Research software engineers : Creating a community and an identity within complex research ecosystems

Mrs Nooriyah  Lohani1, Mr Nick May2, Mr Justin Baker3, Dr Rebecca Lange4, Dr. Manodeep Sinha5, Heidi Perrett6

1New Zealand eScience Infrastructure (NeSI), New Zealand
2RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia
3CSIRO, Clayton, Australia
4Curtin University, Bentley, WA, Australia
5Centre for Astrophysics & Supercomputing at Swinburne University, Melbourne
6CERES, Brisbane

The Research Software Engineering (RSE) movement, which started in the UK around 2013, describes the RSE community as: “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 Australasia, we interpret the term RSE inclusively to encompass; academics and researchers who code; professional software engineers working in the research space; system administrators who maintain research systems and closely interact with their researchers; and generalists who bring communities together and can engage with both researchers and technical staff. RSEs are now acknowledged in many countries across Europe and North America,  and are gaining recognition in Australia and New Zealand.

This presentation will highlight trends in the global RSE movement, and provides an update on the current status of the RSE community in Australia and New Zealand (RSE-AUNZ), which has seen an upward trend in membership since 2018. Also, the relationship between RSE-AUNZ and other communities within the Research ecosystem will be explored. Finally, we will take a look at the various ways that an RSE can contribute to and benefit from the RSE-AUNZ community.


Nooriyah Lohani is a research communities advisor at the New Zealand eScience Infrastructure, a national HPC provider in New Zealand. Nooriyah has a background in Genetics and computer science. Working as a Bioinformatician at the University of Auckland and a cancer diagnostics company Pacific Edge.

Nicholas May is an accredited software engineer with over thirty years of Information Technology experience, across a variety of roles, languages, systems and domains. The last thirteen years have been spent in the research domain, partly in a software architecture research group, but mostly helping researchers with software and data projects.

Recent Comments