17/07/2019 @ 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
IT Services, Birmingham
Elms Road
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Un-conference Conference: How to support and develop the ‘technical community’


This is a concept workshop to look at what it will take to attract the ‘next generation of technical service engineers’ – be it system administrators, system engineers, or dev/res ops. This indicates part of the problem in that we cannot even get a standard definition of the job never mind the issues in terms of attracting the next generation interested in the challenge of running and developing supercomputing/research computing facilities!


The aim is to provide a forum for existing UK technical leads to gather and be able to discuss any topic that they are interested in (with a technical theme associated, not necessarily whether the latest series of Game of Thrones needs re-writing!). However, the attendees will steer the event regarding the actual content and the topics rather than the organisers.


We are hoping that as a pilot you will be in a position to identify whether these events are useful. If so, providing insight regarding how to attract participation (in the same way the RSE networks have now become more established) and create a community that will benefit everyone in terms of developing their services to support the various communities, raising the awareness of the diversity of the roles within the sector and how we can look at providing the necessary incentives to attract the next generation into this arena.


Provisional topics could include challenges facing research computing delivery (diversity of what is now expected to be available with the recent Cloud/Big Data/AI explosion); requirements for training / certifications; career opportunities (how to be recognised without having to enter the realms of management); data management/security; team development etc. These are deliberately unstructured to allow ideas and creativity to flow. To start with we might suggest a few topics and possibly get a facilitator/speaker to start the ball rolling, but this is optional – we’d welcome your advice in advance of the session.


At the moment this invitation is primarily to academic sites, but we realise to be truly representative it should also have industry and vendor engagement. But we would like the attendees to suggest formats etc. that would be beneficial. 


We hope that you would like to be involved in this inaugural pilot and can spare a day to kick around a few ideas with like minded professionals to see whether there is any mileage in these events to develop the technical community.


Note that the registration link requires a password which is transform.