The Institute's highlights from 2020 and upcoming opportunities

Posted by j.laird on 29 January 2021 - 9:30am

Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

As we approach the end of January (already!) we take a look back at some of the highlights at the Institute from last year, and some of the exciting things happening in 2021.

Reflecting on 2020

10 year anniversary

In 2020 the Software Sustainability Institute turned 10 years old! We marked the anniversary with a series of blog posts, from 10 pivotal moments in our history to our top 10 films featuring research software.

CW20 moved online at short notice

We couldn’t reflect on 2020 without mentioning the coronavirus pandemic. Our annual Collaborations Workshop was scheduled to take place on 31 March to 2 April – right when the UK was going into lockdown. This highly interactive workshop had to be moved online at three weeks’ notice, but the team managed to pull off a successful event. Read how they did it and the lessons they learned.

New guides

As online events became the standard in 2020, we produced guidance for running online training. We also released our Event Organisation Guide in December, which brings together years of our experience in organising events.


We welcomed a new cohort of Fellows who managed to adapt their plans to make the most of their Fellowship in a COVID-19 world. We also started the new, monthly Fellows Community Calls and Fellows newsletter as a means of sharing activities and opportunities taking place within the SSI Fellows' community.


The Workshop on Sustainable Software Sustainability 2019 report was published. We led on the development of this report into the state of Software Sustainability, working with DANS and the Netherlands eScience Center to coordinate input from the 40+ workshop attendees and reviews. It currently has over 1,600 views and 400+ downloads on Zenodo.

Looking forward to the year ahead

New Fellows

We are currently accepting applications for the next cohort of our Fellowship programme. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation we particularly welcome plans with online-based activities. The deadline for applications is Sunday 7 February.

First Research Software Camp

The Software Sustainability Institute will be running free, online Research Software Camps twice a year. Each Camp will run over two weeks, focusing on introducing and exploring a topic around research software through keynote talks, Q&As, workshops, guides and more.

Our first camp on the theme of Research Accessibility will take place from 22 February to 5 March. It will cover how to make research tools, techniques, datasets, software, protocols, etc. accessible and how to get new or more collaborators. Sign up to receive updates on the sessions and future Camps.


This year’s Collaborations Workshop will take place online from Tuesday 30 March to Thursday 1 April. The themes are FAIR Research Software, Diversity and Inclusion, and Software Sustainability. Registration is open and you can find out more here.

The Hidden REF

The ways in which the research impact is judged overlooks many of the people who are vital to the success of research. The hidden REF is a competition that celebrates all research outputs and recognises everyone who contributes to their creation. We started with the categories of output used by the REF and, over the course of 2020, we added suggestions from the research community for new categories that have previously been overlooked. The competition opened in December 2020 and the submission deadline is 14th May 2021, with prizes announced in June 2021.

Intermediate Research Software Engineering training

Last year the Institute began creating training materials for an Intermediate-level course in the style of Software Carpentry. It will be aimed at those who have already done a Software Carpentry course or have reached a similar skill level independently and need to expand their software engineering skills further.

A pilot will be run later this year, and will teach skills in a “team-like” learning environment that will address the challenges of developing complex research software within larger collaborations.

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