RSE Service

The RSE 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 (see example projects and testimonials). Supporting the entire University, we have collaborators in every faculty and have supported researchers in a range of subject areas including engineering, mathematics, computer science, biology, linguistics, physics, chemistry and geography.

The RSE team provides a mixture of

  • Paid service via grant funding (as percentages of an RSE FTE)
  • Paid service for departments and core accounts (as percentages of an RSE FTE)
  • Limited free at point of use support (via community activities, training and the Code Clinic service we co-run with IT Services Research and Innovation IT).

Areas of expertise within the team include:

  • code optimisation and performance
  • reproducibility and embedding good software engineering practice with your project or team
  • GPU computing and Deep Learning
  • statistical analysis and data visualisation
  • High Performance Computing for local/national/international/cloud systems
  • general software development
  • development of impact case studies
  • consultancy
  • training
  • education delivery and support

Our list of specialist expertise is constantly changing and improving so please contact us if you are unsure if we can support your research software needs or read more on what we do.

Why use the RSE service

The RSE service allows you to get dedicated help for professional software engineers. Recruitment of such skills is very difficult on research projects, especially when you only require short term expertise. UKRI (and most other UK and EU funding agencies) understand what an import part RSEs have on research and would like to see that they are being offered sustainable careers with academia. The RSE team provides this through underwritten roles and by allowing RSEs to work to a unique job description. If you want to deliver software engineering as part of your grant application then there is a good chance that you will be required to demonstrate how this will be done sustainability. The RSE team is an excellent way to provide this evidence to your funders.

How to use the paid RSE service

The RSE service is typically via a grant costed service (see below). For more information on how our service is provided please see the provision of RSE staff page.

Normal RSE service usage (grant-costed service)

Outside of the free activities which we organise, the RSE service is a paid service. In many cases this will require you to budget for the RSE service as part of your grant application. The RSE team can assist with this an advice you as to what is appropriate for your needs. Enquiries should be made to

We can provide staffing for your grants (charged as ‘directly incurred’ costs) for anything from 1 day to 50% of a FTE, although provision of an RSE is subject to availability and as such enquiries should be made before grant submission to allow us to schedule our staff resources.

If you require a dedicated 100% role for your team or project then you should recruit this directly. We can help you with this by assisting with recruitment and by supporting your RSE within the Sheffield RSE community.

RSE service charge

If you require paid RSE support which cannot be budgeted into a research grant then we provide an different mechanism for buying RSE support. In this case we charge an internal RSE service day rate of £384 for internal grants and £585+VAT for external partners and industry (2021 rates).

The service rate is based on an average cost of an RSE in our team and has a 10% faculty administration cost.

Collaborative research software development

The aim of the RSE team is to provide staff to support software engineering for research. This is aways done as a collaborative exercise. In most cases where an RSE is required, the novel research is facilitated by software and the RSE rather than the development of software being novel in its own right.

If you wish to undertake a collaborative software engineering project where the focus is on novel software engineering research then this can be provided by our director or academics associated with the RSE team. As part of this you may also cost RSE time. The RSE director for example, holds an academic position in the Department of Computer Science and delivers collaborative research around novel high-performance computing.

Contributing to the RSE team (underwriting a RSE role)

If you have a considerable requirement for RSE staff you may consider underwriting an RSE staff member with the team. By doing so you will ensure that a member of staff will exist with the specific skills which you require for your research. You will also be given the opportunity to join our strategy group to influence how free RSE time should be allocated. Underwriting a post does not guarantee that the staff member will be available to you 100% of the time. The staff member will be costed onto grants (benefiting you are your research group) in the normal way. Our method of cost recovery will allow us to recover up to 75% of the staff costs which will be reimbursed annually. Cost recovery will be reported on at each RSE strategy group meeting which you will be invited to attend as a contributor to the group. Examples of current contributors include The Department of Computer Science and IT Services.

Contact Us

For queries relating to collaborating with the RSE team on projects:

To contact the RSE team about seminars, training or JADE:

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 University central IT support.