2022 Strategic Planning Meeting

Published: Mar 23, 2022

As we did last year, the US-RSE Steering Committee held a strategic planning retreat to assess the current state of US-RSE, identify priorities for the upcoming year, and discuss where US-RSE is headed over the next 3-5 years.

SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis

To help focus discussions, we compiled a SWOT analysis. There was a large degree of overlap in the themes identified by different Steering Committee members.


  • Active, growing, and engaged community; increased working group activity and involvement over the last year
  • Efforts and commitment of multiple engaged volunteers
  • Growing sense of community
  • Increase use of the RSE term and acceptance of the RSE role
  • Committed and active leadership group
  • Active DEI group and overall inclusive culture
  • Job board and employment networking
  • Independent and cross-sector nature of the organization


  • While awareness and acceptance of RSEs is growing, it is still weak overall
  • Lack of reliable funding and a clear financial plan
  • Organization is completely volunteer, and organizational operations fall on too small of a set of volunteers to be sustainable long term
  • Moving slowly on activities that would create value for individual members
  • Few non-academic members, weak ties to industry, and high proportion of people from well-funded R1 universities in leadership roles
  • Lack of outreach to those who do not immediately identify as RSEs or see why they would join US-RSE


  • An RSE conference
  • Continuing to advocate for policy changes by funders and institutions that better support RSEs
  • Develop a membership and financial model that is beneficial to our community
  • Increase partnerships with other organizations
  • Explore sponsorship models for revenue
  • Training, education, and certification efforts that could support professionalization of the RSE role


  • Dependence on volunteers; work exceeding current volunteer capacity
  • Slack as the primary means of community engagement, especially when a minority of the community is active on Slack. Slack can disadvantage or exclude those who do not engage in a topic immediately, it can be easy to miss key posts, and misunderstandings can grow quickly. We need to make sure all community members have opportunities to engage and contribute.

Discussion and Priorities

Our discussion then centered on three key topics: developing structure for working groups and other organizational operations, policy and position papers, and organizational finances.

From the discussions, we identified a set of priorities and next step actions to help focus efforts over the coming year:

  • Develop clearer structure and expectations for working group formation and operations. This is intended to be one topic for the April Community Building Workshop.
  • Establish a financial sustainability group to develop more detailed plans for the organization’s financial stability and explore topics such as sponsorships.
  • Develop a membership model that articulates what benefits members receive.
  • Brainstorm potential policy papers in an upcoming community call and determine community interest for writing one or more policy papers.
  • Develop a process and/or policy for endorsing position papers written by the community, other organizations or products, requests for collaboration with other organizations, and similar requests.
  • Hold a third annual US-RSE virtual workshop in 2022 building on the success of the 2020 and 2021 workshops.
  • Pursue hosting an in-person RSE conference in 2023.
  • Discuss the benefits and potential membership of an external advisory board for US-RSE.

While any set of priorities is necessarily limited, we also hope that members of the US-RSE community will continue to propose and lead additional activities as well. As always, if you’d like to help with any of the above goals, or just get more involved with the US-RSE Association, please reach out to the Steering Committee on Slack (@sc) or via email (contact@us-rse.org).