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Steering group video meeting 2017-09-01


  • 2017-09-01 10:00 - 12:00 CEST.


Video meeting using Google Hangouts - link is shared 60 minutes prior to the meeting via email with all participants.



  • Gerd Behrmann
  • Hans Eide
  • Lene Krøl Andersen
  • Radovan Bast
  • Thor Wikfeldt
  • Michaela Barth
  • Rossen Apostolov
  • Martti Louhivuori


Everybody who was invited was present.

Goal of this meeting

Prepare a mid-term report and recommendation for the future of this project which will be included to the NeIC board meeting agenda by September 11, 2017.


1. Status report by project manager (information).

Informs the steering group about developments since the last meeting.

2. Involvement from the project partners (information).

Project manager presents numbers for the hours/days/percentages spent by the project parners.

3. Mid-term report presentation dry run (information and discussion).

Draft in form of slides is presented to the steering group: The steering group will have until September 11 time to give feedback.

4. Project follow-up (decision).

Discuss needs and opportunities for a potential follow up project. The steering group is expected to provide input whether a follow-up of this project is recommended. As a result of this discussion point we should be able to recommend to the NeIC board a continuation (or discontinuation) of the project in form of a follow-up and give recommendation for modifications in scope and/or staffing. Please prepare such input for this point.

5. Decision points checklist (information).

The decision point checklist is presented to the steering group:

6. Transferal of GitLab/CI (information).

Information about plans to transfer the GitLab and CI services to DeIC infrastructure.

7. EuSSI proposal (information and discussion).

The EuSSI proposal has been rejected (File:EuSSI-evaluation-summary-report.pdf). We can discuss the outcome and future involvement in similar proposals.

8. Next physical meeting (discussion).

Arlanda, entire day. Set date and collect agenda points.

9. Self assessment of the steering group and the meeting format (discussion, repeating point, will be a fixed part of the agenda).

Is the meeting format useful? What can be improved in the meeting pre- and post-processing?


These meeting minutes are approved by the meeting participants.

1. Status report by project manager (information)

2. Involvement from the project partners (information)

Generally well on track. PM needs to better integrate Sabry (Sigma2) into the project. DeIC contribution seems back on track. CSC and SNIC contribution on track.

3. Mid-term report presentation dry run (information and discussion)

  • Presentation and discussion at board meeting: 30 minutes altogether which means that the number of slides needs to be reduced.
  • Suggestion for workshop feedback: Also include some sort of scale 1-10 to get a number in addition to the explicit feedback. In addition of asking for the overall rating for the course we can ask for two ratings per session: How well was a session given? How useful was a certain topic? This increases the survey size but provides interesting data.
  • Discussion point for NeIC board: challenge in developing competences along with providing services.
  • Suggestion: We should find out how people found out about workshops.
  • Metrics on activity missing (also private vs public).
  • In the presentation it is unclear what happened to the best practice guides.
  • We need to update project plan: add additional workshops/meetings and adjust progress.
  • Suggestion: Link to relevant best practice guides if available, do not rewrite something that is available.
  • Suggestion: We need to obtain and present data on how many projects are private and how many public on established platforms.

4. Project follow-up (decision)

Generally a follow-up is recommended but several possible paths exist. The project can develop in many different directions and it is good to be ambitious but also important to focus and restrict the mandate. Detailed recommendations need to be provided at a later stage.

The steering group recommends to split the project into a training part and a infrastructure part. This can increase focus, allow to accommodate the infrastructure part within another NeIC project and to allow different time-scales for both parts. In particular the services require a long-term perspective in order to convince research groups to get on board.

Both broadening and slimming options are possible. In the more big-picture suggestion, the follow-up project could interlink with other projects and provide a vision for software sharing interlinked with FAIR initiatives. Longer-term vision and ambition would be needed, and longer than 2 years. The ambition would be to have this as a Nordic platform engaging in an European platform. The big-picture goal would present the opportunity to build up a network of technical expertise. We could provide an identifiable ambassador, similar to SWC ambassadors.

On the other hand a follow-up project could also continue as a more lightweight continuation of the current project with workshops regularly updated and repeated and developing a long-term operational plan for the services provided or embrace also further opportunities and directions in which to develop.

Such opportunities would include:

  • Common service together with SC and SSI with geographically mapping of which trainers could give which courses
  • Developing a more medium level for the advanced beginner to fill the gap between SC courses (how to properly use a computer) and the current (high-level) CodeRefinery courses. (ties in with setting the right expectations for each workshop)
  • Proper certification routines for trainers in all Nordic countries.
  • Establishing and strengthen the career paths of dedicated Research Software Engineers (RSEs) by combining them in autark groups similar to the recent UK efforts and first successes in order to keep working for research (and not wandering off to industry) more attractive also for the best of them.
  • More dedicated research portals.
  • Closer collaboration with some picked pilot use cases and follow them closer?
  • More discipline-specific targeted workshops + acting on requests (develop a procedure for that)

An important project goal is to establish sustainable service (GitLab and CI) that survive the project finishing line and before we think big we need to make sure that what we have built up becomes sustainable.

The steering group sees a stronger need for teaching and courses compared to the services. Teaching activity should be the core mission. Increased focus on train-the-trainers, maybe even with a certification to motivate people.

In developing follow-up plans we should focus on the core mission to promote best practices of coding in sciences. Services can be part of another project and is a supportive action for the project. Currently the reach of courses is limited and we need to consider how to engage the community in a larger sense. All activities should focus on promoting best practices. Possibilities for projects: MOOCs or improve material so that volunteers can take it up and use it. Project member could attend the project as mentor without actually giving the workshop.

5. Decision points checklist (information)

This point was not discussed within the allocated time.

6. Transferal of GitLab/CI (information)

This point was not discussed within the allocated time.

7. EuSSI proposal (information and discussion)

The EuSSI proposal has been rejected (

This point was not discussed within the allocated time.

8. Next physical meeting (discussion)

Action point: Radovan will send out a Doodle for a meeting in Arlanda, November.

9. Self assessment of the steering group and the meeting format (discussion, repeating point, will be a fixed part of the agenda)

This point was not discussed within the allocated time.