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Research Engineering Group launches at Reading

RSE at UoR logo

A new group dedicated to furthering software within research has been launched at the University of Reading. 

The Research Software Engineering Group RSE@UoR, led by Maria Broadbridge and Paul Heaton of the Academic and Research Computing team (ARC) will help researchers make the most of the software available to them. 

RSE@UoR aims to form a sustainable community to help researchers produce high quality research software by providing support, expertise and training in many aspects of software development.  

The main motivation for the RSE group has come from the researchers. A software survey conducted in 2017 showed that many researchers are not formally trained in key research software skills, such as good coding practice, software literacy and programming languages 

Maria said, “DTS was approached to help address this, and Paul and I have put ourselves forward as we are part of the Academic and Research Computing team and with our experience and backgrounds in both research computing and IT, we are uniquely placed to lead the movement towards improved training and resources in academic computing and research software skills. 

Over the past two years, researchers across the University have been interviewed about their computing needs. A ‘core group’ of researchers is already a part of RSE@UoR, including academic colleagues from Psychology, Biomedical Sciences and English Language. The National Centre for Atmospheric Science and Institute of Environmental Analytics are also represented.  

Vice-Chancellor Professor Robert Van de Noort said: “RSE@UoR is a key part of the Open Research Action Plan, which aims to increase the quality, integrity and accessibility of research at the university by supporting a growing culture and practice of open research. 

“We believe that the University will benefit significantly by driving up excellence of research as well as improving the future employability of our students and researchers. 

Research Software Engineering 

Research Software Engineering (RSE) and programming skills are becoming integral to research across a multitude of disciplines. Too often researchers, in particular early career researchers, have not had any formal education in these skills when joining the University.   

Research Software Engineers are people who combine technical expertise with software and an strong understanding of research and are uniquely positioned to make informed recommendations in research software development.  

RSE@UoR aims to create a sustainable program of courses, tutorials, workshops and online resources to improve the academic computing skills of students and staff and to foster a community of practice to share skills and resources within and across departments.   

RSE@UoR has joined the national and international RSE community and aims to raise the profile of the University of Reading by helping to improve the quality of research software output. By facilitating better coding standards, digital skills and supporting researchers in their computing requirements, we intend to add value to the student and staff experience at UoR and increase employability.  

For more information on RSE@UoR services, contact details and how to get involved, please see the new RSE@UoR website rse.reading.ac.uk.

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