Research software engineers (RSEs) are typically people with a background in a specific research discipline (other than computer science) who spend most of their working time coding.
If you think you are a research software engineer, we invite you to be part of our community. We can help you access training, mentoring, new job opportunities, and an active global community of practice where you can ask questions and share experiences.
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Talarify has been involved in creating awareness of the global Research Software Engineer movement in Africa since 2015. In 2017 and 2018, we collaborated with the Software Sustainability Institute along with Peter van Heusden from the South African National Bioinformatics Institute (SANBI) to collect information about the status of research engineering in Africa through their International RSE survey.
In 2019 Peter Van Heusden and Eugene de Beste from SANBI established the Research Software and Systems Engineers – Africa community to provide a space where African RSSEs can share knowledge and resources. The project formed part of the Open Life Science (OLS) Mentorship and Training programme in 2020 but was severely hampered by the COVID pandemic subsequently.
In 2022 Talarify started to support RSSE-Africa to host monthly community meetups where the aim was to raise awareness of RSSE/RSE in the African community and revive the community stagnated by the pandemic.
Expanding the map
The Research Software Alliance’s (ReSA) mission is to “ bring research software communities together to collaborate on the advancement of the research software ecosystem.” In 2020 ReSA launched a mapping project to understand the extent of research software stakeholders to help inform policymakers and research funders. The mapping included communities, funders, and projects from the Global North. In 2022 the mapping was expanded by ReSA contractors from the Global South to include stakeholders in their regions. The 2022 mapping included 39 entries for Africa, with only four communities listed for South Africa: SANBI, CSIR, RSE @ SUN and UCT eResearch. In truth, Africa boasts many more research software initiatives, specifically in Machine Learning, Astronomy and Bioinformatics.
Talarify is building on the great work done by ReSA contractors to expand the current list of RSE communities in Africa between September and December 2022 with support from ReSA. This work is part of an OLS project and will assist in creating more visibility on the scope and wealth of research software engineering work happening on the continent.
This project aims to identify African research groups heavily involved in in-house research software development, local research software projects, and funders investing in research software. Examples include data science research initiatives at universities, bioinformatics or astronomy groups, computational social sciences and digital humanities groups, and many more. Furthermore, the project will identify open communities of practice related to research software and systems engineering, such as RLadies, Python User Groups, and HPC.
For more information, please get in touch with Nomalungelo Maphanga (email@example.com) or Anelda van der Walt (firstname.lastname@example.org).