We hope you enjoyed July’s edition of the DAFNI newsletter where we introduced you to our DAFNI Champions. We hope to share with you the results of the Champions’ work as it progresses in the coming months.

In this edition we are delighted to be able to tell you about the OpenClim Project where DAFNI is a partner with the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, share with you results from our recent DAFNI Roadshow events as well as provide you with the opportunity to see first hand some demonstrations of the tools that now exist on the DAFNI platform.

We have also been busy updating our website and can now share with you DAFNI documentation which includes help guides on how to use DAFNI’s platform. We will be adding more information to our website as we launch more features on DAFNI.

Dr Brian Matthews, Project Lead, DAFNI

DAFNI and OpenClim – the new open source framework for climate risks

Professor Jim Hall’s blog introduces OpenCLIM: the Open CLimate IMpacts modelling framework. This new £2m UK Climate Resilience Programme project will produce an open source framework for climate risks to the UK and ensure new science is assimilated into climate risk analysis.

It will also inform the third UK Climate Change Risk Assessment (CCRA3) and future risk assessments.

As Jim comments, “The OpenCLIM project will start by drawing together the existing models of climate risk and impacts. Much of what’s needed already exists – it just needs to be brought together in a shared and open framework. That will be achieved by OpenCLIM being developed as part of the UK Data and Analytics Facility for National Infrastructure (DAFNI) which is a national computer research platform for system simulation modelling.

“DAFNI has been developed at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Harwell alongside the JASMIN facility, which is now the computational cornerstone of much environmental data analysis in the UK.”

As well as being Chair of the DAFNI Governance Board, Jim is also Chair of the UK Climate Resilience Programme steering committee.

Read the blog here:

DAFNI virtual roadshow at University College London

On 26th June we held a virtual roadshow for University College London researchers and staff. Speakers included Brian Collins who is UKCRIC’s Deputy Convenor, Professor of Engineering Policy at UCL, and Director of the International Centre for Infrastructure Futures (ICIF); Liz Varga, Professor of Complex Systems at UCL; and Professor Michael Batty, Emeritus Professor of Planning at UCL’s Faculty of the Built Environment. They were joined by DAFNI staff including DAFNI Project Lead, Dr Brian Matthews, and DAFNI software engineers to demonstrate DAFNI’s capability and functionality.

Watch the videos at: DAFNI UCL Event webpage

DAFNI virtual roadshow at the University of Bristol

Researchers from the University of Bristol along with international collaborators attended the DAFNI virtual roadshow on 24th July to share information on their research and where they plan to use DAFNI, and to hear an overview of DAFNI from software engineers and technical leads.

We polled participants in the UCL and Bristol roadshows, to ask about the benefits DAFNI offers which they felt would most beneficial for their research, providing useful feedback for the DAFNI development team.

Watch the videos at: DAFNI Bristol Event webpage

Civil Engineering Surveyor interview

Shortly before lockdown, Professor Jim Hall, Chair of the DAFNI Governance Board, was interviewed by the editor of Civil Engineering Surveyor, the journal of the Chartered Institution of Civil Engineering Surveyors.

In the resulting article, Jim identifies how data is set to transform UK infrastructure and the journalist highlights how DAFNI has been described as “the beating heart of the National Digital Twin”.

The three-page article also discusses what CICES members can do to get involved.

Jim neatly explains DAFNI’s unique selling points: “The attractive part of DAFNI is its growing accumulation of models and workflows. You can put together datasets and execute model runs, and visualise the resulting outputs repeatably. You’ve got a workflow which you can trace right back to the original data and know exactly where your results have come from.”

Read the full article here:

 Recent DAFNI enhancements

DAFNI launches data discovery

The past few weeks since our last newsletter have seen an incredible amount of work on the platform. We have now transitioned to a new metadata schema for the data store in DAFNI and this now complies with DCAT v2 vocabulary.
The NID (National Infrastructure Datastore) is undergoing a makeover to transform its look and provide new tools that allow a user to find data more easily on DAFNI. As DAFNI seeks to expand its horizons and on-board larger and more diverse data holdings, development has focused on a new dedicated Search and Discovery service to support the exploration of those holdings.

On the new NID pages, users will be able to:

  • Filter datasets based on subject, data format and temporal range of the data – allowing them to quickly find datasets for their research.
  • Filter on the dataset’s source organisation – e.g. a University or Government department – so that data which is routinely gathered by a particular organisation can be targeted.
  • Use our redeveloped text search which has been boosted by the inclusion of keywords and the ability to re-order search results as required.

These changes are all enabled by DAFNI’s newly updated metadata schema which provides a rich foundation of information on which our search and discovery services are built.

View a Data Discovery Demo with DAFNI product lead Bethan Perkins at:

View the Modelling Service on DAFNI with DAFNI Technical Lead Tom Gowland at:


DAFNI launches docusaurus, a comprehensive library of online help guide

”How to’ and ‘Reference’ guides are now available from the DAFNI website. Both areas are being expanded over coming weeks.

The ‘How to’ section already includes useful information on how to: create a DAFNI-ready Model, how to upload a Model, and how to write a Model Definition File.

The ‘Reference’ section already includes information on areas such as such as Model Definitions, metadata, model specifications, model inputs, schemas and more.

Access the guides at:

DAFNI training, demos and hackathons

DAFNI is offering demos of the DAFNI facility to researchers.

To register your interest in these 2 hour Zoom sessions, please email


Events to watch!

New ITRC webinar series marks NISMOD’s move to DAFNI

Join us in September for “Model before you build, build, build: systems analysis of the future of national infrastructure”, a webinar brought to you by the Infrastructure Transitions Research Consortium (ITRC).

This webinar offers an introduction to NISMOD and DAFNI from Professor Jim Hall; remarks on the future of national infrastructure and systems analysis from James Richardson, Chief Economist at the National Infrastructure Commission; and Mark Enzer, CTO of Mott MacDonald & Head of CDBB’s National Digital Twin Programme.

ITRC’s National Infrastructure Systems Model (NISMOD) simulates the energy, transport, digital communications, water and waste networks of the future and is in use regionally in the UK, at UK national level, and globally. The webinar series marks a milestone in NISMOD’s journey: from September 2020 NISMOD will be hosted at DAFNI.

Additional webinars will run through September to November, exploring how infrastructure systems modelling is helping to create infrastructure that is more efficient, affordable and sustainable.

Other sessions will include:

  • Creating a sustainable Oxford-Cambridge Arc
  • Pathways to net zero energy and transport systems
  • Resilient water supplies in an uncertain future
  • Mapping the roll-out of 5G and full fibre
  • Infrastructure network resilience: analysis to pinpoint vulnerabilities and prioritise adaptation
  • Infrastructure for sustainable development: informing infrastructure investments where needs are greatest and resources are scarce.

Keep an eye on the ITRC website for dates and booking information.

Funding & training calls

  • SENSE Centre for Doctoral Training (environmental science)
  • Deadline: There is a mixer event on 25th August for academics and industry professionals to start collaborations on new projects, for studentships that start in October 2021. At these you will meet academics at Edinburgh, Leeds, NOC and BAS to form collaborations for new st Register your interest for the mixer events here, or please get in touch with Ruth Amey (SENSE Leeds Centre Manager, for any queries.
  • SENSE (Centre for Satellite Data in Environmental Science) is a new NERC funded Centre for Doctoral Training which will transform environmental science in the UK, by funding 50 PhD students and training them in Earth Observation and advanced data techniques. Students will be based at the University of Edinburgh, University of Leeds, British Antarctic Survey (BAS) or National Oceanography Centre (NOC). SENSE aims to train the next generation of technically excellent and industrially savvy scientists. All students are aligned to an industrial partner and will undertake a 3-month internship at their partner institute in their 3rd year.
  • NERC-ESRC funded Unconventional Hydrocarbons in the UK Energy System (UKUH) programme launches an Open Call
  • Deadline for expressions of interest: 16:00 on 31 August 2020
    Deadline for full applications: 16:00 on 12 October 2020
    Up to £400,000 of funding has been allocated up to build upon the existing NERC-ESRC funded Unconventional Hydrocarbons in the UK Energy System (UKUH) programme. The Open Call will fund projects that maximise the legacy and impact of the UKUH Programme; advance the integration of socio-economic and geoscience research; provide opportunities to increase the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) of the Programme and support Early Career Researchers (ECRs).
  • Secondary Data Analysis Initiative (SDAI) – open call
    Deadline: Proposals are welcome at any time.
    Funding: Funding is provided for up to 24 months with an overall limit of £300,000 (100% fEC) per grant.Funding will be available for around 12-15 proposals a year, subject to quality. This may increase with the involvement of other organisations.
    The Secondary Data Analysis Initiative aims to deliver high-quality high-impact research through utilising existing data resources created by the ESRC and other agencies in order to address some of the most pressing challenges facing society. The Initiative operates alongside ESRC’s Research Grants open call. Proposals will be considered by a Grants Assessment Panel (GAP) that has been specifically convened to consider SDAI proposals

Funding & training calls cont…

  • Preparing for Future Clean Air Challenges: Interdisciplinary research and innovation consortia
    Deadline (notification of intent): 16:00 on 3 September 2020
    Deadline (Outline Proposals): 16:00 on 15 October 2020
    Deadline (Full Proposals – INVITE ONLY): 16:00 on 25 February 2021
    UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) invites proposals for interdisciplinary research and innovation consortia under the second wave of the Strategic Priorities Fund (SPF) Clean Air Programme.
    The aim of the second wave of SPF Clean Air Programme funding is to equip the UK to proactively tackle new and emerging air quality challenges related to changing emissions and exposure patterns and health impacts on groups of people most at risk.
  • EPSRC new Fellowship announcement
    Deadline: Open call to be launched in autumn/winter 2020
    A new, more flexible fellowship scheme, ‘Open’ and ‘Open Plus’ Fellowships, will be announced by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) during autumn/winter 2020.
    Further details, including an open call for applications, will be published on the EPSRC website in the autumn/winter 2020. Researchers that currently have a Fellowship will be not be affected, and the current EPSRC fellowship call will be open until December 2020.
    Please note this is a preliminary announcement and some details may be subject to change
  • Pre-Announcement – Strategic Capital Call 2020
    Deadline: Please note all dates are indicative and subject to change.
    *NERC AO release: late August 2020
    *Full proposal submission deadline: late October 2020
    NERC will shortly be inviting proposals to its Strategic Capital Call. The Strategic Capital Call 2020 will fund strategic equipment and development of built infrastructure that creates a new research capability. Assets funded through the call will allow the research community to deliver world-class and cutting-edge environmental science, generate exciting scientific discovery and build on effective and efficient capability to sustain and enhance high quality, world-leading research.
  • Ingenious: public engagement awards​
    Deadline: Now open, closing date 4pm Monday 28 September 2020.
    Funding: From £3,000 to £30,000 is available
    Ingenious is an awards scheme for projects that engage the public with engineers and engineering while providing engineers with skills and opportunities in public engagement.The Academy’s overarching goal for 2025 is to harness the power of engineering to build a sustainable society and an inclusive economy that works for everyone.

    Clean Air: Analysis & Solutions. Advance notice of 2021 intensive observing periods
    The partners in the Clean Air programme would like to encourage community participation in a co-ordinated UK observing intensive period in 2021. The aim of this early announcement is to facilitate a mobilisation of interested communities of researchers around two pre-defined periods. It is hoped that an early signposting of these dates will allow interested parties to seek funding, coordinate field and equipment deployments and align PhD projects.
    Winter observation period: Monday 20 January to Friday 28 February 2021
    Summer observation period: Monday 8 June to Friday 17 July 2021

18th August 2020