From neicext
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Steering group meeting 2017-12-05


  • 2017-12-05 09:00 - 15:00 CEST.


  • Radisson Blu SkyCity Airport Conference Arlanda Sweden (Skycity is between Terminal 4 and Terminal 5)
  • Address of the location: Pelargången 1 – S-19045 – Arlanda – Sweden – Phone +46 (8 ) 50674000
  • We have a conference room booked and lunch and coffee will be served. Eduroam WiFi is available.



  • Gerd Behrmann
  • Hans Eide
  • Lene Krøl Andersen
  • Lex Nederbragt
  • Martti Louhivuori
  • Michaela Barth
  • Radovan Bast
  • Rob Pennington (over video)
  • Rossen Apostolov
  • Stina Westman
  • Thor Wikfeldt


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

Goal of this meeting

Draft and plan the follow-up project directive.


1. Brief status of the project (information).

To get everybody on the same page (10 min).

2. NeIC project life cycle model (information).

Michaela informs us about the typical project life cycle and the milestones ahead (15 min).

3. Planning the project follow-up (discussion).

This is the core of the meeting where we discuss the follow-up based on a document draft from the project manager and the project team (see "Attachments" at the bottom of this page).

4. Carpentries perspective (discussion).

Lex can either give a brief informal presentation of the Carpentries model. We could discuss what we can learn from the Carpentries and how we can find synergies. We might place this before item 2 if we find this more practical.

5. NeIC strategy process (information).

Rob calls in over video and informs us about the strategy process (10 min, after lunch).

6. Resources and possible splitting of the project (discussion).

We can discuss a possible splitting of the project into training and infrastructure part.

7. Communication channels between project and NeIPs (discussion).

Checking about our communication channels on project needs with the NeIPs (e.g. infrastructure hosting needs)

8. Recruiting strategy (discussion).

How to recruit a diverse, motivated, and well connected team.

9. Transferral of lesson maintenance (discussion).

Planning the transferral of the lesson material.

10. Transferral of infrastructure services (discussion).

Planning the transferral of infrastructure services.


The meeting minutes have been approved Dec 19, 2017.

1. Brief status of the project

Last workshop for this year next week.

We are filling the rooms during workshops and getting requests to hold additional workshops: Kiruna, Lund, Aalto, Copenhagen.

GitLab instance currently hosted at CSC, still below 100 users, still not widely known. Now moving to DeiC after several months of getting the agreement agreed upon and signed.

Continuous Integration service: very late start, but now moving forward under Ali Syed in Copenhagen, providing also 2 powerful compute nodes in-kind plus two people working on it.

First intended pilot: ARC works if code is on our GitLab service but the plan is to make it possible to also test code that resides on

The staffing for each workshop is on a voluntary basis: 3-4 people opt in. Scaling is an issue.

Should concentrate more on teaching and developing part, not organising workshops. One workshop currently means three weeks of full work (organizing the instructors, organizing the schedule, harmonizing the schedule, booking room, announcing, email correspondence with participants, registration, catering, sending out certificates, reimbursement paperwork).

2. NeIC project life cycle model

The NeIC project life cycle was presented:

Concern from provider forum: it is very useful if a competent project manager is early on board to draft the project directive but such a person might not be available at that moment in the project development.

CodeRefinery is a small project compared to this project life cycle: with possibly too much overhead risking to suffocate the actual work: 10 people in CodeRefinery for only 2.25 FTE + stakeholders, including the coordination/administration.

3. Carpentries perspective

Lex presents the "Carpentry Model" (presentation slides attached, bottom of this page):

  • software and data carpentry will merge on January 1st -> carpentries
  • two formal organizations but an international community of volunteers
  • 2-day in-person workshops
  • emphasis on best practices
  • Helpers
  • Sticky Notes
  • Code of Conduct
  • templates for starting new lessons
  • Lessons for teachers, mentor system for new instructors
  • train-the-trainer concept
  • expectation to teach at a Carpentry workshop
  • high demand
  • ideas for library carpentry and HPC carpentry and Author carpentry
  • paid staff for administrative support

Carpentry@UiO has a local partner in the Science Library taking care of the practicalities

  • Funding to fly in teachers
  • Software Carpentry member organisation
  • long-term home for lessons

We have discussed the scope of both projects:

  • Software Carpentry for beginners
  • CodeRefinery for advanced learners

NeIC becoming a partner of the Carpentries would give access to customized instructor training, maybe also draw on administrative support, network -> first step towards a Nordic network of instructors

Interesting for CodeRefinery:

  • Access to instructor training
  • Administrative support network

Links concerning partnership with Software Carpentry:

Wilson G. Software Carpentry: lessons learned, doi: 10.12688/f1000research.3-62.v2

Decision: SG recommends: Software Carpentry should be a collaborative partner in the future, different ways of engagement should be investigated, taking NeIC strategy into account.

4. Planning the project follow-up

The attached document (bottom of this page) was discussed. This document is not in the form of a project directive but at this point it is about discussing ideas.

Splitting teaching and infrastructure services:

  • Radovan currently coordinates both.
  • Recommendation is to not create two separate projects: but structure more hierarchically: split team into two groups could be an option.
  • GitLab service and CI should be a continuous operational services, not a project, but services need an owner and needs to run somewhere.
  • Impact of teaching part is higher than infrastructure part
  • CodeRefinery2 SG still should have the responsibility to evaluate the use of the provided service.
  • SLA-bound collaborators wouldn’t have to come to project meetings

Recommendations to reduce organisational overhead:

  • Engage with Software Carpentry
  • Engage NeIC Ratatosk Training Coordinator
  • In-kind for local requests (checklist provided by CodeRefinery)
  • ask also for helpers

Coordinator (0.5 FTE?) makes sure:

  • where and when a workshop takes place
  • enough instructors for workshop
  • room
  • announcements done
  • travel reimbursement coordination
  • registrations
  • surveys: pre- and post-workshop
  • course credits? -> would need university as partner or integration into existing courses
  • certificates

The SG recommends to not worry about ECTS credits, we should give a recommendation on the certificates we hand out. try to make workshops integrate-able into other courses.

Less workshops:

  • number of workshops need to be aligned better with resources, provide a formula based on past experience, depending on helpers and administrative support.
  • Feel free to reuse the Software Carpentry ‘workshop operations’ guides:

Train-the-trainer concept:

  • Ask former participants for becoming helpers in next workshops nearby.
  • Replace one of the planned workshops with an internal workshop, implementing also all the feedback gotten.
  • Project group meetings are budgeted in the project plan.

Integration with the Carpentries:

How should we organize workshops in the next phase?

  • Combination of top-down and by requests
  • Team up with other partners closer to the researchers (libraries)
  • NeIC could provide a way to support/promote helpers as future instructors but do not make it a requirement.
  • Simplify reimbursements, make it easy for volunteers to become instructors.
  • We have discussed the challenge of reaching local contact points and reaching research communities.

CI service:

  • Goal: delivering documentation
  • NIRD Norwegian Infrastructure for Research Data is a possible platform
  • Possible usecase within Glenna2

Opt-in mailinglist is not used (meaning that people do opt-in but nobody posts).

Go online:

  • "hacky hours"
  • Screencasts
  • webinars/hangouts after workshops

Is building of a community part of the CodeRefinery agenda? The project can try to offer lightweight post-workshop mentoring without having the goal/focus on community building.

The suggestion was to add a question in a post-workshop survey (3 or 6 months after the workshop) on how people do when they get stuck compared to before they attended the workshop, to check for behavioural changes and for better tool usage.

Also an unconference type of interacting with former participants (at a bigger event), so they would be invited to ask questions and come with concrete problems was proposed.

Focus on quality instead of quantity.

Identify ambassadors, have to agree on it, though. Creation of online courses can be very time consuming and might need a lot of focus.

Focus should be on:

  • less workshops
  • super short best practice guides
  • couple of screencasts
  • slack/gitter office hours
  • train the trainer is needed to reach scaling

5. NeIC strategy process

Summary: The SG got informed about the NeIC 2017-2020 strategic planning process.

6. Resources and possible splitting of the project

This point was discussed as part of point 4.

7. Communication channels between project and NeIPs

The steering group chair reminded the SG that the group is acting as ambassadors of the projects.

In the future: NeIC XT level talking to NeIPs when sketching the collaboration agreement.

8. Recruiting strategy

Currently only male team members. This is not ideal but can be understood since the team is recruited from within national infrastructure providers with similar male/female ratio.

SG members can replace under-performing staff (even against personnel from other countries).

For follow-up project, the providers will require a wishlist of requirements. One such requirement could be that people joining the team either have to be a software/data carpentry instructor or are interested in becoming one.

Open call is possible but we need to specify that the person has to be working for NeIPs or similar institutions.

New NeIC recruiting procedure: NeIPs will have to compete for funding share and those who have the staff ready, will participate.

Shares between countries do not have to be even, competing for matching funding instead. As defined by NordForsk a project has to have at least 3 parties, with 2 of them being Nordic.

9. Transferral of lesson maintenance

Software carpentry has a procedure for contributing lessons and current lessons could be submitted with very modest technical effort since the structure is very similar.

Lex invited us to an open call with the SC executive team to discuss this issue.

10. Transferral of infrastructure services

The steering group needs a usage report, including recommendations from project manager, then steering group makes a decision and recommends to NeIC to budget or not and to renew SLA for another year or not.