Software/Data Carpentry Instructor Training workshop: applications now open

15 Mar 2016
15 Mar 2016

UCT eResearch, Talarify, and NWU eResearch Initiative are pleased to announce the first South African-based Software/Data Carpentry Instructor Training workshop on 17 - 20 April 2016, hosted at the Potchefstroom Campus of North-West University.


The workshop will be led by Dr. Aleksandra Pawlik from the Software Sustainability Institute in the UK. Aleksandra have served on the boards of both Software and Data Carpentry and have run and taught at several Software and Data Carpentry workshops and Instructor Training workshops across the globe.

Over the past 18 months, six Software Carpentry workshops were run in South Africa and one Data Carpentry workshop was run in Kenya. Software and Data Carpentry offers researchers and postgraduate students access to training, open and free lesson material, and a community of practice that supports the conduct of reproducible and open research. While Software Carpentry teaches basic
lab skills for research computing, Data Carpentry aims to make research data science more efficient.

Applications are invited from researchers and postgraduate students who currently use, or would like to use the Software Carpentry tools in their day-to-day research activities, and would like to share those skills to others. The tools presented over two days in the core modules include the Linux shell, version control - git/GitHub, and either Python or R. The workshop is open to any researcher or postgraduate student from South African or African academic or research institutions. Places for applicants from non South
African organisations are limited due to funding constraints. The workshop can accommodate a maximum of 24 participants.

Ongoing support

Previously it’s been found that workshop participants find it difficult to continue using new skills learnt at workshops once they return to their home institutions, where they are often isolated and do not have the resources, infrastructure, and community to support them.

To address this issue, the workshop will form part of a 12-month programme which will provide successful applicants with ongoing support to complete their instructor training, to run their first workshop, and to establish a study group around their subject of interest at their home institution in collaboration with other community members.

The third day of the workshop will therefore focus on development of communities of practice and informal meetups to help build and share skills. Existing resources and support structures such as the Mozilla Science Lab Study Group Handbook and community calls will be demonstrated.

All of the workshop facilitators have experience with building and supporting communities and would share their experience and lessons learnt.

Support provided over the 12 months following the instructor training workshop may include mentoring and guidance, as well as access to small grants to run workshops and to support user group communities. In April 2017, the organisers aim to bring all workshop participants as well as the most active members in their study groups together at an event to debrief the year’s activities and plan the way forward. A grant to support these activities are currently under development.


To qualify for the workshop, applicants should:

  • be able to travel to Potchefstroom and be available to participate in all sessions of the workshop(all travel, accommodation, and workshop costs will be covered by the organisers);
  • co-organise and teach a Software/Data Carpentry workshop within 12 months after the instructortraining workshop and will have to submit proof that their supervisor or institution supports their application. Support will be provided by the SWC-ZA team and could include mentoring as well as financial support (budget depending);
  • apply in groups of at least two, but not more than four, to ensure at least two new instructors can team up to run their first workshop at their home institution;
  • be proficient in the use of at least two of the core Software Carpentry modules (shell, git/GitHub, R or Python) and/or Data Carpentry modules (listed under Biology Workshop Lessons: spreadsheetsOpenRefine, SQL, R/ Python) and be able to teach those topics at their first workshop;
  • demonstrate familiarity with the Software/Data Carpentry model of teaching through either prior participation in a SWC/DC workshop or through self-study of the online lesson materials, FAQs, and the Workshop Operations Guide; and
  • familiarise themselves with the new instructor training pipeline and checkout procedure.

Important information

  • Workshop dates: 17 - 20 April 2016 (the workshop will start at 17:00 on 17 April and will close by midday on 20 April)
  • Applications open: 10 March 2016
  • Applications close: 20 March 2016
  • Notification of outcome: 27 March 2016
  • Cost: All travel, accommodation, and workshop costs will be covered by sponsorship from the hosting institutions and other sponsorships
  • Instructor: Dr. Aleksandra Pawlik
  • Co-facilitators: Dr. Maia Lesosky, UCT​ and Anelda van der Walt, NWU/Talarify
  • Contact persons: Anelda van der Walt - eresearch AT nwu DOT ac DOT za
  • Offers of sponsorships: Please contact Anelda van der Walt - eresearch AT nwu DOT ac DOT za
  • Course website:
  • Course schedule: Please visit the course website for a preliminary schedule
  • Application form:
  • Current sponsors include: IT@NWU, NWU eResearch, UCT ICTS, UCT eResearch, Talarify

(Photo by Deborah Paul, iDigBio Digitization and Training Specialist, on 9-24-2015 in Kenya, at MMU, Data Carpentry Workshop, sponsored by JRS Foundation, Moore Foundation, BIS (TDWG) and iDigBio.)