Tutorials and Workshops Guidance

The call for tutorials and workshops are now closed.

What are Tutorials and Workshops?

Tutorials and workshops can be on any topic that may be of interest to research software engineers and academic research software developers. We are particularly interested in the following themes:

  • Good software development practice
    • Tools and techniques
    • Culture and experiences
  • Reproducible software & research
  • Specific programming techniques or new languages
    • Parallel programming
    • Introducing a useful module or library
    • Demonstrating a new programming language
  • RSE as a career

Last year’s topics included everything from a hands-on tutorial in “task-based parallelism” to a discussion workshop on “how to be a happy RSE” – see the full list of 2016 workshops.

Each session will have an RSE volunteer assigned to it, they will be there to provide technical assistance and an extra pair of hands during the tutorial or workshop. All attendees will be bringing their own laptops, and the RSE team will be creating virtual machines that will allow the hands-on tutorial material to be run across all of their different operating systems. It is expected that discussion workshops will not require participants to use laptops.

Who should apply?

We are keen for the tutorials to be used by RSEs to help teach other RSEs. You don’t need to be the inventor or developer behind a piece of software to teach other people how to use it.

We encourage anyone who has an interesting take on research software development:

  • Researchers at any career stage who develop software for research purposes
  • Software developers working in a research context, whatever their job title or department
  • People from any organisation that provide tools, platforms or services of interest to RSEs

First-time presenter?

We want you to present! It’s important that the program includes people who don’t normally publish papers or attend academic conferences or we’ll be missing whole sections of the RSE community.

It’s not intimidating. The emphasis is on learning from each other in a supportive atmosphere. Your perspective is welcome and this will be a great chance to start a wider discussion of issues you care about.

We can help. We can offer mentoring and other support with preparing your workshop or tutorial – just tick the box when submitting your proposal.


While writing you application and the material for your tutorial or workshop, it might help to think about the following things:


  • Who is your audience? Beginner/Intermediate/Advanced


  • What will your audience learn as a result of the workshop?
  • How will you know if the workshop has been a success?
  • Will there be anything generated as a result (Etherpad/Google doc/blog post/code)


  • It can be difficult to get the balance right between setting the scene and your attendees having enough time to have a go.
    • We recommend that the first introduction should be 5-10 mins of the tutorial/workshop lead talking
    • The bulk of the session should have the attendees doing the hands-on activity or participating in the discussion
    • Allow 10 minutes at the end to wrap up and where appropriate point to other resources
  • If the planning for the tutorial or workshop means that the lead spends more than half of the time talking to the audience, then consider whether it should be submitted as a talk instead


  • It is not expected that discussion workshops will require the attendees to bring along a laptop;
  • Hands-on tutorial sessions will generally require participants to bring along a laptop which can run the VM we will provide;
  • Any software or material you provide for the tutorial must be compatible with the Linux distribution we are using and aim to use less than 250 MB of space (as the VM will be distributed to attendees as a USB thumb drive).


Will your tutorial or workshop need any specific resource?

  1. Hands-on tutorials:
    • Will it need access to the internet? Which ports will you need open on the firewall? These must be supplied at least 8 weeks before the conference.
    • What will the attendees need to participate beyond bringing their own laptop?
    • Are there any prerequisites?
  2. Discussion workshops:
    • Do you need any stationery? Flipcharts, etc.
    • Will you need a specific room layout?


  • Friday 7th April – Early submission deadline (for people without travel budget to apply for bursaries)
  • Thursday 13th April – Provisional notification about travel bursaries (subject to workshop/tutorial being selected) 
    • People without travel budget may withdraw submission
  • Friday 28th April – Deadline for submissions
  • Friday 26th May – Notification of outcome