Programming is more important than ever in research. This BOF brings together Research Software Engineers, an emerging research role, collaborating with academic colleagues to develop and maintain the high quality software which is necessary for 21st century research. We hope to better understand how to carry out, stabilise and promote our significant contribution to the research effort.
Programming is ever more important to the research effort. However, most researchers are neither trained nor incentivised to produce readable, reliable and efficient software, while general programmers are not often able to rapidly assimilate the scientific, mathematical and cultural context of research software.
Therefore, a role is emerging for the Research Software Engineer, a research professional who collaborates with academic colleagues to develop and maintain the high quality software which is necessary for 21st century research, from scripts which make data analysis and visualisation repeatable to advanced simulations running on state-of-the-art supercomputers. Research Software Engineers also act as an institutional well of best practice in research programming, and provide training and teaching in research software skills to emerging researchers.
These individuals have a variety of names in different contexts, from Research Technologist to Alternative Academic via Bioinformatician and "laboratory computer person", but by comparing our experiences, we hope to better understand how to carry out, stabilise and promote our significant contribution to the multi-skilled 21st century research effort.