UKRSE members (which includes all attendees of #RSE17) are invited to vote for new members of join the UKRSE committee. Three positions are available, and there are six candidates who put themselves forward for nomination. The voting form can be found here, on which you must make three votes (one for each available position).

Voting Form. Voting closes at 8am on Friday 8th September

The form asks for your email address. This will be used only to validate that you are a member of UKRSE, e.g. by comparing against our mailing list or the attendee list of #RSE17.

The six candidates were asked to provide information about themselves, which is reproduced below.


These six people have nominated themselves for the three available positions on the UKRSE Committee. You can vote for your three nominations via the voting form which opens on Thursday 31st August and closes on the 8th September at 8am.

Camilla Longden

In 100 words, describe your experience of working as a Research Software Engineer.

I have been working as an RSE for nearly a year. I find working in a research lab incredibly motivating and I find engineering and writing code fun! Having worked in a pure software role, I appreciate the advanced nature of the ideas I deal with as an RSE and the challenges that faces. I look forward to continuing with this career as it evolves in the future.

What skills will you bring to the committee?

I have experience in industry as both a software engineer and an RSE and am well placed to explain the differences and similarities between them.
Diversity in the tech industry is something that I care deeply about, and I have experience working in teams examining issues in this space.

What would you like to change through your involvement on the committee?

The committee has done a great job explaining what an RSE is to many groups. I would love to extend that to pre-PhD students with an interest in engineering.
I would also be interested in helping to ensure that the community to grow into a diverse and an inclusive place.

If you have already contributed to the RSE community, please list those contributions below.

I have given talks at MSR Cambridge and the University of Nottingham about my experience being an RSE.
I am also part of a team organising the Engineering the Future internships at MSRC, an internship designed to give students real world experience of being an RSE.

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Iain Bethune

In 100 words, describe your experience of working as a Research Software Engineer.

I have been developing research software for 9 years, firstly as an Applications Consultant and Project Manager at EPCC, and recently in my role as Technical Programme Manager at the Hartree Centre. I have worked both with academic and industrial research codes in the areas of atomistic simulation (classical MD and Density Functional Theory), multiphase flow CFD, and Finite Element Analysis. Presently, I lead the CP2K-UK Network, which is a 5 year community development, training and support project for CP2K – an open-source atomistic simulation package with 20+ contributors and 1000s of users worldwide.

What skills will you bring to the committee?

I bring a strong network of contacts across the UK, European and US academic software ecosystem, particularly in the area of atomistic simulation which has a long history of established research software development communities e.g. CCP5 & CCPBioSim, UK Materials Chemistry HPC Consortium, CECAM, Psi-k as well as newer initiatives such as the Molecular Sciences Software Institute (MolSSI) in the US. Experience of multiple academic disciplines has taught me that a one-size-fits-all approach does not work in practice, and different disciplines (or even research groups or individuals!) are at different stages in their usage of good, sustainable software development practice, and so engagement with them must be tailored to reflect their current level of expertise.

What would you like to change through your involvement on the committee?

I would like to promote thinking about how excellent research software can be used to drive impact within the RSE community. In particular, a focus on usability and engagement of commercial/industrial/public end users in the process of research software development has the potential to accelerate the creation of impact. There is plenty of funding available for this (e.g. EPSRC Impact Acceleration Awards, Global Challenges Research Fund), and UKRSE is well placed to exploit this, helping researchers (and UK plc) meet their impact goals.

If you have already contributed to the RSE community, please list those contributions below.

Through my involvement in the CP2K-UK project and the national HPC service ARCHER, I am often involved in giving training, invited talks, or running workshops which help researchers to make the best use of research software packages, raise awareness of how HPC can enable better research and the routes to access compute resources and training that support this. For example: Nottingham HPC Conference 2017, CCP5 Annual Conference 2016, CP2K Summer School 2016, PRACE Spring School and E-CAM Tutorial 2016, CECAM Macromolecular Simulation Software Workshop 2015…

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Andy Turner

In 100 words, describe your experience of working as a Research Software Engineer.

I have been working as a RSE since starting my MPhil/PhD in computational chemistry. As my RSE career has gone on I have generally moved to working with broader ranges of researchers; first in chemistry and then, since I moved ot EPCC, across many different disciplines. I particularly love the fact that I am continually learning new things, both in terms of tools and technologies and also in terms of research subjects. This constant development and the opportunity to work a wide range of interesting people is, for me, the reason why working as an RSE is so exciting.

What skills will you bring to the committee?

– Integration and coordination of different organisations
– Training skills and experience
– User support experience
– Understanding of the worldwide HPC landscape
– Web design and technology

What would you like to change through your involvement on the committee?

Better access to training for RSEs and a UK RSE webinar series to share technical expertise. The thing that unites all RSE’s is a love of learning new skills to help improve research and software. Many of these skills are picked up “on-the-job” by working on different projects with different people. However, training courses (in person and online) also have a role to play for RSEs to continue to develop their skills and careers (in the same way the CPD is an integral part of many professional careers). I would like to improve visibility of relevant training available to RSEs through the UK-RSE website and community communication channels. I would also like to set up a UK-RSE webinar series so we can all share interesting experiences, information and tools with the wider community.

If you have already contributed to the RSE community, please list those contributions below.

– Workshops at RSE 2016 and 2017
– Helped set up the UK HPC/ARCHER/Tier-2 Champions network for peer support
– Helped develop linkages between UK-RSE, ARCHER, EPSRC Tier-2 and HPC-SIG
– Member of the RSE Leaders Group
– Responsible for junior RSE career development at EPCC

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Tania Allard

In 100 words, describe your experience of working as a Research Software Engineer.

I joined the RSE team at the University of Sheffield in November 2016, which overlapped with the last bits of my PhD at the University of Manchester.
During my time as a RSE in Sheffield I have had the opportunity to collaborate with multiple research groups and individuals in order to develop software that not only satisfies their research needs but that is also robust, well developed, and reproducible.
I have also been heavily involved in dissemination and teaching activities, either by developing teaching materials, helping lecturers to use better tools for their classes or running a variety of workshops.

What skills will you bring to the committee?

For a very long time I have been involved in organizing events, for both small and moderately big audiences (50 – 300 people). Which has allowed me to acquire a broad range of community building and strengthening skills. I am also a good team player, I always try and promote a collaborative environment while taking ownership of my own tasks.
Also, I am a very organized person ( some would say I am a bit of an organization freak but it is not that bad right? ), I am great at keeping an eye on multiple concurrent projects and tasks and getting everything done on time and to great standards.
And overall I think I am a people person, I like talking to others, listen to what they have to say, and love community events.

What would you like to change through your involvement on the committee?

Over the last few years I have been heavily involved not only in the tech/RSE community but in organizations and communities aimed at addressing diversity and inclusivity issues in STEM. I know from interacting with the RSE community as well as from the national RSE survey that we lack a bit on the diversity area.
I would certainly like to make some efforts to make this a more inclusive and diverse community.
It would be great to see a bigger representation of mixed minorities in the RSE community, which is not an easy task.
Also, even though many universities and research institutes have acknowledged the value of the RSE teams for the advancement of research there are still many actions that could be taken for the RSE community to be seen as an integral contributor to science/research, and I would certainly like to help with this!

If you have already contributed to the RSE community, please list those contributions below.

I helped as a volunteer for the first RSE conference (2016) and for this second conference (2017) I have been acting a a talk co-chair and diversity chair too

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Alin M Elena

In 100 words, describe your experience of working as a Research Software Engineer.

I am a physicist with a PhD in Computational Physics, statistical physics. For the last 10 years I have been involved with developing software for computational physics on an almost daily basis. Majority of the code outcome is opensource, via contribution to bigger projects, like cp2k, dl_poly, quantum espresso, aten, vmd or released by me, see my gitlab profile (gitlab.com/drFaustroll). Invariably in majority of the groups I worked I ended up supporting other members of the group, on both hardware and programming matters. In recent years I have been involved in code modernisation efforts, both teaching and programming via Intel Parallel Computing Centres. In the last two years I have setup a continuous integration framework (hosting/software/policies) for DL_POLY_4 project which is used on a daily basis by the members of the team. I am fluent in Fortran/C++/python/latex and conversant in few other technologies like php/mysql. I am also active in the opensource world via involvement with openSUSE and KDE.

What skills will you bring to the committee?

In addition to my scientific computing skills I will bring experience in writing and implementing policies for sustainable code. Hard work and determination to get things done are two other qualities on offer.

What would you like to change through your involvement on the committee?

I would like to change perception of the code writer/software engineer into the scientific community.

If you have already contributed to the RSE community, please list those contributions below.

Last year at RSE Conference in Manchester, I had hosted an workshop on Continuous Integration in Scientific codes, which was attended by over 40 participants. Hosted various seminars (Continuous integration, modern Fortran) at Daresbury Labs for our local RSE and non-RSE members. At the moment I am planning a continuous integration with practitioners from physics field, with the aim of “standardizing” the practises. Actively supported two scientists with their application for EPSRC RSE fellowship. The newtwork I belong to CCP5 actively sponsors RSE activities.

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Matt Williams

In 100 words, describe your experience of working as a Research Software Engineer.

I worked for three years at Birmingham as an RSE (though not titled as such) within Particle Physics developing job scheduling software, user support as well as under- and postgraduate teaching. I have now moved to the University of Bristol where I am working within the BrisSynBio group spending half my time doing sysadmin work and half providing software support to our community of scientists. I am mostly working on long-term projects with researchers but there are many short-term too. I have also provided programming teaching and have developed a course on data analysis as part of the group’s syllabus.

What skills will you bring to the committee?

I have experience with teaching and developing teaching materials for undergraduate, postgraduates and University staff. I have taken part with website creation and design in the past for small organisations. I am also a believer in keeping meetings short and to the point.

What would you like to change through your involvement on the committee?

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. There has for a long time 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 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 help them through initiatives like Software Carpentry to provide the education that’s most useful.

Beyond this I think that there’s a space for the RSE community to take part in the wider education community through 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.

If you have already contributed to the RSE community, please list those contributions below.

I am one of the two workshop chairs for this year’s RSE conference in Manchester and have been involved in many parts of the organisation. I am also providing some training on Data Analysis in Python as part of the conference.