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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/R025460/1
Title: A Research Software Engineering Hub for Computational Research
Principal Investigator: Cohen, Dr J
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Ecole Polytechnique Software Sustainability Institute
Department: Dept of Computing
Organisation: Imperial College London
Scheme: EPSRC Fellowship
Starts: 01 January 2018 Ends: 31 December 2022 Value (£): 639,259
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Bioinformatics Continuum Mechanics
Fluid Dynamics
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
No relevance to Underpinning Sectors
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
31 Oct 2017 EPSRC RSE Fellowship Interview Panel October November 2017 Announced
02 Oct 2017 EPSRC RSE Fellowship Panel October 2017 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Computational research is increasingly important in the fields of science, engineering and medicine. Advances in simulation, modelling and data analysis techniques, combined with ever more powerful computing hardware resources, offer a variety of new opportunities to scientists and researchers. However, building and using complex computational science codes continues to be a challenging process. Many computational developers will probably say that developing code to make effective use of modern infrastructure and supporting their end-users who want to run this code on such infrastructure are some of the key difficulties that they face. Building and maintaining a strong base of evolving technical skills and knowledge can help to address such challenges but the sheer volume of different technologies, libraries, tools and applications that developers have to contend with means that being part of a strong and sustainable community of peers can offer valuable support.

This fellowship will undertake a programme of software development, community building and support for computational research to enable and drive the development of a strong community of RSEs at Imperial College London and contribute outputs back into the wider UK RSE community. Working alongside recently established Research Computing Services and emerging RSE support activities and provision currently being developed at Imperial, the fellowship will lead to strong impacts in the way that scientists and researchers make use of software engineering in their research. The work programme will take a "hub and spoke" approach to managing and developing RSE capabilities. A set of core activities, representing the spokes, will feed into a core RSE "hub" that will build a base of RSE knowledge, skills and experience within Imperial College, and feed outputs back to the UK RSE community and RSE Network. This will assist in growing this valuable community resource, attracting new members and gaining a stronger understanding of the real-world benefits that it provides.

The software engineering aspect of the fellowship will be undertaken in collaboration with scientists and researchers in two domains - simulation methods and biomedical research. This programme of software development will build on previous collaborations, applying RSE expertise to address the aforementioned challenges of providing easier access to complex computational codes and processes for end-users, and simplifying deployment of analysis processes to a range of computing infrastructure. The community building aspect of the fellowship will support a range of activities expanding the base of RSE expertise and the community structure at Imperial. Collaboration with regional RSE groups will support the building of a regional community of RSEs with an annual, London-based workshop at its core. The model for setting up and running such a community will be refined and contributed back into the UK RSE community with a view to supporting the development of such regional groups in other geographic areas. Evaluation of the sustainability of software outputs and aspects of the event and seminar programme will be undertaken in collaboration with the Software Sustainability Institute (SSI). A further element of the fellowship will be the undertaking of an economic analysis exercise with the aim of gaining an understanding of the costs and benefits of RSE approaches to software development when compared to approaches traditionally followed by research groups. This has the potential for major impact through a much greater understanding of when, where and how RSE is most practical and effective.

It is believed that this fellowship stands to offer transformative, wide-reaching impacts in extending the opportunities available to RSEs and helping to further grow the UK RSE community, in addition to supporting the development of strong, sustainable and successful RSE activities within Imperial College London.
Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Impacts
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Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.imperial.ac.uk