London connected city

I am pleased to announce that our Annual DAFNI Conference has just been launched and bookings are now open. The theme of the conference is Environmental Impacts and the research happening on DAFNI. It is an in-person event at the University of Manchester’s Barnes Wallis conference venue.

At this event, we will share how the platform is supporting OpenCLIM and the recently-formed UK Centre for Greening


Brian Matthews

Finance and Investment (CGFI), as well as hear from colleagues at Manchester about the newly-funded NERC Digital Infrastructure Hub. We do hope you will join us at this third annual conference for DAFNI.

In this newsletter we also want to share with you some major changes to the platform. We now have an improved modelling capability to incorporate ‘loops and parameter changes’. These changes have been driven by DAFNI’s support for the OpenCLIM project and will benefit the community.

Dr Brian Matthews, DAFNI Project Lead


  • Book now for the DAFNI Conference 2022: Environmental Impacts 
  • Present a poster at the DAFNI Conference
  • Exhibit at the DAFNI Conference
  • News from our central team: 
    > University of Bristol portable immersive data space
    > University of Leeds building digital twins of social systems
  • DAFNI technical updates
  • DAFNI technical training dates
  • Case studies: towards a national digital twin for urban transport; and towards a DT for roads
  • UKCRIC and ISNGI conferences
  • Opportunities in the infrastructure community
  • Apply for a DAFNI account

Book now! 

DAFNI Conference, 
Tuesday 5 July 2022

Join us for DAFNI’s 2022 Conference, with the theme “Environmental Impacts”.


DAFNI has a pivotal role to play in a number of environment projects, including OpenClim and CGFI. We also want to share with you progress we are making in shaping digital twins and how the platform has provided a place for sharing data, modelling and visualisation as part of CDBB’s CReDo project.

Book your place as soon as possible to ensure you secure your seat at the conference!

In the afternoon, hear from the various research groups using DAFNI.

This is a hybrid conference; attend in person or online. There is a small charge to attend in person, to cover conference costs.  

Book now 

woman thinking

Present at the DAFNI Conference

Researchers developing their research on the DAFNI Platform are invited to apply to give a Poster Presentation.

If you’re interested in presenting a poster, email to find out more

people brainstorming

Exhibit at the DAFNI Conference

We have a small number of exhibition spaces.

If you would like to find out more and request a space, please contact Marion Samler, DAFNI Partnership Manager

News from our central team

University of Bristol: a portable immersive data space for infrastructure visualisation

In this case study, read how University of Bristol has put the DAFNI hardware funds to good use to drive engagement work with schools around Bristol, researchers across the university and, soon local councils.

University of Bristol DAFNI immersive data space

The immersive data space is being used by research groups including the Urban Vision Science Team, Jean Goulding Institute for Data Science, and the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Cyber Security.

Dr Patrick Tully explains, “A key part of our work is to generate lots of data about urban environments and the data is often difficult to display in a meaningful way without it being overwhelming.

“We are using the novel environment of the immersive space to drive engagement and encourage people to interact with the space in a more physical and interactive way than we might otherwise have done using PowerPoints projected on the wall, for example.

“We’re actively encouraging people to engage with our new equipment as well – we’d welcome approaches from other researchers within the university as well as external groups who’re interested in helping us to develop different ways of using it.”

Read the full case study here.

University of Leeds: building digital twins of social systems

This case study highlights how University of Leeds has put DAFNI hardware funds to innovative use in digital twin computer simulations, created with the hardware funded by DAFNI, to model social systems at a high resolution, both in terms of spatial scale and individual level attributes using techniques such as agent based models and microsimulation.

University of Leeds DAFNI Hardware Fund
Nik Lomax explains, “Within a digital twin which represents the social system, we can investigate hypothetical policy change by running counterfactual experiments and assess how these impact on individuals, groups and spatial areas.
“Building an augmented/ virtual reality world will help policymakers to make more informed decisions. The ability to take our research outside the university, to demonstrate the digital world to policymakers, means we will be able to better visualise scenarios and impacts.”

He adds, “We’re now able to carry out work that’s more experimental without fear of blowing the budget; and to allow researchers, especially PhD students, who may not have had access to compute because they are working on low budget projects, to move their project to a higher level.”

Read the full case study here.


DAFNI technical updates 

Latest developments on the DAFNI platform

New features added:
  • Added two new kinds of step to Workflows: parallel and sequential loop steps which allow you to loop over Workflows, varying parameters or dataslots
  • Parallel loop steps will run each iteration of the loop independently
  • Sequential loop steps will run each iteration, one after the other in order, and will pass the data between the iterations.
  • To learn more about what can be done with the new loop steps, view the user guide.
  • Added a new type of Model: Service Models, that will run for the entire length of a Workflow. This allows you to run a database alongside the other Models in your Workflow and to send Data to and from that database. For more information see the user guide.
  • Workflows can now be shared in Groups.
  • Users can now select Datasets in the Data Catalogue and create a Visualisation directly from those Datasets.
  • Added a tooltip to explain how to glob multiple data files at the same time when creating a publish / visualisation step.
…and the improvements we have added:
  • Workflow instances by status on the Workflow details page can now be sorted.
  • Time is now shown alongside version upload dates.
  • Added a tooltip to dataslots on the Model details page to show the dataslot description.

Event news

DAFNI technical training

A great opportunity to get up to speed quickly on DAFNI and to ask our technical experts your burning questions.  Our regular technical training events on DAFNI are available to book via Eventbrite.

DAFNI training graphic
  • 20th July 2022
  • 7th September 2022
  • 2nd November 2022
To attend the event you will need experience of entering code through a command line interface, for more information and to book, please visit:

Towards a national digital twin for urban transport

A case study

Under the UKCRIC spotlight is a collaboration between the UKCRIC Urban Observatories of Newcastle, Birmingham and Manchester, plus the Alan Turing Institute and the Department for Transport (DfT).

This project demonstrates the potential of a science-led digital twin approach to decarbonising transport and standardising this approach on a national scale.

Read the full story here.

street with vehicles
Road works

A digital twin for roads

How physics and data combine

UKCRIC highlights a recent webinar run by the International Road Federation in collaboration with the University of Birmingham, University of Nottingham and University of Manchester where over 200 delegates from around the world learnt how this collaboration aims to ‘create the most accurate predictions of road degradation possible’.

UKCRIC conference leaflet

UKCRIC Conference
17 May 2022

Join the UKCRIC community on 17th May for a one-day event to find out how UKCRIC’s national network of experimental facilities can support your R&D ambitions.

We are pleased to announce that Marion Samler, DAFNI’s partnership manager will be speaking about DAFNI and how it is supporting industry. She will also be highlighting DAFNI’s work integral to the Climate Resilience Demonstrator, known as CReDo. This is a pioneering project to develop, for the first time in the UK, a digital twin across key services networks to provide a practical example of how connected-data and greater access to the right information can improve climate adaptation and resilience.

Register now.

ISNGI 2022 image

ISNGI Conference

7-9 September 2022

Join the International Symposium for Next Generation Infrastructure (ISNGI) in the Netherlands.  
UKCRIC is a founder partner of the event.

ISNGI 2022 provides a platform for infrastructure systems research and practice, especially for transdisciplinary research which seeks to conceptualize, enact and model an integrative approach and make a system-of-systems view to infrastructure operational. ISNGI 2022 invites contributions from leading academics, industry leaders and government representatives.

The call for abstracts is open til 19th April.

Find out more at:

Natural Environment Research Council

Opportunities in the infrastructure community

NERC Digital Research Infrastructure Investment Board (DRIIB): membership vacancies

Are you interested in an exciting opportunity to advise on digital research infrastructure investments for environmental sciences?

NERC’s new governance group DRIIB will provide the NERC Executive with independent advice and recommendations on the strategic direction and investments associated with NERC’s digital research infrastructure portfolio.

They are seeking applicants with scientific, technical and digital infrastructure expertise from a range of disciplines, backgrounds and sectors.
For more information on the essential requirements and details of how to apply, please click here.


Apply for a DAFNI account

Would you like to apply for a DAFNI account?

We have a ‘light-weight’ application account to gain access to DAFNI. To request your account, please go to our DAFNI website.

17th May 2022