The first steps of BEAR Software

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I started at the University in November, having previously been a researcher (both PhD and postdoc) at a different university. I’ve moved from being the one asking IT Services for both services and support to the one who provides these to others and it has been an interesting, busy, and varied first three months. During this period I’ve debugged research software issues, taught on BEAR training courses, visited BEAR users, attended a computing conference, familiarised myself with the University, and many other tasks.

My job title is Senior Research Software Engineer (RSE) and I have been involved in setting up the new Research Software Group, which has the aim of improving the research software written and used by the researchers of the University. The RSEs in Research Software Group will be providing a range of services to researchers in the University. These services are called BEAR Software and they are available free of charge. It has been interesting for me to define the services that we offer, and that we could offer in the future, and to consider what research software services I would have benefited from when I was a researcher.

I believe that we, in the Research Software Group, have put together an impressive list of services to offer to researchers and I am looking forward to helping those across the University with their research software needs and helping researchers to make the best of the resources that we in BEAR provide. During January we held our first BEAR Software – Advice meetings and these have given me insight into a small selection of the varied research taking place at the University.

Next month I will be training as a Software Carpentry instructor and this will enable the University to offer a new range of training courses to researchers. We are aiming to organise courses, later in the year, concentrating on combining one of Python, MATLAB, or R with data management, including how to make use of a version control system. Going on such a course should give researchers a thorough starting point to the skills necessary to produce reliable research software.

And now on to another first for Research Software Group: this month I will provide our first BEAR Software – Coding engagement. I look forward to hearing from more researchers across the University and assisting with the varied research software needs.

Author: Simon Branford

I am a Research Software Engineer in Research Software Group