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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/N018591/1
Title: Sustainable RSE Careers for Sustainable Software Development
Principal Investigator: Woods, Dr CJ
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Cresset BioMolecular Discovery Ltd Software Sustainability Institute
Department: Faculty of Science
Organisation: University of Bristol
Scheme: EPSRC Fellowship
Starts: 04 July 2016 Ends: 03 July 2021 Value (£): 488,453
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Biophysics High Performance Computing
Light-Matter Interactions
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Manufacturing Chemicals
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
15 Oct 2015 EPSRC RSE e-Infrastructure Meeting Announced
17 Nov 2015 EPSRC RSE e-Infrastructure Meeting (Interviews) Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Advances in High Performance Computing (HPC) and scientific software development will have increasingly significant societal impact through the computational design of new products, medicines, materials and industrial processes. However, the complexity of modern HPC hardware means that scientific software development now requires teams of scientists and programmers to work together, with different and non-overlapping skill-sets required from each member of the group. This complexity can lead to software development projects stalling. Investments in software development are in danger of being lost, either because key members of a team move on, or because a lack of planning or engagement means that a sustainable user and developer community has failed to gel around a particular code.

Research Software Engineers (RSEs) can solve this problem. RSEs have the skills and training necessary to support software development projects as they move through different stages of the academic software lifecycle. Academic software evolves along this lifecycle, from being a code used by an initial team of researchers, through to a large multi-site community code used by academics and industrialists from across the UK and around the World. RSEs provide the training and support needed to help academic software developers structure their projects to support the sustainable growth of their user and developer communities. RSEs are also highly skilled programmers who can train software developers in advanced HPC techniques, and who can support developers in the implementation, optimisation and testing of complex and intricate code. Together with academic software developers, RSEs can support UK investment in HPC, and ensure that the potential of computational science and engineering to revolutionise the design of future products and industrial processes is realised.

This project aims to develop sustainable RSE career pathways and funding at Bristol. This will support the growth of a sustainable team of RSEs at the University. Software development projects that will be supported include; the building of code to interface real biological cells with virtual simulated cells, so to support the rapid design of new biomanufacturing control processes; the development of code to more quickly model the behaviour of electrons in novel materials, to support the design of new fuel cells and batteries; code to improve our understanding of glass-like matter, so to help design new materials with exciting new properties; software to support modelling of the quantum interaction between laser light and microscopic nanoparticles, to support the design of optical tweezers and new optically driven nanomachines; and code to design new medicinal drugs and to understand why existing treatments are no longer working, thereby supporting the development of 21st century medicine.

Finally, this project aims to create a coherent set of teaching materials in programming and research software engineering. These, together with the development of software to support science and programming lessons held in an interactive 3D planetarium, will help inspire and educate the next generation of scientists and RSEs. These materials will showcase how maths, physics, computing and chemistry can be used in the "real world" to create the high-tech tools and industries of the future.
Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
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Project URL:  
Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.bris.ac.uk