Research Software Engineer sessions with Nic Seymour-Smith
Posted on behalf of: Sussex Digital Humanities Lab (SHL Digital)
Last updated: Monday, 23 October 2023
Dr Nic Seymour-Smith (pictured) joined the Sussex Digital Humanities Lab (SHL Digital) as the Centre’s first Research Software Engineer a few months ago. SInce then, Nic has busy been working in a variety of research projects, and scoping ideas for future work.
As part of Sussex Digital Humanities Lab Incubator Programme Nic runs open-door surgery sessions fortnightly on Thursdays 2-3 pm in the lab (Silverstone Building Level 2, opposite SB211). Researchers developing projects and proposals within the Centre's research remit of work can drop by for Nic's advice, technical help, and troubleshooting. No booking required.
"I'm absolutely thrilled to be joining SHL Digital, a group whose work I have been interested in since their inception and have been greatly enjoying getting stuck in with an exciting variety of problems, discussions and opportunities that have presented themselves. Come along and have a chat at my office hours to see if we can work together!"
What is a Research Software Engineer?
The Research Software Engineer (RSE) role seeks to collaboratively combine professional software expertise with an understanding of research. In the context of this role 'Research Software' has a specific meaning as: “source code files, algorithms, scripts, computational workflows and executables that were created during the research process or for a research purpose."[i]
Importantly, to understand what an RSE can and can't provide we also distinguish this kind of software from the domain of 'Software in Research' [ii]: "Software components (e.g., operating systems, libraries, dependencies, packages, scripts, etc.) that are used for research but were not created during or with a clear research intent should be considered software in research and not research software. This differentiation may vary between disciplines." It will also vary between individual RSEs, whose backgrounds and experience are as varied as the multitude of research fields that exist in academia.
Working with the particular needs of SHL Digital as a research environment that recognises the vital role of good practice in software and data management, Nic’s RSE role will also facilitate the development of those practices with a focus on reproducibility, reusability, and accuracy of data analysis and applications created for research.
What type of help Nic offers
Nic can work together with researchers working within SHL Digital’s remit to develop the technological aspects of funding proposals, ensuring that adequate time, funding, and human resources are assigned to the development of software and hardware components of the project according to best development practices.
Nic can also directly lend his expertise to funded proposals, by being included as an RSE resource in a project.
Nic has a broad range of experience in the development of software and hardware solutions, including:
- Data analysis and visualisation
- Multimedia interactive digital software and artworks
- Interactive mechanical installations
- Electronic engineering
Want to know more? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.