Digital infrastructure is all around us, websites are hosted on servers, data is hosted in data centres and computationally intensive research is done using cluster computers. All these services are developed and maintained by a range of infrastructure professionals.
The N8 Centre of Excellence in Computationally Intensive Research (N8 CIR) is a research partnership between the 8 research intensive universities in the north of England. It has a number of themes, which have been identified as key areas of development to support CIR across the N8. One of the themes is to develop a community for infrastructure professionals.
A similar role which has seen significant development over the past 10 years is the Research Software Engineer (RSE). The Research IT team now has over 25 RSEs working on a wide range of projects across the university and there are many more RSEs embedded in research groups. The professionalisation and recognition of the RSE role continues to increase with the launch of the Society of Research Software Engineering (https://society-rse.org) and the continuing growth of community groups like the UK RSE slack channel.
We want to try and mirror this success for roles in research infrastructure with the development of the Research Infrastructure Engineer (RIE) role. We hope that by building a community for RIEs we can bring people together from across the university to share their problems and solutions, to learn new technologies and ultimately improve the support and services that RIEs can offer to researchers. We also want to work with universities and funding bodies such as UKRI (UK Research and Innovation) to increase awareness of the importance of RIEs in supporting research.
To learn more about the N8 CIR and the work they do, visit their website. If you are an infrastructure professional working at the university and you are interested in what the N8 CIR can do for you, you can email Peter to find out more. To keep up to date with all future N8 events, please subscribe to the N8 CIR newsletter.