for Microsoft to host meetings and fund various pre-society activities, and been an active participant in the drafting and review of the constitution. I have also acted as an advocate for industrial RSEs in our meetings, and drafted the proposed corporate membership scheme for the society.
Mozhgan Kabiri chimeh, Research Associate/Research Software Engineer
University of Sheffield
How have you contributed to furthering the RSE role and building the community?
As an RSE and Software Sustainability Institute fellow, my mission is to promote the RSE role as a sustainable career path and to build and expand the community around it. Software plays a key role in the research environment and it is my goal to raise awareness around this. At the same time, community building and diversifying communities such as HPC and RSE are very important for me. I contributed to the RSE community through my involvement as the talk and diversity co-chair of the RSE conference in 2017. Moreover, I collaborated with the international RSE societies and leaders on organizing sessions on the important of research software, gave talks and participated on the panels to raise awareness of the RSE role; its existence and its importance to the research community as well as promoting the RSE role [occurrences: SC18, ISC19, SC19]. Findings were published as a report to make it accessible to the community [https://betterscientificsoftware.github.io/swe-cse-bof/]. Training and mentoring are essentials in community building. Training is a crucial step to encourage a diverse and inclusive workforce in RSE and HPC communities. One important step towards making this happen is to facilitate trainings to address the shortage of skills in HPC, promoting good practices in developing software for research and etc. As an HPC advocate, I am actively involved in delivering tutorials at leading conferences/workshops in the field of HPC and complex system simulation (HPCS, ECAL, ALIFE), GPU training for CUDA, mentoring GPU Hackathons and research software consultancy. As a member of software outlook (https://www.softwareoutlook.ac.uk/) working group funded as part of CoSeC, I contribute to the research software community by helping to define the work packages based on the UK’s Collaborative Computational Projects (CCPs) and High-End Computing Consortia (HECs) provide advice (as an RSE) with respect the work they do. Mentoring is another form of training. It is an essential component to advancing Research Software Engineer careers, with additional benefits for those in underrepresented groups. Building a mentorship program that works is very important for the RSE community. As an advocate of equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in STEM, through my involvement with Women in HPC organization, I encourage more women and minorities to enter STEM fields and nurture their growth through mentoring and coaching. This year, I co-organized a panel on developing a mentoring program for the research software engineers. The purpose of this panel is to demystify this process through engaging discussion of several successful mentoring programs; best (and worst!) mentoring practices to help ensure a positive and productive mentoring relationship; and the benefits of mentoring for mentors, mentees, and organizations. Findings from this panel will be available to the RSE society to be used by the community. This is a significant contribution to further the RSE role and building the community [https://sched.co/OdJE].
What abilities can you bring to the role of trustee that would be useful in establishing and running a new organisation?
I have extensive experience in running and organizing events including workshops, trainings, hackathons, panels, and conferences. This year, I chaired the Women in HPC (WHPC) workshop at the International Supercomputing conference, taking the lead on organising the workshop and directing the workshops programme and desired outcomes. At the moment, I am on the Women in HPC Summit executive team (First WHPC conference in Vancouver, 2020), to help with WHPC organization‚Äôs mission and vision to support and advocate for the under-represented groups in the workforce and HPC community. As the WHPC Summit organization committee chair, I have overall responsibility for Summit organization & logistics program (communications, local on-site activities, social activities, student/broader engagement, sponsorship, registrations, conference evaluation.) Moreover, I organized a 5-day GPU hackathon in partnership with Oakridge computing facility (USA) and NVIDIA and brought together researchers from various disciplines to apply GPUs to their work, promote their research and build a thriving community [http://gpuhack.shef.ac.uk/ , Aug 2019] I co-organized multiple panels and sessions at Supercomputing conference related to research software to raise awareness of software engineering for computational science and engineering on supercomputers as a major challenge, and to develop an international ‚Äúcommunity of practice‚ÄĚ to house important discussions around the topic of research software such as reproducibility, longevity and etc. , outside of workshops and other ‚Äútraditional‚ÄĚ venues [occurrences: SC19,ISC19,SC18].
What would you like to help achieve through the Society in the role of trustee?
In the role of trustee, I would like to promote diversity and inclusivity in the RSE community and workforce through training, tutorials, workshops and developing a mentoring program to ensure Research Software Engineers career development. Creating such a program will significantly benefit the community of RSEs. Moreover, I would like to contribute to ‚ÄúRSE career pathway‚ÄĚ movement to ensure that there are clear pathways for promotions and progression for RSEs, and under-represented groups in Universities/institutions. Contributing to the RSE society will help me broaden and develop my skills while raising my profile as a leader in the RSE community. This unique opportunity would help me expand my network and establish new contacts by meeting new people while maintaining the existing ones. It is time to give back something to the RSE community and society and that is my goal by committing to this: to make a difference to research and community and make an impact.
Joanna Leng, Senior RSE Fellow
University of Leeds
How have you contributed to furthering the RSE role and building the community?
Like many RSEs (Research Software Engineers) I have had a non-traditional career moving between technical and academic roles and between many academic disciplines since 1997. I started in a local visualization service in IT services at the University of Manchester (UoM) and then worked on a national HPC service (CSAR) in the same group. While doing this I also worked on 3 research projects with a focus on knowledge transfer and the adoption of computers in academic research. After a career break (2008) where I had some care responsibilities I returned to academia in 2013 at the University of Leeds (UoL) as a research fellow in computational biomechanical engineering. In 2015 I started working in user support on local and region HPC services based in IT services at UoL. In 2018 I started an EPSRC funded RSE Fellowship on the topic of Research Computing and Imaging where I moved into the School of Computing. In 2016 I started a local RSE network and shortly after in 2017 I started a local Women in HPC network. These have involved me organising talks and getting to know the local RSEs, their concerns and the academics who are interested in knowing more. In completing my part-time PhD in 2007 I started to study the adoption of computers to academic research with a sociologist. Since then I have continued to study the adoption and use of computers in academic research in a broader, sociological, context which has included legal, professional standards, science communication, hardware/software trends and collaboration which in the book I edited ‚ÄúComputational Science and Engineering: Theory and Practice‚ÄĚ. This context is important in understanding the challenges of the RSE and so plan how best to improve the situation. For example it led me to the VITAE conference where I helped deliver a workshop on the role of the RSE and the extension of the Researchers‚Äô Concordat which lays out work place conditions such as funding for networking and professional development that assures the quality of research. Over the last year I have promoted the review of the Researchers‚Äô Concordat to the RSE community.
What abilities can you bring to the role of trustee that would be useful in establishing and running a new organisation?
Since 2018 I have been a reviewer and now I am an editor for JORS (the Journal of Open Research Software) which allows software to submitted and reviewed as a academic paper. The journal has academic recognition which is improves the status of the RSE. At Christmas 2016 I started a RSE network at the University of Leeds that has 3 aims; the dissemination of technical information, professional development and career development. In doing this I have become familiar with the local concerns of the RSE at UoL and the academics who wish to work with them I have been a member of a Arts, Science and Maker collective called The Superposition since 2013. There has been an on-going discussion into the group’s ideology and constitution and I have led 3 AGMs where this was part of the agenda. In 2017 I led a funding application for the group from the Arts Research Council where I held a budget for the group, set up an organisational systems for a interactive Lab called ASMbly and helped to edit a book on the group’s practices that reflected fairly the all the views of the group. As a trustee of the RSE society it is important to be able to stick to a budget and represent all the views of the members of the society. At the University of Manchester I was a trades union representative for IT services and RSE staff for 4 years (2003-2007) during a period of restructuring. During my MSc I was a student representative and for my degree I was the social secretary for the Biophysics Society. I am used to understanding the interests of a group and representing their interests to others.
What would you like to help achieve through the Society in the role of trustee?
I would like to:
  • improve the knowledge in the RSE community on what the Researchers‚Äô Concordat is as it lays out a set of principals that identify conditions needed for a successful academic research careers such as the ability to network and professional development.
  • To improve the professional status of the RSE role in all its diversity
  • to help other RSEs to campaign and work for the recognition of the RSE.
Christopher Richardson, Research Software Engineer
University of Cambridge
How have you contributed to furthering the RSE role and building the community?
I was the first EPSRC RSE Fellow in our University, and I have subsequently established a local RSE network, with a seminar series, and an annual local conference style event. I am actively seeking expansion of the role, and investigating career pathways with our other RSEs and local HR.
What abilities can you bring to the role of trustee that would be useful in establishing and running a new organisation?
I have been a school governor, with similar trustee-like responsibilities, including assessing performance and finances. I have helped set up web publicity and social media for an international software project, and also for our local RSE community. I try to be outgoing, and an ambassador for the RSE cause, wherever I happen to go.
What would you like to help achieve through the Society in the role of trustee?
I would like to focus on communication. I feel the society already has a strong message about the need for RSEs in the research community, and we should make as much noise about it as possible, both inside and outside our organisations. It would be great if we could really break into the general public consciousness!
Paul Richmond, RSE Group Head and EPSRC RSE Fellow
University of Sheffield
How have you contributed to furthering the RSE role and building the community?
As an EPSRC RSE fellow and head of the RSE group at Sheffield I have worked to establish RSE roles at my local institution. As part of this process I have been involved in policy and financial discussion to build suitable and sustainable operating models for RSE groups which has allowed the Sheffield group to grow to 11 (+posts currently at advert). I have worked to establish RSE career tracks at our institution and shared this expertise through SSI workshops and via the RSE leaders panel. I have supported my team in transitioning them into open ended positions and have established a RSE community at Sheffield which extends beyond the immediate group to support for all research developers.
What abilities can you bring to the role of trustee that would be useful in establishing and running a new organisation?
I have significant experience in budgeting having run the group for a number of years achieving a cost neutral operating model. I have significant organisational skills in running a team of 11+ as well as being PI/CI on a wide range of projects (including two active EU projects). I have worked extensively in policy and proposal development as well as developing administrative processes to support RSE teams such as development of RSE administration and scheduling software and processes for managing and peer reviewing internal projects. I have pioneered the RSE model at Sheffield and am keen to share this expertise more broadly.
What would you like to help achieve through the Society in the role of trustee?
I am particularly keen to share knowledge about RSE group operation and university policy. I have developed open source software for team management and budgeting which I am keen to share with others so that new RSE teams are able to form and existing teams are able to grow organically by minimising administrative overhead. I am very interested in RSE career development and would like to use the RSE society as a mechanism to explore formal processes for RSE champions to have internships within existing teams. I am also keen to establish a program for support senior RSEs with secondments for example into industry so that they can reflect on best practise of running software teams. I think this is crucial for ensuring RSE groups are sustainable as they grow to support an increasing number of new RSEs. Finally I am keen to work on establishing formal approaches for RSE team skill swapping within consortiums such as the N8.
Ilian Todorov, Group Leader, Computational Chemistry
UKRI Science and Technology Facilities Council
How have you contributed to furthering the RSE role and building the community?
I am computational scientist who has contributed, supported and furthered the creation of RSE and the recognition of software engineers in UK academia and my own organisation. My engagement in this activity is well recorded at SSI’s CW12 as a blog and then a paper: “The Research Software Engineer” Rob Baxter, Neil Chue-Hong, Dirk Gorissen, James Hetherington, Ilian Todorov, Digital Research 2012, Oxford – http://digital-research-2012.oerc.ox.ac.uk/papers/the-research-software-engineer . I have furthered the RSE brand and the RSE ambitions through my outreach to schools and at scientific conferences.
What abilities can you bring to the role of trustee that would be useful in establishing and running a new organisation?
I am a current trustee of the Society of RSE and have acted as executive committee member of other communities with a stake in software creation such as UK’s CCP5. I can provide critical thinking to the Society both working in a team or my own to enable its viability and function as well as further its proliferation nationally and world-wide.
What would you like to help achieve through the Society in the role of trustee?
I would like to influence funders (UKRI councils in the UK) and academia’s administration to work together to the benefit of RSE’s recognition, credit and sustainable career path in research organisations on public funding. I would love to reach out to school students and enthuse them about software creation and all the fun and creative challenges they can have with it.
For existing trustees only:
How have you contributed to setting up and running the Society in your role as a committee member and trustee so far?
Since 2012, I have worked towards establishing the RSE as an official body. As a trustee I have helped with casting my opinion at meetings and on slack . I have participated in research on constitution, investigation of voting systems, creation of seminar series, etc. I have proliferated the RSE brand (as well as WSSPE and FORCE11) by giving talks to other communities on the RSE mission and inclusiveness (including schools and international conferences). I presented the UK RSE at the first NL-RSE meet-up…
Andy Turner, RSE Team Leader
EPCC, The University of Edinburgh
How have you contributed to furthering the RSE role and building the community?
I was elected as a committee member for the Association of Research Software Engineers in 2017 and, since then, have worked enthusiastically with other committee members, now trustees, to transition the association to the Society of Research Software Engineering, a CIO (an independent legal entity) that is the next step in making our community self-sustaining and able to support RSEs and their careers. We are now at the start of the new Society and I am keen to continue to be involved in moving this forward to the next exciting step in the community of RSEs. As a trustee, I have worked to broaden the reach of RSEs and advocate for the key role they play within my field of work, High Performance Computing. I have achieved this this with concrete initiatives to integrate RSEs into the UK HPC landscape, for example:
  • I organise and chair monthly open, online meetings of RSEs for HPC
  • I coordinate multiple RSE groups from UK national HPC services (ARCHER, DiRAC, Cirrus) to increase the impact and visibility of RSEs to the HPC community and funders (such as UKRI)
  • I have helped organise regular HPC Champions meetings to bring RSEs with an interest in HPC together and raise their profile
  • I have spoken on and promoted the RSE role at international HPC conferences such as Supercomputing
  • I have made RSEs central to EPCC bids to run ARCHER2 support contracts
I also take an active role in the wider RSE community. During my time as a committee member/trustee, I have also:
  • Been an active member of the RSE Leaders group
  • Contributed to the International RSE Leaders Workshop in London in 2018
  • Promoted the RSE role and community within EPCC, The University of Edinburgh and the wider Edinburgh area
  • Been a regular, positive contributer on the RSE Slack
What abilities can you bring to the role of trustee that would be useful in establishing and running a new organisation?
  • An enthusiast for the RSE role – I recognise how lucky I have been to be able to forge an RSE career and how important it is to academic research; I want to make that opportunity available more widely.
  • Unique position within the UK HPC communities that allows me to make sure RSEs are represented and recognised:
    • Technical lead of the ARCHER and Cirrus RSE teams at EPCC
    • Technical Manager for DiRAC, including leading the DiRAC RSE team
    • Lead contact for EPCC within the HPC-SIG
    • One of the lead developers of HPC Carpentry
  • Understanding of the challenges and issues that lead to structural discrimination within our community and wider society.
  • Development of robust processes and policies required for operating to high quality within the UK regulatory framework. Closely involved in development of EPCC’s ISO9001 (quality) and ISO27000 (information security) systems; and in developing EPCC’s GDPR-compliant personal data policies.
  • Member support. I work on multiple service desks for national HPC services that deal with many different types of queries (both technical and non-technical) and understand how to deal with questions from members in a professional, polite and helpful manner.
  • Integration and coordination of different organisations and groups. Central to making the Society a success is ensuring that different groups understand how important RSEs are to their area and that the Society understands how those groups organise and communicate.
What would you like to help achieve through the Society in the role of trustee?
As a trustee, I have two specific goals that I would like to help the Society achieve over my term:
  • Strengthening the integration between the Society and the UK HPC community. I want to use my unique position within the UK HPC community to make sure that RSEs and the Society have a voice within the UK national HPC services (ARCHER, DiRAC, Tier-2) and the HPC-SIG to the mutual benefit of all.
  • Our Society will be stronger and more effective if it is diverse and inclusive, but many people are held back from contributing by structural discrimination within our communities and wider society. I want to make sure that the Society is taking practical proactive steps to address this and is a strong ally in efforts to address structural discrimination within our communities and wider society.
Having helped start the transition from the informal Association to the Society, I am also keen to carry on and help the Society through its initial years of life. It is an extremely exciting time for the organisation of RSEs and I still think I have a lot to offer – in enthusiasm, ideas and skills – to help make the Society a success.
For existing trustees only:
How have you contributed to setting up and running the Society in your role as a committee member and trustee so far?
I have consistently made myself available to assist with administrative and technical tasks around setting up and running the Society and helped out as required. I have also attended meetings regularly (both online and face-to-face) and contributed positively to discussions that have shaped the new Society. Specific tasks I have taken on in setting up and running the Society include:
  • Developing the Personal Data and Privacy Policy and the Membership Terms and Conditions.
  • Putting processes and documentation in place to support the functioning of the trustees as a decision making and administrative body.
  • Framing and facilitating initial discussions around discrimination and inclusion for the Society.
  • Testing of the website and membership signup processes.
Matt Williams, Research Software Engineer
University of Bristol
How have you contributed to furthering the RSE role and building the community?
For the wider community I have been on the organising committee of the last two RSE conferences. In 2017 I was the workshops co-chair and in 2018 I was the diversity co-chair. Both of these involved aiming to increase the diversity of knowledge across the community and increasing our reach. Closer to home I focus on training as that is the only way we can ensure that we will have a growing number of people involved in our field. I have provided teaching both outside the University at conferences and training weeks as well teaching hundreds of staff and students at Bristol over the last few years. Starting this year I am providing teaching to the entire cohort of EPSRC CDT students (~90) at Bristol to ensure that regardless of field of endeavour, they have the necessary computational skill underpinning their research. I am also both a Software Sustainability Institute Fellow and an RSE Cloud Computing Fellow. The former allowed me to take my teaching to wider audience and the latter allowed me to share RSE methods with a new field.”
What abilities can you bring to the role of trustee that would be useful in establishing and running a new organisation?
I have helped organise two of the RSE conferences (2017 and 2018) and so have good experience planning and organising large events. I have experience running and maintaining websites and was involved with the creation of a Community Interest Company for another organisation I am involved in (OSMUK). I am happy to contribute to the writing of applications and bids to further the reach and work of the society. Mostly through I have unburned enthusiasm for getting things done.
What would you like to help achieve through the Society in the role of trustee?
I see one of the larger upcoming challenges of the RSE community is a lack of skilled people being available to fill the roles required in industry and Universities, especially as the integration of computing into research increases. There has long been a problem with computer-related teaching in the UK which is only in the last few years being rectified. In my experience undergraduate computing teaching is very patchy and there is very little available beyond that point, especially in the skills that would benefit an RSE such as continuous integration, testing, documentation, source control, requirement gathering, project planning and large system engineering. I believe we need breadth of coverage at this point more than we need depth. I would like to work towards a provision of teaching of the relevant skills from undergraduate level up through professional development level to ensure our community continues to grow and can provide what we need to researchers across the country. This will involve working primarily with Universities to provide evidence to encourage them to give their students the best education for the modern research landscape. Beyond this I think that there‚Äôs a space for the RSE community to take part in the wider education community through, for example, college evening classes and school code clubs. We have the teaching skills and the knowledge and we should make sure that it is best used. Finally, as an early-stage RSE myself I see the need for investigation into the career opportunities for RSEs, particularly within Universities to make sure that it is an attractive path to take for anyone with an interest and work to make sure that we are not placing any barriers in front of members of under-represented demographics. I would also like to help out with the boring stuff so that other people don’t have to!”
Claire Wyatt, RSE Community Manager
Software Sustainbility Institute / University of Southampton
How have you contributed to furthering the RSE role and building the community?
From January 2016, I have held the role of RSE Community Manager working hard to create events and resources that further the community and raise awareness. I have served as a trustee since the inception of the charity, attending meetings, contributing to decision making and committing to actions. I have been involved in each conference on delivering all things logistics. I helped with the creation of both websites, writing content, updating the vacancies page and working on the RSE twitter account to attract more people to the RSE community. I organise the regular RSE Leaders meetings throughout the year. I delivered the new Aspiring Leaders workshop earlier this year and helped to organise the International leaders meeting a few years ago.
What abilities can you bring to the role of trustee that would be useful in establishing and running a new organisation?
I have extensive experience in organising small to large events for the RSE community and working with people from all over the UK and internationally in making these events successful. Having worked since 2016 with this community, I know a lot of the people in the community and can work to bring together further collaborations and training opportunities. I am enthusiastic about helping to raise awareness of this role and bring about positive change.
What would you like to help achieve through the Society in the role of trustee?
I would like to continue acting as the Society’s representative and the Logistics co-chair on the annual RSE Conference Committee, delivering a fantastic conference for all in research software engineering. I would also like to do more with the Aspiring leaders network and form a training network and a distinguished lecture network. I am keen to be on the committee of a new initiative for a RSE Worldwide Conference that encourages all chapters to network and share practice every two years.
For existing trustees only:
How have you contributed to setting up and running the Society in your role as a committee member and trustee so far?
I have served as a trustee since the inception of the charity, attending meetings, contributing to decision making and committing to actions, and taking notes. I organised the meeting dates for the monthly meetings along with the venue and catering. I helped with the creation of both websites, writing content, adding vacancies and working on the RSE twitter account.