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Jobs that make a difference: Advancing Research Computing Manager

Dr Steven Chapman works at the University in the role of Advancing Research Computing Manager. More on how his job is making a difference.

Dr Champan on campus
"Knowing that I’m being useful and can impart value on someone else is a really nice feeling and gives me a rich sense of gratitude."

Leading the way in research computing

Dr Chapman joined the University of Bath as a technical specialist in High Performance Computing (HPC) in 2012. He now leads the Research Computing Group, a team committed to accelerating Bath’s scientific discovery by supporting computationally and data-intensive research across the university.

I’m passionate about strengthening our research capabilities and helping the innovative research communities at Bath achieve their full potential.

When the opportunity came up at Bath, I was first attracted by its energised community and cutting-edge research, and I could see there was an opportunity to work with and to grow this community – I wanted to be part of this.

In recent years, Steven has built an eight-strong team to help researchers process and analyse large data sets, perform complex computational tasks, and to support the development of research software. His team of research software engineers (RSEs) and HPC System Developers continue to support an ever-growing number of research-active staff, across increasingly diverse projects.

Knowing that I’m being useful and can impart value on someone else is a really nice feeling and gives me a rich sense of gratitude.

I want to go out and help others. I enjoy speaking with our research community, finding out more about their research and their problems, and working with them to find the best solution.

Partnering with Microsoft

Steven is currently leading the £4.7M Nimbus cloud supercomputer build and migration project that will give the academic community access to a powerful cloud High Performance Computing (HPC) service. A resource that will speed up the scientific discovery process and allow the university to engage globally in computationally intensive research.

Our cloud-based research computing infrastructure is the first of its kind in the world.

By partnering with Microsoft, we are in-house developing HPC services that have never been done in the UK. It is an exciting user-centric development and stimulating environment that will help the university meet its strategic goals for world-leading research.

It will provide us with an agility that will enable our researchers to do more, be more adventurous and more ambitious on a global scale.

Seen as an exemplar by other universities, the supercomputing solution due to launch in August this year will offer a huge step forward for Bath’s research capabilities, giving Bath more flexibility to offer more research requirements.

With a PhD in Solar Astrophysics from the University of Central Lancashire where he studied the evolution of coronal holes on the sun, Steven has always shown a fascination with science and technology – even from an early age.

When I got my first PC, I remember being more interested in programming it than playing games on it.

Looking back at my astrophysics days I clearly enjoyed the excitement of the unknown – and even now, I love not knowing who I’ll be helping tomorrow.

Over the years, Steven has enjoyed undertaking the role of researcher and supporter of research. More recently in 2020, he completed his Master of Business Administration (MBA) at Bath which provided him with an overview of key business practices in academia including an understanding of how to present compelling, data-driven business cases and funding models.

What’s next?...

I look forward to opening up conversations with different research groups about how we can support our unique community of ideas and people that are dedicated to life-changing education and research.

More on how we support research culture at Bath

Find out more