Research Software Network


RSN - Sessions for Lent Term

The Research Software Network (RSN) is organising a series of training courses, workshops, talks, code clinics and software writing retreats. This newsletter covers the various activities we are running and organising for the Lent Term (12 January 2024 – 22 March 2024)

  • Training in Version Control, Git, and the Command Line
  • Training in data analysis and plotting in Python
  • Weekly Code Clinics (Get help with your code)
  • Weekly Writing Groups (dedicated focus time)
  • Forums - Talks, Mini Workshops and sharing ideas/tools

More details on these below


We offer a variety of free-to-attend in-person training courses based on the hugely successful Carpentries courses.

This term we are offering two courses

Introduction to Version Control, Git, and

the Command Line

Date: 25/01/24

Learning the command line is one of the first and most useful steps in making your research more reproducible, or being able to run your analysis on more powerful computing infrastructure. This will allow you to automate repetitive tasks, saving time and mistakes.

If you ever find yourself with once working code which is now broken or need to go back in time to your code at a previous state, then learning git and version control will allow you to have a full revision history of your code which you can browse through and access as needed.

To sign up or for more details visit this link

Plotting and Programming in Python (2-day course)

Date: 22/02/24 and 07/03/24

If you have never used Python before and want to learn how to; have used Python but want some formal training or need to advance your knowledge; or if you have data and want to be able to plot and analyse it. This is suited to beginners and intermediate users alike.

To sign up or for more details visit this link

Research Software Forum

The Research Software Forum is a series of short talks and mini-workshops on anything related to Research Software. Talks can cover techniques researchers use, tools they have found useful, or how they use software and hardware as part of their research. These are designed to be more informal than formal training, and the talks are more of a starting point for discussions and networking.

Workshop: Fortran for Scientific Programming

Date: 24/01/24

Clio Johnson (Physics) will deliver this 2-hour introduction to Fortran. If you have never used Fortran before and want to learn how to; have used Fortran but want some formal training or need to advance your knowledge; This is aimed at beginners, but will probably be of use to intermediate users, especially if you learnt an older version of Fortran.

To sign up or for more details visit this link

Talks: February

Date: 21/02/24

Faster R code with Rust - by Nicola Rennie, Lecturer in Health Data Science

MapReader: An open software library for classifying map content at scale - by Katherine McDonough, Lecturer in Digital Humanities

To sign up or for more details visit this link

Talks: March

Date: 20/03/24

Improving Your Productivity by Ctrl-Using Alt-Keyboard Esc-Shortcuts - by Barry Rowlingson, Research Fellow (CHICAS)

Cleanliness is next to Godliness: how to tidy your Python code

automatically - by Chris Jewell, Professor in Statistics

To sign up or for more details visit this link

Code Clinics

09:30 - 11:30 - Every Tuesday during term time.

Stop wasting valuable time trying to code on your own, get help!

The RSE group are trialling weekly support sessions for the Lent term (Jan - Mar). These are run by the RSE group (which is part of the Data Science Institute). These sessions are open to any researchers at Lancaster University (Academics, Professional Services, PDRAs, and PhD students) to get help with programming problems and to get more general advice on best practices for writing code.

At each session, members of the RSE group will be on hand to advise, troubleshoot and suggest ways to improve your computational workflows.

Who are these for? If you are

  • Thinking of ways to improve your code?
  • Want to automate a task (for example, a series of scripts)?
  • Unsure of which software tools to use for your project?
  • Do you have a lot of data and need help organising, storing, accessing or visualising it?
  • Need some advice on optimising your code?
  • Want to know whether your code could run faster on multiple cores or GPUs?
  • Want to re-write your code written in one language (e.g: Excel) in another language such as Python?
  • Need help with version control?
  • Want to know more about making your code open and citable?
  • then these are for you and we can help.

To sign up or for more details visit this link

Weekly Software Writing Group

12:30-14:30 - Every Thursday during term time

Join us for dedicated time to work on your code

Following on from the success of the Software Writing Retreat we are trialling a series of 2-hour writing workshops every week until the Christmas vacation. Join us where we will provide a dedicated time and place to focus on writing software/scripts/analysis code for research.

This workshop style has proven useful and popular when it comes to grant and paper writing, so we want to use it for writing code. Each session provides focused time with accountability and encouragement. Each session will begin with a quick "stand-up" to state what you hope to achieve during the session (for example, document a function, fix a bug in your code, write code to create a plot or analyse a piece of data). We will end by having a quick review of what we managed to achieve.

An RSE (Research Software Engineer) will be there each week to provide advice and help if required.

To sign up or for more details visit this link

Join our Teams Group

Support and community don't have to exist just in these sessions. The Research Software Network is a growing community of researchers who work with research software in one form or another. We have a dedicated teams group where you can find out about new events, post about tools you have found useful, or ask for help with a coding problem.

Join the team by following this link.

About the Research Software Engineering Group

The Research Software Network was set up and is supported by the Researcher Software Engineering Group Based within the Data Science Institute, the Research Software Engineering Group aims to support the creation of reproducible and replicable research by improving the reusability, sustainability and quality of research software developed across the University. The N8CIR currently funds the RSE Group, and we work closely with our partner institutions across N8CIR.

If you have any questions about any of the events, would like to help with them, give a talk, or need help with your code, then please contact us. Our email address is

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