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Meeting the RSE Leaders of Tomorrow

4 July 2019

At the start of May, the Society of Research Software Engineering ran a two day workshop in the New Forest for the RSE leaders of tomorrow. Twelve leaders of existing research software groups and twenty eight aspiring leaders had the chance to network and learn from each other. The head of UCL’s Research Software Development Group, Jonathan Cooper, was one of the existing leaders present, and gives this report.

Everything about the event was amazing, from the great people attending, to the stunning venue on the edge of Brockenhurst. While as existing leaders we went expecting to dispense advice and lessons learned the hard way to those following in our footsteps, I think it’s safe to say all of us learnt loads from each other as well. We shared how each group or community operates, looking at similarities and differences. There were insights into the logistics of running a group, making the case to institutions, developing RSE career paths, and the differences between being a practitioner and a leader. Plus plenty of opportunities to chat, ask questions, and share ideas.

It was a shame not to see aspiring leaders from UCL present, particularly from the wider research programming community in the university. Perhaps next time… In the meantime, there are likely to be senior positions advertised soon within RSDG, so if you think you have what it takes and want to make the next step in your RSE career, do look out for these and apply.

You can read the few tweets arising from the event – not many, as we were too busy talking to each other! The slides from the presentations have been made publicly available so the insights can benefit those were not able to be there in person.

In summary, this was a great event, and one I’d love to see run regularly as the research software community continues to grow, both in the UK and worldwide.