DAFNI logo

DAFNI Newsletter, January 2024

Man with glasses smiling at camera

Happy new year to our DAFNI Community. 2024 holds exciting prospects for the DAFNI programme!

I am pleased to announce that this year’s DAFNI Conference will be held at Aston University, located in Birmingham, on the 10th of September 2024. We will shortly be releasing the conference theme and speaker details! Please click here to register for an early bird ticket.
This month has seen the successful launch of our first DAFNI Webinar Series, the first of which focused on the DAFNI Sandpit events! Thank you to all of you who came to the event and have since watched online.

We are delighted to confirm Dr Robert Nicholls from the University of East Anglia will be presenting at our next webinar, which is on the 28th of February.

Robert will be speaking on the Open Climate Impact Modelling framework (OpenCLIM), which is about developing methods for integrated assessment to support National and Sub National Policy Analysis on climate change risks and adaptation using the DAFNI platform. If you are interested in finding out more, please register here.

Next month we are hosting our first DAFNI Strategy Board meeting. We are looking forward to discussing DAFNI’s short and long term strategy, goals and vision. We would like to once again thank our Strategy Board members for their commitment and support.

Lastly, I can confirm the DAFNI Sandpits deadline closed on the 19th of January. We are currently reviewing applications and looking forward to seeing what collaboration and projects emerge from the Transport and Energy sandpits. Watch this space!

Dr Brian Matthews, DAFNI Programme Lead

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 

Stock Image. Man wearing glasses with road network in background

The application deadline for the sandpits closed on 19th of January 2024. The Transport and Energy Sandpits run throughout the months of February and March, after which we will be able to announce the funding outcome. We are expecting to fund 3 projects in each focus area.

  • Projects from the Transport sandpit will be expected to start on the 1st of April 2024 and finish before the 31st of March 2025. 
  • Projects from the Energy sandpit will be expected to start 1st of May 2024 and finish before the 31st of March 2025.

More information is available through the DAFNI website.

Table showing dates for sandpit event
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 one hour, with 40 minutes for the presentations and 20 minutes for questions. 

Book now for our February and March events:

  • 28 February 2024 – Dr Robert Nicholls with a talk on ‘OpenCLIM: Open CLimate Impacts Modelling framework’
  • 27 March 2024 – Dr Jens Jensen with a talk on ‘The Climate Resilience Demonstrator’
  • April 2024 onwards to be revealed…

News from our central team

UCL, a cargo ship in the sea
DAFNI contributing to the Circular Economy in Construction

The DAFNI platform is enabling UCL to address big questions such as maritime decarbonisation, as well as to drill down into details such as how modifying the way waste materials are distributed could potentially reduce the number of truck journeys required, leading to less trucks on roads, less damage and maintenance required to roads, and ultimately less need for construction materials.

Dr Evangelia Manola, Research Fellow in the UCL Department of Civil, Environmental & Geomatic Engineering, explains

    One example of our research in the eco-design of technical characterisation of mineral-based construction materials with a focus on transport infrastructure projects is the Maritime Shipping Model we developed. 

    “In order to create it as a Digital Twin, we used the DAFNI platform and worked with the DAFNI team to hone in on what sort of programming languages to use and how to set up the model so that it can be adjusted to the DAFNI platform.
    “The model now runs 6 times a day on the DAFNI platform, it uses a specific API which draws data from a website into the DAFNI platform and the Maritime Shipping Model. Without the DAFNI platform we could not have set the model up as a Digital Twin and would not have got automatic runs and outputs.”                           

    Click to read the full blog

      New DAFNI platform features and updates

        Our Technical Team have added the following new 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:

        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:
        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:​

        STFC logo
        UKCRIC logo
        EPSRC logo


        Rutherford Appleton Laboratory



        OX11 0QX



        Twitter logo
        Youtube icon
        31st January 2024