Society of Research Software Engineering launches

Author: Neil Chue Hong
Posted: 23 Sep 2019 | 12:26

The Society of Research Software Engineering launched on 18th September. You can now become a member of the Society and, in doing so, help support software in research and the people who develop it.

The Society developed from the Research Software Engineer (RSE) movement that formed after discussions at the Software Sustainability Institute’s (SSI) 2012 Collaborations Workshop. It is the successor to the UK RSE Association but, unlike the informal Association, it is a legal entity that can hold funds and employ staff. This means that the Society is a truly independent organisation with a single focus: supporting the UK’s RSE community. Regardless of its more formal incarnation, the Society is still a grass-roots organisation run by Trustees elected from its membership.

The UK RSE Association was formed in 2013 to recognise the work of software developers in academia and to improve the career structures available to them. Since then, the movement has gone from strength to strength: encouraging and supporting the creation of sister organisations across the world, and organising an international RSE survey that provides insight into current working conditions and practices.

EPCC played a pivotal role in the RSE story. EPCC’s Rob Baxter coined the term Research Software Engineer at the initial workshop, and EPCC has provided a home and careers for RSEs since its inception. More recently, the Community of Edinburgh RSEs has been formed to provide support for RSEs in Edinburgh and a forum to share best practice. EPCC's Andy Turner has served on the committee of the UK RSE Association and as an initial trustee of the Society of Research Software Engineering.

The launch of the Society took place at the inaugural Annual General Meeting, held during the Research Software Engineering Conference at the University of Birmingham. This included pitches from nominees, including most of the current Trustees, who wish to form the first elected committee to run the Society. Voting is now open for the Trustees who will steer the Society in its first year, see https://society-rse.org/trustees-elections-2019/. Note that voting closes on 11 October.

The Research Software Engineering community has grown from a handful of people in 2012 to an international community of thousands. This would not have been possible without the foresight and hard work of a number of people within the community and the continued support of the Software Sustainability Institute and EPCC.

The Society of Research Software Engineering website: https://society-rse.org/

Authors

Neil Chue Hong, EPCC N.ChueHong@epcc.ed.ac.uk
Simon Hettrick, Software Sustainability Institute s.hettrick@software.ac.uk