2023 Steering Committee Strategic Planning Meeting

Published: Mar 29, 2023 by Christina Maimone

The Steering Committee continued the tradition of yearly strategic planning meetings in February. Like last year, we focused on where US-RSE is headed over the next 3-5 years and what we need to do to get there.

We discussed our vision for how we fulfill our mission in the areas of our membership, organizational capacity and structure, advocacy for RSEs, and education, training, and careers.

Several ideas emerged across breakout groups of where we should be headed:

  • Membership: build to several thousand members over the next few years; determine benefits that would make a paid membership model valuable to members; gather better data on our membership and the ability to assess the impact of DEI efforts; develop methods for better recognizing member contributions
  • Organization: support local chapters; increase recognition of US-RSE as an organization; develop more content for the website; raise funding to hire staff
  • Education and Careers: offer regular training opportunities; train trainers as well as individual RSEs; develop materials and programs for students
  • Advocacy: establish the expectation that RSEs should be co-authors on papers; provide institutions with suggestions for valuing research software contributions; track and analyze RSE job postings to support development of common roles; develop connections to university and national lab leadership; increase collaboration with other organizations; encourage funding agencies to expect RSEs on software projects and evaluate RSEs’ experience appropriately

While the organization cannot take on all of these things immediately, the brainstorming helps to keep us looking forward and working towards long-term goals.

We also identified challenges and next steps in several strategic areas:


  • What processes to use to start planning for next year, including how to choose a location and conference chair
  • Establishing mechanisms for keeping track of lessons learned for future years
  • Clarifying the role of the Steering Committee in the conference planning process

Financial Sustainability:

  • Any model for paid memberships would need to look at the impact on volunteer efforts and provide clear benefits to members
  • Determining the role of the conference as a source of income for the organization
  • Investigating models for corporate sponsorships
  • Explore fee-based training courses as a possible source of income


  • Developing role descriptions to help set expectations
  • Increasing recognition of volunteers
  • Creating a mentorship program or partnering experienced activity leads with newcomers
  • Identifying possible barriers to participation and encouraging introverts
  • Addressing burnout by developing paths for handing off work to others and encouraging recognition of community service by employers

Organizational Development:

  • Developing the US-RSE identity and brand
  • Achieving financial sustainability
  • Creating a pipeline for membership and continued growth
  • Clearly defining roles for leadership and any staff positions
  • Establishing regular events and branded events
  • Publishing a magazine or journal
  • Supporting regional, local, or other types of chapters (e.g. national labs, health sciences)
  • Providing resources for career training and development

The Steering Committee also discussed, without reaching a conclusion, whether we need a separate meeting to assess progress over the past year outside of the review that happens for the Annual General Meeting in December.

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).