Building a research software community in London
Since 2015, UCL’s Research IT Services department has been running ‘Research Programming Technical Socials’ – informal events that bring together researchers who write software from across the university to build connections and learn from one another. Having won additional funding from UCL’s Knowledge Exchange & Innovation Fund, the series is now expanding.
Introducing ‘Knowledge Quarter Codes’
The ‘Knowledge Quarter Codes’ event series is for anyone working in the Knowledge Quarter with an interest in the computational methods and technology behind research and innovation. The series will provide a forum for fellow practitioners to meet, discuss useful tools and techniques, which may help with your work, and build a shared community of practice. All are welcome, whatever your background or career stage!
The events are held monthly, usually 17.00-18.30 on the third Wednesday of the month, with a format as follows.
• Short talk on a tool, program, environment, language or technique of general interest to researchers, research software engineers and data scientists. The talks focus on the use of technology, typically software and data science methods, in enabling research, rather than being traditional research presentations.
• Informal networking discussion inspired by the talk, over pizza and drinks.
• Optionally retire to an appropriate social venue.
Why KQ Codes?
The Knowledge Quarter’s central ambition is to nurture stronger knowledge-sharing ties between partner organisations, particularly around collaboration and open innovation. An important part of the success of UCL’s Technical Socials has been its focus on bringing together practitioners at the grassroots level. Introducing the TechSocials model to the wider Knowledge Quarter opens up exciting new possibilities and connections. Encouraging interactions between early-career researchers, research software engineers, data scientists, and their peers in both small and large businesses across the area, KQ Codes will catalyze new relationships and activities and foster a sense of community rather than competition.
Who is it for?
The target audience for KQ Codes events works at the fore-front of research and development across multiple sectors. Providing a regular venue for semi-formal and informal interaction between these individuals will spark new opportunities for collaboration, help researchers find novel real-world applications for their work, and provide companies with greater access to the pool of local talent.
Roland Guichard, Research Software Engineer and founder of UCL’s Technical Socials, said of the series: ‘We hope that people getting to know each other across the academic / commercial divide will reduce perceived barriers to both short-term secondments and changing careers – in both directions!’
The KQ Codes community also enjoys strong links to other groups at a regional and national level. Roland Guichard and his team sits on the organising committee for the inaugural ‘Research Software London’ workshop in February 2019, as well as being members of the UK RSE Association, soon to be the Society of Research Software Engineering.
‘We will leverage these links,’ Roland explained, ‘so as to complement, rather than compete with, related activities,’
To keep up with announcements about the events in the series, sign up to the mailing list, follow the UCL team on twitter , and be sure to check in with our events listings.
The first event takes place on Wednesday 12 December. The following speakers are confirmed for the next four months. Members of Knowledge Quarter organisations who would like to give a talk should get in touch.
- 12 December 2018, 17:00 – Dr David Wright, UCL, “EasyVVUQ: Error bars for everyone”
- 16 January 2019, 17:00 – Dr James Smithies, KCL
- 20 February 2019, 17:00 – Dr Sanaz Jabbari, UCL, “AI Studio”
- 20 March 2019, 17:00 – Dr Setrak Balian, ASI Data Science