RSSE Africa Community Meetups 2022

Wed May 11, 15:00 - Wed Dec 14, 16:00

Do you spend a lot of time coding or building data and computing infrastructure in research settings?

Research Software and Systems Engineering Africa (RSSE Africa) invites you to join us for an exciting series of online presentations and community discussions. The aim of these events is to stimulate the growth of an African community of practice around research software and system practices. Collectively, we have loads of experience and we could all benefit by sharing with and learning from each other.

There is a growing global movement around research software and systems engineering and we want to share resources, opportunities, and initiatives. By facilitating and promoting collaboration between African RSSEs and folks from other regions, we can benefit from innovative solutions implemented in different contexts while at the same time highlighting the work and skills on the African continent.

The series will alternate between webinars and community meetups to provide the African community with an opportunity to learn and share their own experiences.

Upcoming events:

(Please click on the dated tabs at the top of this page (under the banner image) for more information about each event.)

Am I an RSE if I spend a lot of time coding or building data/compute infrastructure in research?

11 May 2022 @ 15:00 CAT (your time)

RSSE Africa community meetup

8 June 2022 @ 15:00 CAT (your time)

Global resources and communities to support RSEs

13 July 2022 @ 15:00 CAT (your time)

RSSE Africa community meetup

10 August 2022 @ 15:00 CAT (your time)

Learning opportunities and resources to hone your RSE skills

14 September 2022 @ 15:00 CAT (your time)

RSSE Africa community meetup

12 October 2022 @ 15:00 CAT (your time)

How to start a local RSE group or community

9 November 2022 @ 15:00 CAT (your time)

RSSE Africa community meetup

14 December 2022 @ 15:00 CAT (your time)

Please follow us on Twitter @RSSEAfrica and join our online forum to stay in touch!

Enquiries can be sent to [email protected]

We look forward to meeting you online!

In May we are excited to host two excellent speakers and RSEs. If you're wondering what an RSE or RSSE is, and want to learn more about the role of RSEs in research, interested in a career as RSEs, or excited to learn what's happening for RSEs and RSSEs in Africa, please join us for this event.

Title: Research Software Engineers and the future of research

Abstract: Almost all research projects today rely on research software. May it be for project planning, data collection, data analysis, or publication. Research software engineers (RSEs) are specialists who both know how research works as well as how to develop and maintain software. Although RSEs have such a valuable skill set, we do not always feel valued. Career paths are missing, incentives in academia play against us and software are still not seen as a first-class citizen in science. In this talk, I will share with you my ideas on how to ensure a bright future in research based on good software and happy RSEs.

Speaker: Dr Heidi Sibold

Short bio: Dr Heidi Seibold works at the intersection of data science, open science and health research. She is an R nerd, podcast junkie and bike rider.

Title: Bootstrapping an RSE Group at Stellenbosch University - updates from [email protected]

Abstract: Kim was introduced to the term 'RSE' in Heidi's keynote talk at UseR! 2021, and that moment was an epiphany that lead to the foundation of [email protected] - the first RSE Group in Africa. The model is still evolving, and it has been a journey of 'bootstrapping': building on the work of existing communities, and bringing together supporters and resources from across the university.

Speaker: Dr Kim Martin

Short bio: Dr Kim Martin is a postdoctoral researcher who is championing the role of Research Software Engineers in the academic ecosystem, and working to build a sustainable RSE Group at Stellenbosch University.

During this session, we want to showcase the wealth of online resources and the growing international RSSE communities that exist. We hope to stimulate collaboration and connection between the African community and groups in other regions to benefit from learning about innovative solutions that have been implemented, lessons learned, and more. We also want to showcase the work being done on the continent to increase awareness about RSSEs in Africa.

Title: Global Resources and Communities to Support RSEs

Abstract: The conversation started on the 11th of May 2022 when our speakers helped us unpack what RSEs are. In case you missed it, you can watch it here. In this month's meetup, Claire Wyatt, the Community Manager of the UK RSE will be shedding some light on global resources and communities to support RSEs, or in our context RSSEs.

Speaker: Claire Wyatt - Community Manager for UK RSE

In January 2016 Claire started working as an RSE Network Coordinator with the RSG team on the EPSRC RSE network grant. In this role, she worked on several successful new initiatives like the RSE conference and RSE leader's meetings. Since January 2019 Claire has been employed by the Software Sustainability Institute as the Community Manager for Research Software Engineering and she serves as a trustee for the Society of Research Software Engineering. She has responsibility for delivering the annual RSE conference on behalf of the Society, along with supporting the RSE community to meet the community and Society's goals.

During this session, we'll discuss training opportunities and learning opportunities to grow skills that are typically relevant in the work of an RSSE. We'll discover best practices for sustainable research software development and which tools or skills are most beneficial to learn.

Title: Learning opportunities and resources to hone your RSE skills

Abstract: In the September meetup, we will be exposed to learning opportunities and resources to hone your RSE skills. We will discuss questions around the skills RSEs need and what training opportunities exist or should be developed. Previous meetup recordings are available on the RSSE Africa YouTube Channel.

Speaker: Professor Simon Hettrick - Deputy Director of Software Sustainability Institute 

?Biography: Simon works with stakeholders from across the research community to develop policies that support research software, the people who develop that software, and the researchers who rely on it. Simon is a passionate advocate for Research Software Engineers. He orchestrated a campaign to gain recognition for this community, which has grown from a handful of people in 2013 to a substantial international community numbering in the thousands. He was the founding chair of the UK's Association of Research Software Engineers and is now a Trustee of the Society of Research Software Engineering and its Treasurer. He has been treasurer of the RSE conference since it began in 2016.

During this session, we want to share some lessons learned in terms of starting a local RSE or RSSE group. We can talk about the distinction between informal communities of practice and formal RSE groups offering a paid-for service as well as the different approaches to establishing these groups.

Title: How to start a local RSE group or community

Abstract: The discussions on what RSEs are (May 2022), resources and communities to support RSEs (July 2022), and learning opportunities and resources to hone your RSE skills (September 2022) can open up a whole new world for Africa-based RSEs. With this wealth of information, what will your next step be? In the month of November, we discuss "How to start a local RSE group or community". Previous meetup recordings are available on the RSSE Africa YouTube Channel.

Speaker: Dr. Jonathan Cooper

Short bio: Dr. Jonathan took over leadership of the Research Software Development Group from its founder in 2018, having joined in 2016 after 12 years as a researcher at the University of Oxford. There he was the joint lead developer for the Chaste computational biology software and creator of the Cardiac Electrophysiology Web Lab. He also set up and led a cross-University network for Research Software Developers at Oxford, was co-Director of the Systems Biology Doctoral Training Centre, and lectured XML for Oxford's part-time MSc in Software Engineering.

Speaker: Dr. Paul Richmond

Short bio: Dr. Richmond is a research-focused RSE who has recently been awarded one of only six EPSRC Early Career Research Software Engineering (RSE) Fellowships. The focus of this fellowship is in facilitating the use of accelerated architectures such as Graphics Processing Units (GPUs) to accelerate scientific discovery. He is developing software techniques, provision of skills and training material, and building a community to help drive the use of accelerators into mainstream science and engineering.

Join us in our community discussion groups. We meet and discuss what we have learned in previous RSSE Africa events and share our own experiences. Come along to meet other RSSEs in Africa, and tell us about your current projects, challenges, and more.

Additional information

Age restriction Family friendly
Refund policy Refunds allowed (view policy)

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