RSE18 conference, Birmingham

Author: Fiona Reid
Posted: 6 Sep 2018 | 14:47

I recently attended the Third Research Software Engineers (RSE) conference in Birmingham, UK. RSE conferences bring together people who work in an RSE-type roll from across the UK and world.

For anyone who doesn’t know, an RSE is typically someone who has expertise in both coding and research but is not necessarily a pure computer programmer or pure researcher. Often RSEs can be the only such person in their department and thus the conference gives them a chance meet other people doing similar roles to share their experiences and help them feel part of a much larger community.

This year’s conference had keynote talks from UCL, Microsoft, University of Texas and Google. Apart from the keynote talks there were a number of different sessions running in parallel, ranging from talks about people’s experiences with writing and maintaining software, to workshops on improving Python performance, to how to set up your own local RSE group.

One of the most exciting things to come out of the conference is the plan to launch a Society of Research Software Engineering in early 2019. Having such a professional body will give those of us working in an RSE-type role more recognition within the academic world and more support. If you’d like to register your interest and be notified when the new society is launched please sign up at:

This year’s conference had 312 delegates from 12 countries with an improved gender balance compared with previous conferences. Thanks to Andrew Turner's promotion of the conference at EPCC, a good number of EPCC staff attended the conference for the first time, including myself. The conference dinner (sponsored by Microsoft) was excellent, and took place in the Great Hall at Birmingham University, which is a very impressive venue (see picture). 

Find out more

UK Research Software Engineer Association:
The 2018 RSE conference, including programme:
RSE18 Twitter feed:


Fiona Reid, EPCC

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