For grant applicants

Warning

Grant applicants, if you are planning to use Aalto Research Software Engineers service, feel free to contact us at rse-group at aalto.fi, or fill out our request form.

This page is currently (2020-03) a draft for feedback. Please send corrections to the person that send this page to you, or rse-group at aalto.fi

If you’ve decided you would like to use the research software engineer services in your project for a long period, you might want to write it directly into your grant proposals. First off, your research will be better because you can you can assign porting/optimizing/scaling of codes, data management and open science, automation, and so on for the RSEs, while concentrating the main project resources on the actual research question. Second, it may make your proposal more attractive.

How it works

Short-term services are funded by various departments and schools and free to projects (part of the “research environment” services). Longer term service should be funded by projects - either an external grant or basic group fund. There are two ways to write this into a project proposal:

  • As a purchased service, like usage of different infrastructures. This is flexible, but there is a limit of how much you can include in a grant. Note that indirect costs and overheads by the research site are not included, so these prices appear higher to cover that.

  • As a research salary, just like other salaries on your project. This has fewer limits, but is less flexible (you get one person for a designated time period).

General grant considerations

You can find general boilerplate text to include in your proposals Boilerplate text for grant proposals, but you can read below to build it in even more.

Data Management / Open Science are big deals among some funders right now, and research engineers are perfect for helping with these things because they are experts in the associated technical challenges. The RSE service can help in the societal impact sections: your outputs will be more ready to be reused by society. You could, for example, promise deliver more types of outputs that aren’t exactly novel science but help society to use your results (e.g. databases, interactive visualisations, etc.).

Make sure you mention the general Science-IT infrastructure in the “research environment” section, i.e., the basic service provided by Aalto. You can copy something from the boilerplate text (first link in this section).

Academy of Finland

This applies to most general research grants, from the general terms and conditions. Funding may be used to cover costs related to the research plan or action plan. The research site must fund basic project facilities - which is the case at Aalto for basic RSE services.

Interesting terms from the Academy: it urges research data and methods to be freely available. 6.2.2: “Research data and material produced with Academy funding in research projects and research infrastructure projects must be made freely available as soon as possible after the research results have been published.”

  • As a service purchase:

    • The research site should provide “basic project facilities”, which Aalto does. Justify the extra purchase as beyond the basics.

    • Please see LINK for our general costs, and how many person-months you can get for a given price. Since estimating the amount of effort needed is difficult, contact us and we can help you prepare an estimate.

    • Maximum amount: We recommend you include no more than XXXXX as a service purchase. Please see LINK (login required) for our prices, when paid via external funding.

    • Justification for funding (include in proposal): “Technical specialist work to ensure scientific and societal impact outputs follow best practices in software development and research data management practices, so that they can be of greatest possible benefit to society.”

    • Flexibility: we will internally invoice in a way compliant with Academy guidelines, and can adjust our service based on the time period you need. You don’t have to decide the time period in advance (only follow your submitted budget), and different RSEs can work on different parts of the problem, so you always have the best person for the job.

  • As a RSE salary:

    • “Salaries, fees and indirect employee costs” may be included in Academy projects. These may go to research software engineers, which to the academy appear equivalent to “normal” researchers. The RSEs are researchers.

    • Write in a Research Software Engineer as a salary for a set number of months. You may specify a name as N.N., or contact us for a name to include. We do not promise any one person at any one time, but we will work with you as much as possible. See LINK for costs per person. You can also contact us to discuss how much effort you may need.

    • The RSE and timeframe will be set at the beginning of the grant. It is possible to adjust later, but requires a significant amount of coordination between different services (thus the preference for the service purchase based approach).

    • Note that “We recommend that they be hired for a period of employment no shorter than the funding period, unless a shorter contract is necessary for special reasons dictated by the implementation of the research plan or action plan (or equivalent). Short-term research, studies or other assignments may also be carried out in the form of outsourced services.” So, consider the balance of this and purchased services.

European Commission grants

TODO