The University of Southampton

Software Sustainability Institute awarded £6.5m to improve research software practices

Published: 27 February 2019
The Software Sustainability Institute brings together a team of experts from the universities of Southampton, Edinburgh, Manchester and Oxford.

A national research software facility that is co-directed within the University of Southampton has been awarded £6.5 million to continue strengthening software practices that underpin the UK’s world-class research.

The Software Sustainability Institute (SSI) will build upon its work helping thousands of researchers across all disciplines through the funding boost from all seven of the UK’s Research Councils.

The Institute, which brings together a team of experts from the universities of Edinburgh, Manchester, Oxford and Southampton, will focus its new phase on the creation of self-supporting communities that will facilitate the adoption of better practices and the sharing of expertise across the entire research community.

Dr Simon Hettrick, SSI Deputy Director and Co-Director of the Southampton Research Software Group, says: “Around 70% of research relies on software and its use has become near ubiquitous across all disciplines. We broke new ground when we founded the Institute and our work over the last eight years has elevated the topic of software in research so it is now a priority issue for most, if not all, research stakeholders – and we’ve achieve this feat not just in the UK but around the world.

“This next phase of funding demonstrates the rapidly growing interest in the field. It allows us, over the next five years, to scale out our successful programmes to reach an even larger audience. This means more researchers following good software practices, which gives us an important edge in an ever more competitive research environment.”

Since 2008, the SSI has built a network of over 110 Fellows, published more than 80 guides read by over 250,000 people, organised more than 180 training events for over 4,500 learners, provided support to over 60 different research projects from across all research councils, and succeeded in the creation and advocacy of the Research Software Engineer role.

The University of Southampton supports the Institute through Simon’s input as Deputy Director and the participation of four Research Software Engineers and one Community Coordinator.

The new SSI phase has been funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), the Medical Research Council (MRC), the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), and the Science and Technologies Facilities Council (STFC).

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