Research Software Engineer (RSE) bridges the worlds of academic research and professional software development.
RSEs are experienced researchers who are also skilled in software engineering practices, and thus are uniquely placed to support high-quality scientific research in this time of Big Data and Open Science.
The RSE role is identified by the UK-based
Software Sustainability Institute as being key to high-quality reproducible and reusable research, leading to the founding of the
Society of Research Software Engineering in 2019, and the
International Council of RSE Associations in 2021. Recognition of the need for RSE continues to grow, as shown by the launch of the interdisciplinary
Virtual Institute of Scientific Software (VISS) in January of this year.
The important innovation of
RSE Groups established by leading UK universities pioneered
a novel platform to make RSE skills more widely available.
RSE Groups provide support to researchers (and external clients) with services ranging from training, consultancy, and custom code development (or rehabilitation).
RSEs assist researchers to
'tidy up' code in preparation for publication (with code-sharing increasingly important to credibility), and help researchers establish good practices (teaching and supporting adoption of
collaborative version control, sustainable code development, and appropriate licensing).
RSEs support researchers to
progressively transition to increasingly sophisticated levels of computational work, and explore cutting-edge technologies: e.g. starting from simple scripts on a single laptop, towards reproducible analysis pipelines and HPC- or cloud-enabled Big Data analyses, simulations, or deployment of AI/ML models.
RSE Groups typically work on larger projects on a 'fractional Full-Time Equivalent (FTE)' basis, allowing researchers to write RSE support into their grants as needed (giving them
access to a high level of software engineering expertise, without funding a skilled person full-time).
RSEs can work with researchers to
develop high-impact grant proposals that leverage the advantages of software engineering in computational research, increasing the prospects of success at both the award and execution stages.
Find Out More
The RSE Group at Stellenbosch University is the first such group in South Africa. Vist the RSE website
You can also send an e-mail to Dr Kim Martin or
Dr Juan Klopper.