Summary of Our September Community Call on Groups in US-RSE

Published: Aug 30, 2022

US-RSE is a community driven organization, but do you know all the groups in the community? You may have heard someone talking about a “working group,” but do you know what that means?

This month’s community call was all about groups within US-RSE! It’s the first in a series we’re calling “Getting to know US-RSE.” The call featured short talks from all the current working groups, including Education & Training; Outreach; and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

In this blog post we want to share with you a little bit from the call—specifically, about five of the working groups in US-RSE. Our goal is to give you a sense of where the community is putting its efforts, and help you understand how you can get involved.

US-RSE Working Groups

Education & Training

Co-Chairs: Jeff Carver and Lauren Milechin

The goal of the Education and Training working group is to facilitate collaboration among US-RSE members who have an interest in training and educating RSEs. Our goal is to develop resources and strategies that support RSE education and training and contribute to the establishment of a more formal career path for RSEs. We meet monthly on Zoom to discuss and work on ongoing efforts. In the past these efforts have included compiling lists of training links as well as a list of skills that Research Software Engineers might possess. These resources are available on the working group web page.

We are currently focused on establishing a seminar series consisting of technical talks and tutorials. These seminars will focus on teaching relevant skills and best practices to members of the community. We plan to alternate between technical talks and hands-on tutorials. Our first technical talk will be “Agile Project Management for Research Software” by Angel Hering scheduled for Wednesday, October 19 at 4pm ET (1pm PT). We hope to see you there!

If you would like to participate in the the working group, let us know on Slack in the #wg-education_training or #education-training channels. You are also welcome to join the monthly zoom call.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Co-Chairs: Lance Parsons and TBD

The US-RSE Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) working group is dedicated to supporting DEI through education, outreach, and more as described in our mission statement.

The DEI working group believes that continuous education is crucial to improving the diversity, equity, and inclusion in our community. To that end, the group ogranizes a regular DEI Speaker Series where we invite experts to provide a broad perspective on a variety of DEI related issues. A regular DEI Media Club also provides members an opportunity for a deeper discussion around relevant books, podcasts, and videos. Those discussions also continue on the #dei-discussion channel in Slack.

The group is currently working on a couple of initiatives. The first is building up a list of DEI Resources into a set of Resource Toolkits. Each toolkit will focus on how DEI issues affect a specific aspect of being an RSE such as managing and hiring or the various pathways to becoming an RSE.

The other initiative is to collect demographic information on the US-RSE membership and use it as a benchmark to see how the organization changes over time. Knowing some basic information about our membership will be very helpful in measuring the success of our efforts and help us plan activities, decide on speaker invitations, resource topics, etc.

Interested members are encouraged to hop on the #dei-discussion channel and the #wg-diversity-equity-inclusion channel. We meet on Zoom every two weeks, Wednesdays at 3 PM ET / 12 PM PT.


Co-Chairs: Miranda Mundt and Josh Teves

The US-RSE Outreach Working Group (officially started in early 2022) is dedicated to broadening US-RSE’s engagement with the research software engineer (RSE) and wider computational science and engineering (CSE) communities. Its members strive to raise awareness of US-RSE as an association and RSE as a professional designation through engagement with industry, academia, national labs, and students.

During the US-RSE September Community Call, co-chairs Miranda Mundt (Sandia National Laboratories) and Joshua Teves (National Institutes of Health) detailed the engagement of the Outreach WG so far this year at SciPy (Birds of a Feather Panel), eScience (Workshop), and Supercomputing (Workshop).

In addition to formal forums, the Outreach WG hosted the first-ever US-RSE Swag Giveaway event in August 2022. Of the over 80 submissions received, 28 were randomly selected to receive either a US-RSE tumbler or a US-RSE backpack. All entrants also received official US-RSE stickers.

Starting soon, the Outreach WG is beginning a new webinar “Funder Series,” a speaker series aimed at bringing representatives from funders (e.g., NSF, NIH) to speak to members of US-RSE. These funders will bring essential information about opportunities, strategies, and starting points for finding funding. The announcement for the first talk is here: More information will be released as this effort evolves.

Finally, the Outreach WG needs your help! They are calling on members of US-RSE to submit short recorded videos for use in their “Rapid Interviews” effort. These recordings are answers to a series of questions that will give watchers a quick insight into the members of US-RSE. Instructions can be found here and the form to submit is found here.


Co-Chairs: TBD (Ian Cosden standing in)

The US-RSE website is the organizations portal to the world. It’s often the first place people hear of us and sometimes the first place they hear the term RSE. It serves as the primary place where we collect and provide resources and parts of the website (job board, event calendar, etc) are regularly updated and visited by members of the community. The website group, not surprisingly, oversees all facets of the website. This includes everything from full website design, reviewing PRs from other groups and contributors, making functional improvements, and more. The website is all hosted on github at We are looking for more volunteers to help in every aspect including organizing and chairing the group. You don’t need to be an expert, or even familiar with the specific technologies to make an impact! We can help get you started.

Elevating RSEs

Chair: Kenton McHenry

Many of us have similar stories in regards to recognizing the criticality of our roles in supporting modern research endeavors, yet struggle to gain the recognition of that amongst campus leadership, which oftentimes still thinks in terms of more traditional university roles such as faculty and students. The aim of the Elevating RSEs working group is to help all of us make this clearer at our various organizations. A key aspect of this is making it very clear to researchers, as well as funding agencies, the scientific discoveries that we are enabling, the scholarship that could not be done otherwise. As a first step we are soliciting from the RSE community stories of such discoveries that were RSE enabled! If you have such a story please fill out this brief form here.

From these stories we will be doing three things in the short term:

  1. highlighting one story in our newsletter each month,

  2. compiling a slide deck (here) with these stories that we can pull slides from when we talk about the importance of RSEs with our colleagues, collaborators, and leadership, and

  3. collecting outreach channels we should aim to include for our newsletters and other outreach activities.

Longer term plans include other activities along this front such as an RSE conference where submitted papers are peer reviewed on both the science and the RSE aspects of the effort. If you have other ideas and are interested in being part of this working group, please join the #wg-elevate-rse channel in the USRSE slack.

The rest of the call and future efforts

Several other groups that are forming spoke, such as Financial Stability and the group that organizes community calls. We also talked briefly about a draft of guidelines for forming groups in US-RSE that came out of our first community workshop in March. This included a discussion of the different types of groups that members can form, how new groups can be formed, how we’re testing the suggested guidelines, and how we’d like to promote more affinity groups within US-RSE.

To find out more about getting involved and the next community call on getting to know US-RSE, be sure to join our organization!