June 2021 Newsletter

7 June 2021 12:00

University of Sheffield Research Software Engineering Team Newsletter June 2021

This is the 12th monthly newsletter from the Research Software Engineering Team at The University of Sheffield.

We aim to share our experiences and information of other communities for those using software for research. This newsletter collects interesting events and opportunities over the coming month. It also signposts to other resources that we find beneficial or interesting. You may find the content interesting if you are someone in research using software, are a person paid to develop software (like a Research Software Engineer (RSE)), or are somewhere in-between (a research developer).

To receive this newsletter as an email each month, please sign up to our Google Group. Tell you friends!

To suggest content for a future newsletter either complete this short form or drop us an email. We can’t promise that we’ll publish everything that’s proposed but we are keen to feature submissions from the research community at the University of Sheffield.

All times are BST (UTC+01)



The Conference of Research Software Engineers is returning this year with a fully online event.

6 - 30th September 2021

On Monday 6th September 2021, the RSE Community will reunite for SeptembRSE, the Fifth Conference of Research Software Engineers. The conference is a chance for anyone, whether you consider yourself a Research Software Engineer or not, to meet and discuss the development and recognition of research software.

This year the entire conference has moved online. The flexibility achievable with online events allows the sessions to be spread out so that they occupy the whole of September. All sessions will be streamed, recorded and published, meaning that you will have a whole month of material to explore throughout September at a time that is best for you!

Submissions are now being taken for; Talks, Posters, Walkthroughs, Workshops, Panels and Discussions. So if you have an idea and want to get involved with the wider RSE community submit your proposal now!

Submission Deadline: July 2nd 2021 *(Discussion topic submission closes early on June 18th 2021).

AHRC Software Requirements Survey

The SSI, with the help of others in the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) community has put together a survey of digital / software requirements for the AHRC. Complete if it’s relevant to your work, e.g. you are in the AHRC funding remit and please forward it to others who could provide input.

They are working to improve the understanding of the digital practices people undertake or wish they could undertake in the arts, humanities and GLAM (galleries, libraries, archives and libraries) communities so that they can tailor their approach to supporting this community, and make recommendations to others working in the field.

The survey asks about your views on digital-tools/software, your experience of developing digital-tools/software, and your practices and preferences for recruiting help with digital tool/software development.

This survey’s focus is the AHRC Research Community and therefore it has a UK focus; participants should be connected with a UK based institution. They will share the findings with AHRC to help them direct their digital infrastructure funding to better align with the communities’ needs. Note they will not share any Personally Identifiable Information (PII) as defined by GDPR with the AHRC.

They are actively seeking views from people who do not develop digital tools / software. They are seeking input from all roles, including senior decision makers, researchers, curators, librarians and software developers in the AHRC remit. As the survey is filled in from an individual perspective, we ask that you also forward it to members of your teams / network.

The survey is available at: http://bit.ly/ahrc-digital-requirements-survey, and should only take 15 minutes to complete. It closes at the end July 2021 after which there will be a prize draw. You will have a chance to win one of four £50 shopping vouchers (please opt-in during the survey).

Future Events

Lunch bytes: Clinical Research Software

9 June 2021 - 12:00-13:00

Short talks on how University of Sheffield researchers and RSEs, and collaborators worldwide, are using REDCap and other platforms to handle clinical research data. The clinical research we will focus on here relates gathering data on people (e.g. evaluating interventions) rather than more fundamental laboratory research.

Planned talks:

  • REDCap features, setup and maintenance
  • Transcriptomic Responses for the Identification of Pathogens
  • Using REDCap to capture the economic impact on households of seeking care for children sick with, or exposed to, tuberculosis in three sub-Saharan African countries
  • Using REDCap alongside an existing Electronic Data Capture (EDC) system: Fitting in with existing processes and comparing functionality between systems

Funder panel: Challenges & opportunities of funding research software

14 June 2021 - 10:00-11:15

Software is used across research cycle - from controlling equipment to collect research data to enabling visualisation of complex simulations. Developing good research software engineering (RSE) practices to create better software can improve the reproducibility, reusability and quality of your research.

The panel discussion which will focus on:

Opportunities available to support research software from funders including the Wellcome Trust (e.g. Open Research Fund) and Sage Publishing (e.g . software tools for social science research).

Part of the UCL Festival of Code

Coding In The Open: A week of lunchtime talks on working with open principles

14-18 June 2021 - 13:00-1400 each day

Coding In The Open is a week of 1 hour seminars happening June 14th - 18th, online.

They aim to bring the discussion around Open Source practices - that is, the collaboration across organisations to achieve bigger things - to a new audience.

They’ve some fantastic speakers lined up from public, private, charity and academic sectors to talk about what being “open” means to them, and how it improves their world.

The schedule is yet to be announced, but you can sign up here.

Hosted by the Edinburgh R UserGroup

Research-IT forum: Image Processing Techniques and Technology

16 June 2021 - 09:30-12:15

The Research-IT forum is a regular event providing updates on developments relating to research computing covering research software, computational science, data science, qualitative and quantitative analysis and the management of research outputs. It is a forum where researchers can showcase their work in an environment conducive to creative discussion

This event will explore image processing at the University of Sheffield. As well as presenting an overview of the research topic, each of our speakers will discuss their image processing techniques. This can include; image generation, image comparison, image transformations, image registration, data extraction from images, image classification or image segmentation.

AHUG Hackathon: Cloud Hackathon for Arm-based HPC

Registration closes 25th June 2021 12 - 16th July 2021

The Arm HPC User Group (AHUG) has announced the latest Arm HPC hackathon in collaboration with Arm and AWS. A week long interactive, and competitive, hackathon addressing HPC application porting and optimizing in the cloud.

This event will challenge teams to get open-source HPC software running on Arm HPC systems (specifically AWS Graviton2). There are some great prizes up for grabs if this takes your interest.


12 - 18th July 2021

SciPy 2021, the 20th annual Scientific Computing with Python Conference will be a virtual conference July 12-18. SciPy® is a community dedicated to the advancement of scientific computing through open source Python software for mathematics, science, and engineering. The annual SciPy Conference allows participants from all types of organizations to showcase their latest projects, learn from skilled users and developers, and collaborate on code development. The full program will consist of two days of tutorials followed by three days of presentations, and concludes with two days of developer sprints on projects of interest to attendees.

N8 CIR RSE Meet-Up

21 June 2021 - 10:00-13:00

N8 CIR’s annual RSE meet-up returns in June!

Of necessity the event will take place online and will feature RSE case studies, a speed networking session before groups discuss ways and means of enhancing collaboration between RSEs and groups across the N8 Research Partnership.

If you would like to present your work as a ten-minute RSE case study please get in touch with marion.weinzierl@durham.ac.uk


Submission Deadline: July 2nd 2021 *(Discussion topic submission closes early on June 18th 2021).

6 - 30th September 2021

2021 Research Software Engineers (online) Conference. See News section above for full details.

Previous Events

Lunch bytes: Putting the R into Reproducible Research

In May, our Anna delivered a great talk about how R can be used for reproducibile research. If you weren’t able to attend, a video of the event and the Slides are now available.


ELIXIR-UK Vacancies in Training and Community Coordination

Application deadline: June 21st, 2021

The university of Bradford has three new roles as part of their new ELIXIR-UK UKRI funded FAIR Data Stewardship Training Project. These roles are a great opportunity for people passionate about training to join the ELIXIR-UK team and work with experts in the area of Data Management to help us deliver this project.

University of Sheffield Library’s Open Research Prize

Submission deadline: 5pm June 23rd, 2021

All reserach students and staff can enter this competition with the chance to win cash prizes. Submit a 750 word case study describing how you’ve engaged with open research, the challenges faced and impact.

Submissions open for a PeerJ special issue on software

Submission deadline: July 16th, 2021

Submit now to this PeerJ Computer Science Special Issue investigating the importance of - and best practice for - citing, indexing, and discovering software used as a scholarly research tool.

Web and Blogs


Archer Message-Passing with MPI

This new online self-service course uses the de facto standard for message passing, the Message Passing Interface (MPI). It covers:

  • point-to-point communication
  • non-blocking operations
  • derived datatypes
  • virtual topologies
  • collective communication
  • general design issues

This self-service course includes a series of Lecture videos (with closed captions and downloadable PDF slides) which you can work through at your own pace and in your own time.

Hands-on practical programming exercises are included, with the option of working in either C, C++ or Fortran.

Access to ARCHER2 is provided for participants to build and run the exercises.

RSE Sheffield’s Services

The RSE Sheffield team aims to collaborate with you to help improve your research software. We can provide dedicated staff to ensure that you can deliver excellent research software engineering on your research projects.

The RSE Sheffield team provides free Code Clinics (in collaboration with IT Services), plus paid services that allow us to collaborate longer term.

Contact Us

For queries relating to collaborating with the RSE team on projects: rse@sheffield.ac.uk

Information and access to JADE II and Bede.

Join our mailing list so as to be notified when we advertise talks and workshops by subscribing to this Google Group.

Queries regarding free research computing support/guidance should be raised via our Code clinic or directed to the University IT helpdesk.