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

Ms Kerri Wait1, Dr Rebecca Lange2, Ms Amanda Miotto3, Dr Manodeep Sinha4,5, Dr Jens Klump6, Mr Rowland Mosbergen7, Dr Steven Manos8, Ms Heidi Perrett9

1 Monash eResearch Centre, Monash University, Australia,

2 Curtin Institute for Computation, Curtin University, Perth, Australia,

3 eResearch Services Griffith/QCIF, Griffith University, Nathan, Australia,

4 Centre for Astrophysics & Supercomputing, Swinburne University of Technology, Australia,

5 ARC Centre of Excellence for All Sky Astrophysics in 3 Dimensions (ASTRO 3D)

6 CSIRO Mineral Resources, Perth, Australia,

7 University of Melbourne, Parkville, Australia,

8 University of Melbourne, Australia,

9 eResearch Support Services, Griffith University, Nathan, Australia, 



This BoF is to build awareness of the Research Software Engineer (RSE) community and to identify volunteers to help implement the practical solutions for the RSE community that have been identified at the pre-conference workshop. If you are an academic/researcher who codes but are lacking recognition and metrics needed to progress your academic career; a professional software engineer working in the research space; or a  system administrator who maintains research systems, you should attend.

The term RSE, originally coined by the UK RSE association (, says 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.”

Inspired by the success of the RSE Association in 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, the Australian Research Data Commons (ARDC), and research institutions, we aim to campaign for the recognition and adoption of the RSE role within the research ecosystem. Alongside this, appropriate recognition, reward and career opportunities for RSEs are needed. We plan to organise regular events to allow RSEs to meet, exchange knowledge and collaborate on methods to create these opportunities.

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) Increased recognition of the RSE role, (2) More appropriate, consistent and representative position descriptions and KPIs, and (3) Community development through regular 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 benefits research software engineers, and ultimately contributes to more efficient and reproducible research.


A quick presentation of “Who is an RSE?”, the problems that RSEs face, the status of different institutions with regards to employing RSEs and suggested solutions will kick off the BoF. There will then be a breakout session to identify who would like to volunteer their time for which solution.


  • Research Software Engineers Association. Available from:, accessed 6th June


Kerri Wait is an HPC Consultant at Monash University. As an engineer, Kerri has a keen interest in pulling things apart and reassembling them in novel ways. She applies the same principles to her work in eResearch, and is passionate about making scientific research faster, more robust, and repeatable by upskilling user communities and removing entry barriers. Kerri currently works with the neuroscience and bioinformatics communities.

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