New project on sustainable software in the Natural & Engineering Sciences

13 Nov 2023 - 3 min

Written in collaboration with the Thematic Digital Competence Centre (TDCC) for the Natural & Engineering Sciences (NES) bottleneck projects.

In the coming months, we will see the start of the first two TDCC-NES bottleneck projects, which have just been granted funding by NWO. The projects are complementary and are both addressing the bottleneck challenge Facilitating long-term software preservation and sustainability, defined in section 5.3 of our roadmap. The shared goal of these projects is to improve the management of software created during the research process, which might include scripts, computational workflows, source code files or similar.

Enabling Best Practices for Sustainable Software in the Natural & Engineering Sciences aims to facilitate best practices among the creators and users of research software and code in the NES domain by developing domain-relevant guidance, tools, and infrastructure, and providing training and community-building activities to ensure awareness and uptake of those best practices. The project is led by the Netherlands eScience Center with the following project partners: University of Twente, 4TU.ResearchData, Delft University of Technology, University of Groningen, Royal Dutch Meteorological Institute (KNMI), Utrecht University, and Leiden University. The expected start of the project is January 2024.

The goal of the second project, Financing Sustainable Research Software, is to investigate the costs of long-term maintenance and sustainability of research software, including a cost-benefit and risk analysis focused on human resources, and to present the results and advice to the scientific community, policymakers, and funding agencies. With University of Groningen DCC in the lead, the project consortium also includes CWI – the national research institute for mathematics and computer science, and Delft University of Technology. The project is expected to start in January 2024. 

Here is how the project leaders see their projects’ scopes and goals:

Portrait of a man
Enabling Best Practices for Sustainable Software in the Natural & Engineering Sciences
“This project focuses on providing the NES domain research community (researchers, RSEs, and research support professionals) with the tools they need to develop research software in a sustainable way. We plan to do this by developing guidelines, tools, infrastructure and training necessary to follow best practices relevant to their domain. Most importantly, we aim to do this in close collaboration with the NES community.”

Carlos Martinez Ortiz, Scientific Community Manager and Project Leader, Netherlands eScience Center

Financing Sustainable Research Software
With this project we are excited to initiate the first steps to shed light on the hidden costs and benefits of sustaining research software and propose concrete policy changes to ensure its long-term viability, ultimately benefiting the scientific community and its investments.”

Burcu Beygu, Project Leader, University of Groningen DCC and eScience Center Fellow

Who are we?

The eScience Center is a research organization dedicated to applying research software to answer research questions in any scientific domain through project collaborations. It has the largest concentration of dedicated, high-level research software expertise in the Netherlands. The eScience Center also has a fellowship programme and makes all of its software and training materials openly available online. For more information about what we offer, visit