Workshop for RSEs: Recognition and Career Development for Researchers who Code

Mr Rowland Mosbergen1, Mr Nicholas May2, Dr Georgina Rae3, Dr Manodeep Sinha4,5, Dr Lance Wilson6, Dr Steven Manos7

1ARDC, Parkville, Australia,
2RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia,
3NeSI, Auckland, New Zealand,
4Centre for Astrophysics & Supercomputing, Swinburne University of Technology,
5ARC Centre of Excellence for All Sky Astrophysics in 3 Dimensions (ASTRO 3D)
6Monash eResearch Centre, Monash University, Clayton, Australia,
7University of Melbourne,



  • Workshop Length: 1 day
  • Hands-on component: No technical hands-on components
  • Attendees: All welcome.


This workshop will bring together people who identify as Research Software Engineers (RSE), as well as leaders, policy makers and academics who are keen to see this community grow and be recognised. This one day workshop is the first time a community gathering will take place. The ambition is to build recognition and better define career opportunities for RSEs.

The term RSE was originally coined by the UK RSE association (, who say the following about RSEs: “A growing number of people in academia combine expertise in programming with an intricate understanding of research. Although this combination of skills is extremely valuable, these people lack a formal place in the academic system.” In Australia, the term RSE includes academics/researchers who code but are lacking recognition and metrics needed to progress their academic career; professional software engineers working in the research space; and system administrators who maintain research systems.

Inspired by the success of the RSE Association in the UK, we are seeking to establish an  Australasian Chapter of the RSE Association. Together with international bodies and support from our national organisations such as AeRO, NeSI, CAUDIT, ARDC, and research institutions, we aim to campaign for the recognition and adoption of the RSE role within academia, alongside the need for appropriate recognition, reward and career opportunities. We plan to organise regular events to allow RSEs to meet, exchange knowledge and collaborate.

We ran an initial Expression of Interest survey in 2017 among Australian and New Zealand researchers and found that majority of the respondents prioritised: (1) Increasing recognition of the RSE role, (2) Building more appropriate, consistent and representative position descriptions and KPIs, and (3) Developing a stronger community through regular collaborative events and gatherings.

Please join us on this event to actively work on how we can grow this community and advocate for others. Together, we can build a sustainable community that supports RSEs, that ultimately advances our reputation in data-intensive research, and contributes to more efficient and reproducible computational research.


  1. Introduction and background on RSE landscape, including meetings held, institutional review.

30 minutes

  1. Introductions and Lightning Talks from delegates

60 minutes

  1. Break

30 minutes

  1. Practical solution brainstorming breakout session, including current sustainable career stories

90 minutes

  1. Break

60 minutes

  1. Virtual meeting time to connect with other RSEs nationally to assign champions/steering committee members

60 minutes

  1. Virtual breakout to organise into smaller teams to start planning implementation strategies

30 minutes

  1. Break

30 minutes

  1. Write up details of the day and close

60 minutes


This workshop is for building a community for academics/researchers who create and maintain research software, but are lacking recognition and metrics needed to progress their academic career. Professional software engineers working in the research space, research support team members that work closely with researchers, system administrators who maintain research systems; academics who rely on such expertise; eResearch leaders and policy makers.


Attendees need to bring enthusiasm and a willingness to volunteer their thoughts and their time. A lightning talk to introduce attendees and their tools for research.



Rowland is the Manager of Community Platforms at the ARDC. He has 20 years experience in IT along with 8 years experience in research computing.

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