Trinity Term 2015
For more information, see http://rsdn.oerc.ox.ac.uk
Good software is now essential to achieving excellence in many areas of research. However, talented Research Software Developers (RSDs), who combine expertise in programming with an intimate understanding of the research environment, are often hard to recruit and retain within the University. Our proposal will improve this situation, making it easier to find individuals with these skills in order to tackle complex research questions, making Oxford a more attractive employer for such people, and saving money on contractors. The aim is to optimize the use of RSDs’ expertise to enhance the University’s research, ensuring that Oxford’s reputation for technology development is on a par with its internationally recognised research standing. In the process we will support RSDs’ career progression by providing appropriate advanced training and facilitating re-employment within the University. We are already working to establish a network structure for RSDs, and our proposal will complement this network by creating a digital platform that will systematically collect and disseminate information about the location of RSDs, their skills, and their availability for re-employment. The project will also provide RSDs with networking and other support resources, building on a promising start and ensuring the community flourishes. The platform will include: a dynamic website bringing together RSD profiles and related information; social media features to enhance the network’s activities; and a jobs brokering system. The key socio-technical innovation here is the bringing together of existing information sources within the University and beyond into a hub for a specific community.