Exploring the opportunities & challenges of responsible research in a shifting world

Another New Zealand Research Software Engineering (NZ RSE) Conference has come to a close, gathering a diverse community to share learnings, challenges and aspirations around writing code and developing applications that enable research. 

The theme this year was Responsible Research in a Shifting World: Balancing Opportunities and Challenges, touching on areas like sustainability, reproducibility and ethics. Running over two days as an online programme, attendees tuned in from New Zealand universities, Crown Research Institutes, and National Science Challenges, and included researchers, software engineers, computational scientists and others who apply or develop software solutions to research problems. 

"It was great to see familiar faces and some new ones," said Nooriyah Lohani, NeSI Research Communities Advisor, co-Chair of the RSE-AUNZ Steering Committee, and member of the NZRSE Conference Organising Committee. "We had an amazing line up of talks discussing various facets of responsible research, which spanned across topics like ethical computing, secure computing environments, FAIR and CARE data principles, supporting best practice, and capability building."

The theme also played through each day's keynotes – Professor Gillian Dobbie (Waipapa Taumata Rau University of Auckland) and Professor Bing Xue (Victoria University of Wellington) – who explored ethical considerations in using large language models, use of AI in software development, and key considerations of responsible research.

Across the presentations we saw innovative applications of: 

  • deep learning in real world applications, 
  • workflow languages to make software reproducible, 
  • importance of good documentation and transferring key software skills
  • DevOps approaches for building research platforms
  • sustainability in advanced research computing
  • work undertaken to lobby senior stakeholders to drive change 

Screenshots of some of the presenters at the NZRSE 2023 conference.
Screenshots from some of the presenters at NZRSE 2023.


The final day finished with an update and community discussion on some of the work happening internationally to raise the profile of research software.

Recordings of the talks can be viewed on NeSI's YouTube Channel.


Thank you - Nga mihi nui

Thank you to everyone who presented, attended, and helped bring the event to life.

In particular, our 2023 Organising Committee was engaged and passionate about making this event open, inclusive, and a valuable learning opportunity for the research sector as a whole. The committee included:

  • Nickylee Anderson - Events and Conference Planner, University of Auckland

  • Johanna Bayer - Research Fellow, University of Melbourne; and Steering Committee Member, RSE-AUNZ

  • Murray Cadzow - Programmer Scientific, Research & Teaching IT Support, University of Otago

  • Nisha Ghatak - Research Communities Advisor - Training Lead, NeSI

  • Charles Hefer - Senior Bioinformatician, AgResearch

  • Eryn Kwon - Senior Research Fellow, Mātai Medical Research Institute

  • Nooriyah Lohani - Research Communities Advisor, NeSI; and Steering Committee Co-Chair, RSE-AUNZ

  • Brent Martin - Senior Data Scientist, Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research

  • Janet Stacey - Digital Sciences Engineer, Institute of Environmental Science and Research (ESR); and Steering Committee Member, RSE-AUNZ

Where to take conversations from here

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We hope to see you soon and also see you next year at our 2024 conference!