University's first Research Software Engineer conference
30 April 2018
DIRI brings together Research Software Engineers from across the university in the 1st Cardiff RSE meetup
On the 30th of April 2018, the Data Innovation Research Institute ran the first Cardiff University Research Software Engineer (RSE) conference, with the aim of bringing together researchers who write software and/or deal with data of any kind, from all of Cardiff University's colleges. The event attracted more than 30 attendees and was a first stepping stone towards building a support network and community for RSEs.
The event began with an introduction by DIRI RSEs Ian Harvey and Unai Lopez, followed by a short presentation from DIRI director Stephen Fairhurst and Supercomputing Wales Programme Manager, Owain Huw. After this, we had a keynote talk by Software Sustainability Institute deputy director Simon Hettrick, who presented the evolution and milestones of the overall RSE movement in the UK over the last 10 years, and the achievements and roadmap of the RSE UK association.
After Simon’s keynote, we had 7 short talks by RSEs and researchers from Cardiff, Swansea and Aberystwyth universities. These speakers came from a variety of the university’s schools and colleges, including Social Sciences, Biosciences and Engineering. Each of them gave a short description of their career trajectory, up to becoming an RSE, their current projects and day-to-day commitments, and they shared their doubts and concerns about being an RSE in 2018.
The last activity of the day was a round table session with the attendees where we discussed the overall situation, commitments and concerns of the RSEs in the university. The attendees were given a set of questions as motivation to discuss the challenges of the role, the current ways to measure the outcomes of RSEs and the opportunities for career progression.
Owain Huw, Programme Manager for Supercomputing Wales, noted that "The conference was a significant milestone for the RSE community at Cardiff and across Wales, with the presentations from the RSEs at Cardiff and the other Supercomputing Wales consortium universities reflecting the range of projects currently being undertaken; and the key skills and expertise the community brings to university research teams.”
Figure 1 - Keynote speaker Simon Hettrick Figure 2 –Presentation by Supercomputing Wales RSE Anna Price