Participate in the fourth conference of Research Software Engineers!

We would like to invite everyone who has a connection with research software to participate in the fourth RSE conference on 17-19 September 2019 in Birmingham, UK.

The first two days of the conference are dedicated to talks, lightning talks, walkthroughs and panels. The third day is dedicated to 90 or 180 minute workshops. We have a poster competition running throughout the conference. We are seeking proposals in a wide range of subjects. Please see the indicative conference timetable.

Submission Guidelines

The following guidelines apply to all types of submissions: talks, lightning talks, walkthroughs, panels, posters and workshops. There is then further detail for each type below.

Who should apply?

We welcome submissions from any and all people who have an interesting take on research software development, including:

  • Researchers at any career stage who develop software for research purposes
  • Software developers working in a research context, whatever their job title or field
  • Those interested in advancing the understanding of how best to use existing research software (e.g. with respect to scalability, performance and/or reproducibility)
  • People from any organization providing tools, platforms or services that benefit research software.

We’re aiming for a well-balanced programme that includes a wide variety of perspectives to reflect the diversity of the RSE community and its activities. We are not just looking for seasoned presenters or people who are already well known. Thus speakers from under-represented backgrounds and at early career stages are highly encouraged to submit a proposal.

We will do our best to keep the submissions review process as anonymous as possible and will not consider an author’s name and affiliation when evaluating a submission. Please aid us by not including identifying information in your submission unless absolutely necessary.

View the RSE2019 diversity statement

Conference App

We are using a conference app this year. All presenters will need to upload their slides or other materials to the app in advance of the conference. They will be made available under a CCBY license before the conference begins to allow attendees to choose which sessions to come to, and afterwards for reference. Attendees will be able to indicate which sessions they wish to attend via the app, to help the presenter know what to expect, and to help the committee with logistics and planning.

Conference Themes

Contributions are warmly invited on any of the following topics:

Community and Careers

Are you just starting out as an RSE? Would you like to become one? Do you recruit RSEs to your team? Have you formed a local, regional, or national community of RSEs? The conference is an opportunity to share your experiences and advice and to discuss these questions with people at all stages of their careers.

Collaboration, licensing and Open Source

Do you work with researchers or software engineers, either in the same group, a different group in the same organization, or with people from other institutions and countries? How do you do it? Have you shared your software (for free or otherwise) with others? How did you license it? Did you make it Open Source (and why, or why not)?

Technologies, techniques, libraries and languages

Have you found a great library, technique etc. that has proven really useful? Has it saved you time? Or increased the quality of your work? Can you demonstrate it, or describe it? This is an opportunity to share the technology that you’re passionate about and encourage others to use it too!

Good practice

Topics relevant to developing maintainable, verifiable and accessible software, workflows and infrastructure for reproducible research — code documentation & user guides, maintainability, version control, testing, etc.

Training, teaching, coaching, education

Are you are engaged in educating people about research software? Perhaps you instruct on training courses for researchers or software engineers. Perhaps you teach about software engineering, or machine learning, or HPC, or any other related discipline. Could you share your good practice, skills and techniques with others in a similar situation?

Anything else related to research software

Doesn’t fit in the categories above? Never mind! If there’s something you’re passionate about sharing at the RSE conference then please submit your proposal. The conference sessions will be grouped into appropriate streams, but they may well not end up being the ones described above. We heartily encourage submissions from anyone, at any stage of their career.

No travel funds?

The conference is funding 8 travel bursaries for students, early-career attendees and international attendees at up to £250 each. If you wish to apply for a travel bursary, please do so by the early submission deadline on the 9th of April. Find out more about travel bursaries.

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, otherwise we’ll be missing whole sections of the RSE community.

It’s not intimidating! The emphasis of the conference 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 presentation. Please email us if you require advice or clarification before making a submission. We can offer one on one mentoring to help successful applicants prepare their talk, poster or workshop – just tick the box when submitting your proposal.

Types of contribution and how to submit a proposal

Each type of contribution to the conference has its own specific guidance. Please see the table below, and follow the details links for more information. Examples are provided for each type on the details pages. The estimated number of each item is just indicative – as the number of each will depend on the number of successful submissions of the other types.

Each detailed guidance page includes links to the forms for submitting a proposal. We also ask you to submit a short diversity questionnaire which will give you a unique identifier to include in your proposal. This diversity information (much of which is optional) will be used to help us to make this conference as diverse and well balanced as possible.

Type Length Est. number Notes Detailed guidance and forms to submit a proposal
Talk 20 mins 40 4 parallel sessions Details
Walkthrough 20 mins 18 4 parallel sessions Details
Panel 40 mins 8 4 parallel sessions Details
Poster and lightning talk 1-2 mins 30 All poster presenters will also give a 1-2 min lightning talk about their poster in a plenary session Details
RSE Worldwide Lightning Talk 5 mins 5 Domain-specific lightning talks in the RSE Worldwide plenary session Details
Workshop 90 / 180 mins 5-10 4 parallel sessions Details


We’re happy to talk through your ideas before you submit your proposal. Please email with ‘Help with contribution submission for TYPE’ in the subject line, where “TYPE” is “talk”, “panel”, etc.


Some important dates regarding submissions and presenters.

  • 14 March – call for participation opens
  • 7 May – call for participation closes at 23:59 BST (British Summer Time)
  • 23-30 May – notification of successful submissions and travel budget requests
  • 17 June – presenter registration opens
  • 17 July – presenter registration closes
  • 9 August – all scripts and information related to virtual machines, docker images and notebooks etc. uploaded
  • 27 August – all slides and posters uploaded
  • 17-19 September – the conference!