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Apply Now for the DAFNI Sandpit Funding Programme 2024

The DAFNI webinar on 10th January 2024 presented an opportunity to learn more about the DAFNI Sandpit funding opportunity ahead of the application closing date of 19th January 2024, and to ask in-depth questions about the application, scope of work and other areas.

Click to watch the webinar recording and access the PowerPoint deck

DAFNI Project Lead, Brian Matthews, explained that the £240k sandpit programme sits within DAFNI’s Centre of Excellence which fosters multi-disciplinary research and DAFNI, as the support high performance platform, brings together research areas including engineering, data sciences, environmental science, health sciences and social sciences. The sandpit feasibility studies will examine strengthening resilience in the natural and built environment in response to short- and long-term threats – from shorter term shocks such as heat or flooding to long-term adaptations to climate or demographic change.

Brian explained, “In the programme we are looking specifically at the impact and mitigations to improve resilience using computational modelling on the DAFNI platform, whilst highlighting the challenges and solutions that arise in identifying and accessing the data to solve the infrastructure resilience questions in the areas of Transport and Energy.”

Information provided in the webinar covered areas such as:

  • What to expect at the sandpit
  • Who is on the Expert Panel and what’s expected of your pitch to them
  • Technical support that DAFNI will provide
  • What level of information and costings should be provided in the proposal form
  • What the funding can be used for
  • When funding is released

Who can apply

Applications are welcomed from UK research performing organisations eligible to accept UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) grants. There may be one university or a number of partner institutions involved in your proposal. Applications where universities are working with SME/s are eligible to apply. Applicants do not need to be current partners of DAFNI.

Proposals of particular interest are scenarios which can be transferred from one geographic region to another, can be scaled up to a national scale, or explore the interactions between different infrastructure systems and with environmental and societal features in a multidisciplinary approach.

Projects should include how to access, use, and combine data and computational models to evaluate and measure the impact of shocks, and propose appropriate responses and adaptations to further resist, absorb and recover from the shock event.

Funding available

A total fund of £240k is available, split between the projects in the two sandpits and with DAFNI funding 80% of the full economic cost. Projects are anticipated at up to £50k with DAFNI funding up to £40k or 80% of FEC.

Project areas

Examples of areas that DAFNI could fund within the sandpit programme are:


  • Modelling of transport systems to identify pinch points which cause transport system failures and to explore mitigation strategies.
  • Digital Twin of a transport system, or operational systems to consider impact of failures and potential approaches to mitigation.
  • Simulating the impact of natural and human derived shocks onto transport systems and exploring adaptation and mitigation strategies.


  • Modelling future energy security in response to global shocks in energy supply and analysing the transition risks as the economy adapts to the net zero carbon target.
  • Digital twin of an energy system to consider impact of failures resulting from unexpected events and potential approaches to mitigation.
  • Renewable energy sources – diversifying to zero carbon energy sources – modelling of energy demand and impact of climate on net zero energy sources.

For more information, watch the webinar recording or visit the application page. NB – applications close on 19th January 2024 at close of business (5pm).


If you are interested in getting involved and have any questions regarding this funding opportunity, please contact DAFNI Partnership Manager, Katie Cartmell  –

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17th January 2024