Research IT

New Head of Research Software Engineering Announced

We are pleased to announce that Adrian Harwood has recently been appointed Research IT’s new Head of Research Software Engineering. Adrian has worked for the University for 11 years as a researcher and lecturer in engineering, and more recently, has spent the last three and a half years establishing and running the Mobile Development Service within Research IT as a Research Software Engineer (RSE).

Adrian has worked at the University of Manchester since 2011 although he has been part of the University longer still from his time as an undergraduate. Having studied Aerospace Engineering with Management and completing his PhD in Computational Aero-Acoustics, Adrian went on to hold a number of research positions in the then School of Mechanical, Aerospace & Civil Engineering, culminating in the position of Lecturer in Virtual Engineering in 2017.

A little over a year later, Adrian traded his academic position for a RSE leadership position where he was initially responsible for managing mobile application and GPU-related RSE projects. That role evolved to see him establish and run the Mobile Development Service which continues to develop and release around ten mobile applications per year for research groups across the University, operating in accordance with Agile software engineering methodologies.

The Research Software Engineering team within Research IT has seen rapid growth since its inception in late 2014, particularly over the last few years. At present, it consists of a talented group of 37 RSEs including three Year in Industry students and seven senior RSEs responsible for managing our project portfolios. The team is responsible for working with researchers across all faculties and cultural institutions to design, build, test and maintain research software. The team handles around 50 parallel research projects at any given time and receives dozens of requests for support each month.

In his new role, Adrian will be responsible for the operational and strategic development of the team to ensure our RSEs continue to deliver a world-class service to our academic community. The Manchester RSE group plays an important role in the activities of the Society of Research Software Engineering in the UK and Adrian will continue our engagement in this forum to ensure we remain at the forefront of research software engineering nationally.

On taking up the role Adrian commented: “I’m delighted to have the opportunity to lead such a great group of people in an activity so crucial to the success of research at our institution. I very much see this role as serving not just our research community but our RSEs also and I am keen to listen to the experiences and suggestions from both sides as we seek to level-up the RSE team together going forward.

This journey for me is about building the right thing in the right way, so I look forward to engaging actively with the RSEs in the team as well as our academic community to ensure we continue to develop an RSE team that is a home for a diverse group of engineers capable of delivering world-leading software and services for our research community.”

Robert Haines, Head of Research IT said “Head of Research Software Engineering is a vitally important role in Research IT; not just for our research colleagues, but for our RSEs as well. I am very pleased that Adrian is taking up this role at such a crucial time for the RSE Team, as it expands to face the ongoing challenges of building open, sustainable and reproducible research software.”

Adrian is based in Kilburn Building Office 2 and can be contacted by email.