DAFNI Newsletter, February 2024

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DAFNI Newsletter, February 2024

Man with glasses smiling at camera

Welcome to the DAFNI February newsletter. 

This month we have been super sandpit busy! We held the DAFNI Transport Sandpits and heard some excellent ideas, and our expert panel members awarded funding to three fantastic projects, all will be revealed soon! I would like to personally thank all our sandpit applicants, and panel members George Economides, Melina Kakouratou and William Powrie for making the sandpits a great experience for all. This week we kicked off the Energy Sandpits and I am looking forward to seeing new projects form and further build our research within the DAFNI Centre of Excellence.

Yesterday we held our second DAFNI webinar, which was presented by the brilliant Dr Robert Nicholls. Thank you Robert for your presentation and to all those who attended. We had a great turn out and I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. We have recorded the session, so if you did miss it, please see below for the link. Our next webinar guest is Dr Jens Jensen from the Climate Resilience demonstrator (CReDo) project, please click here to sign up!

I am delighted to announce that DAFNI roadshows will be going on tour to Wales and Scotland this year, helping to build the DAFNI community in these locations. If this is something of interest to you, please sign up to our mailing list and see below for further details

This month the DAFNI programme has seen a number of successes, including: the DAFNI technical team working hard on platform developments, the successful funding awarded for the Transport Sandpits, Energy Sandpit kick off, roadshow planning, conference agenda developing and the development of our new project ‘Challenges and opportunities to data sharing’. We are looking forward to a busy March.

Dr Brian Matthews, DAFNI Programme Lead

Stock Image. Man wearing glasses with road network in background

Successful Transport Sandpit project

The DAFNI programme is proud to announce that our expert external panel has awarded funding to three amazing projects, focusing on resilience of railways, disrupted road networks and aviation resilience. We are currently working hard with the funded teams to arrange their collaboration agreements, we hope to share full details soon.  

All projects are due to start April 2024 and will be involved in the DAFNI Conference 2024. We are planning a sandpit special newsletter giving you all more details on the projects’ aims, outputs and impact!

Energy Sandpits 

The DAFNI Energy Sandpits started on the 27th of February, with presentations scheduled for the 5th of March, and the external expert review panel will take place on the 7th of March. The DAFNI programme team are excited to get the sandpits underway as we have had some fantastic project proposal ideas submitted, and also look forward to seeing the potential collaboration amongst participants. The energy funding announcement will be released in the April newsletter, please keep an eye out!

person and laptop

DAFNI is running monthly lunchtime webinar series throughout 2024, each month a different speaker will discuss their work using the DAFNI platform. The sessions will be 60 minutes: 40 minutes for the presentations and 20 minutes for questions.

We would like to personally thank Dr Robert Nicholls for his excellent webinar talk held on Zoom and to all of you that joined and engaged in the session. Please see here for the recording and Q&A session!

Our March webinar is upcoming with Dr Jens Jensen with a talk on ‘The Climate Resilience Demonstrator (CReDo)’. This webinar sign up has had a great response so far, we would love to see you there! In this webinar you will learn more about CreDo, DAFNI’s role, project outputs and impact, failure models and computation with sensitive data! 

We are in the process of finalising April, May and June’s webinar. We have some great presenters coming up, please sign up to the mailing list to find out!

Book now for our March event:

Banner advertising upcoming Roadshows with DAFNI logo

Coming to Wales & Scotland 

DAFNI is pleased to announce we are planning two big roadshows in Wales and Scotland this year, as the DAFNI programme would like to build our networks and community in these particular areas. Our roadshows involve a DAFNI introduction and platform demonstration, followed by lightning talks from the host area on their current research, which allows all parties to explore opportunities of how we can collaborate. 

We are asking you the DAFNI community to get in touch if your university is located in Wales or Scotland or you have the relevant network contacts, as we are looking to put our plans into action. In addition we are looking for a hosting venue in each location, so please contact us on info@dafni.ac.uk 

Please note, the DAFNI programme team are in the planning stages for further roadshow events, if this is something of interest to you, please contact info@dafni.ac.uk 

DAFNI Conference 2024 with birds eye view of Birmingham and river

Book now for our 2024 DAFNI conference on the 10th of September 2024! 

We are holding early bird prices up until July 2024! From August standard prices will rise from £45 to £60, student prices will rise from £20 to £30 

News from our central team

Advertisement of webinar with date and title
DAFNI helping to safeguard UK nations against climate change risk

The DAFNI platform is a central part of the OpenCLIM project which was designed to support UK-level Climate Change Risk Assessment (CCRA) mandated by the Climate Change Act of 2008. Every five years a CCRA report is used by government to understand more about climate risks and, together with the National Adaptation Plan, to identify what infrastructure and other adaptations should be made.  

In our February webinar, Professor Robert Nicholls of University of East Anglia and the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research gave an overview of this important project. 

    OpenCLIM produced an assessment method for CCRA4 and beyond and to produce spatially explicit outputs such as maps at scale from 20 metres upwards to enhance the UK’s capability to assess climate change risks and adaptation choices.  

    Brian Matthews, DAFNI Programme Lead, explains, “DAFNI was instrumental to OpenCLIM in terms of workflow structure, data repositories and legacy, and has been a key discipline and repository for the project throughout its 3 years and into the future. 

    “The spatially explicit results in terms of detailed maps are powerful tools to show patterns of change and to engage diverse stakeholders. DAFNI now hosts the OpenCLIM legacy – a set of workflows and output datasets across 5 different sectors for consistent scenarios.”       

    This work directly affects the UK population, allowing the government to have a much better understanding of climate risks such as heat stress and drought, and how the UK can adapt to them, and to look at how interventions will affect regions and the nations as a whole.

    Click to watch the webinar

      DAFNI platform features and updates

        Our Technical Team have recently added the following features to the platform:

        • Added a “Stop Workflow” button on the “Workflow Instance” page to allow users to stop their own Workflows
        • Added a duplicate “Parameter Set” button in the “Parameter Set”  table on the “Workflow Details”  page
        • [BETA] Added the option to send users email notifications when Datasets finish ingesting


        • Updated our User Documentation to describe how to set Boolean values in yaml files
        • Updated the “Dataset Details” page to show a clearer error if there is a backend error
        • Updated the layout of the “Dataset Details” page
        • Changed the search behaviour in the Data Catalogue to no longer automatically match partial words. This can still be done using an asterisk (e.g. infra*)
        • Added a check to ensure users only have view or read permissions on assets accessed via the public group
        • Added a check to ensure default Datasets exist and the current user has access to them when using the Model’s default values
        • An error will now be returned when uploading a new Dataset Version if you do not have update permissions on the latest Version


        • Fixed a bug on the Data Catalogue page where all other filter values show as 0 when one filter is selected
        • When executing a Workflow, an error will now be shown if the Workflow is trying to use a Model that has not yet finished ingesting

        Breaking changes

        • Removed the Metadata endpoint from our Search and Discovery service, now replaced by an endpoint in the NID
          DAFNI technical training

          A great opportunity to get up to speed quickly on DAFNI and to ask our technical experts your burning questions. Highly recommended for those developing a research proposal and are thinking of including DAFNI as the platform of choice for the research.  

          Eventbrite Advertising Training

          Our regular technical training events on DAFNI are available to book via Eventbrite. Next 2024 training events (Wednesdays, 1:30pm):

          • 20 March  
          • 15 May
          • 10 July 
          • 4 September
          • 30 October 

          To attend the event you will need experience of entering code through a command line interface, for more information and to book, please visit: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/dafni-31793198351

          person and laptop

           To request your account, please go to the DAFNI website and complete the short questionnaire:

          Technical updates
          Current users! Get updates on the latest technical updates and features, visit: https://www.dafni.ac.uk/dafnilogin/
          About DAFNI

          DAFNI was originally funded by an £8 million EPSRC investment in the UK Collaboratorium for Research in Infrastructure and Cities (UKCRIC) and a £1.2m grant under EPSRC’s Resource Only Strategic Equipment. Its aim has been to become the national platform to satisfy the computational needs in support of data analysis, infrastructure modelling and visualisation, and encourage whole-system thinking for the UK’s infrastructure research needs.

          In March 2023 UKRI awarded £4m to STFC Scientific Computing to establish a national Centre of Excellence for Resilient Infrastructure Analysis, and move the Data & Analytics Facility for National Infrastructure (DAFNI) into its new phase.

          Today, the platform supports research that aims to provide the UK with a world-leading infrastructure system that is more integrated, efficient, powerful, reliable, resilient and affordable. It is enabling the community to conduct research that is able to generate new insights at a higher level of detail and accuracy than ever before.

          To find out more about DAFNI, visit: www.dafni.ac.uk​

          STFC logo
          UKCRIC logo
          EPSRC logo
          11th March 2024