St George’s, University of London is a small healthcare specialised university. This means that it is easier to interact right across the University, says Adam Witney, the newly appointed head of St George’s research software engineering group.
Witney has been working in bioinformatics across the university for some years, and used papers and publications from previous projects, as well as supporting statements from academics across the university who could see the value in his work, as evidence when arguing for the establishment of the RSE group.
“You have to start generating evidence of your work, and get people onside. Universities tend to like supporting statements. And diversity is vital: you have to show that you can help more than one or two departments, but will be beneficial to the whole university,” Witney says.
The RSE group was set up this year, and “is only me at the moment, but the plan is for it to grow,” he says.
Witney’s position is centrally funded, but with a cost recovery model in place so that his salary costs can be added to a grant application, or he can act as a co-applicant.
“That doesn’t cover 100% of the costs, but the university recognises this is a core requirement. The way I sell it is that we enable projects and enable grants,” he says.