Karthik Ram, Nic Weber, Kyle Niemeyer, and Daniel S. Katz
For many of us who develop, maintain, and use research software, the issue of software sustainability or lack thereof has been an issue near and dear to our hearts. After numerous efforts to address different aspects of this issue over the past decade, we secured funding from the National Science Foundation in 2017 to build US community around this area and architect what an ideal institute might look like. After several workshops involving the wider research community and several pilot activities, we formulated a plan for an institute.
We are now pleased to announce four new grants to officially launch the US Research Software Sustainability Institute (URSSI) as a virtual distributed institute. Three of these grants are from the Better Software for Science program of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The first of these, led by Karthik Ram, is to support the institute itself and fund a community manager role. The second grant led by Daniel S. Katz is to understand and research policies that impact research software and the people engaged in it. The last of these, led by Kyle Niemeyer, is to coordinate efforts around training researchers in modern software engineering practices. We also have a grant from the NSF’s Early-concept Grants for Exploratory Research (EAGER) program, led by Nic Weber, to understand past software efforts’ fate and develop a taxonomy of successful sustainability models.
Over the coming months, we’ll be hiring for several roles including a full-time community manager, a policy postdoctoral fellow at the University of Illinois, and a software postdoctoral fellow at the University of Washington (to be announced). By the end of fall 2022, we plan to launch various community-focused activities, which include monthly community calls, a compendious newsletter modeled after the Data Science Community Newsletter and so much more. Stay tuned!