As we noted last week, we now have guidance for proposals for the next phase of ASCR-supported software stewardship that began with the “seedlings” back in April 2023. Both the budget and scope for COLABS has been narrowed tremendously from what we originally envisioned in our seedling proposal. We still think the DOE needs a comprehensive scientific software stewardship organization along the lines that we originally designed, and we still hope to eventually be able to build such an organization, we’re having to significant re-think the initial version of COLABS.

As part of a set of “interlocking proposals”, we’ve been assigned the following tasks to focus on:

  • Workforce development,
  • Training and best practices, and
  • Coordination for the community of Research Software Engineers across the DOE Laboratory Complex,

on a shoestring budget. Notably, at this point, we’re not going to actually be providing stewardship support to any projects in the ASCR constituency.

Although we just expanded our team to cover the eight core DOE computing labs, based on this guidance, we’ve had to retrench to a much smaller team at only the three original COLABS institutions: ANL, LBNL, and ORNL. Though, happily, all of our new team members and their institutions remain very supportive of the COLABS vision, and they’re hoping to be able to collaborate with us in the near term, and re-join as we’re able to start building towards our original vision.

And due to budget limitations, we’re now thinking more about ways we can work collaboratively and leverage in-kind partnerships to accomplish our goals. This will include working with both the other NGSST stewardship organizations and outside projects and organizations.

We’ll post further details as our thinking evolves and matures, but if you’d like to talk to us about needs or perhaps about finding ways we can collaborate, please don’t hesitate to reach out!