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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/V051822/1
Title: Embedding FAIRness in Plasma Science
Principal Investigator: Hill, Dr PA
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Culham Centre for Fusion Energy Imperial College London Institute of Physics
Leibniz Association Software Sustainability Institute University of Strathclyde
University of Warwick
Department: Physics
Organisation: University of York
Scheme: EPSRC Fellowship
Starts: 01 July 2021 Ends: 30 June 2026 Value (£): 992,754
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Plasmas - Laser & Fusion Plasmas - Technological
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
No relevance to Underpinning Sectors
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
27 Jan 2021 RSE Fellowships 2020 Panel - Full Proposal Announced
25 Feb 2021 RSE Fellowships 2020 Panel B - Interview Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Open science is perhaps best embodied by the FAIR principles for software and data: that they should be Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable. When researchers make their code and data available for others to use, it becomes easier for others to verify results, as well as easier for others to build on and use to spur new research of their own. Alongside the FAIR principles is the idea of "sustainable" software, which is software that can continue to be used after its original intended purpose, remaining reliable and reproducible. Sustainable software is important for high quality research.

The goal of this Fellowship is to help researchers in plasma science overcome barriers to implementing these principles and ideas in their work, and bring about a cultural change to make sharing FAIR software and data the norm. I will do this by establishing a national network of research software engineers (RSEs) who will undertake efficient, wide-ranging improvements across the plasma science software ecosystem. The objective is not to make a single code massively better; it is to create and maintain an environment and philosophy that will benefit all plasma codes used in the UK -- "a rising tide lifts all boats".

In order to reach as much of the community as possible, this national network will focus on short usability and sustainability projects, along with training tailored to individual researchers and groups. This will be paired with code review, where an RSE will go through a piece of software with researchers and discuss its aims and implementation. Code review is commonplace in industry, but rarer in academia. Together, the use of code review and short projects will give the network a good idea of what software is needed and used by the community, targeting projects where they are most needed and encouraging reuse of software between groups.

As well as improving software directly, I will also work on the data front. To do this, I will develop tools to help overcome the friction and effort needed for researchers to adopt FAIR data practices. These tools will add metadata output to software, capturing important information like what version of what code created the output. This metadata can then be used to automate uploading the output to a database. I will work with the plasma science and data communities to develop what this metadata will look like, while the national network will implement these tools across the plasma science software ecosystem.
Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
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Organisation Website: http://www.york.ac.uk