DAFNI Newsletter – November 2020


We are very pleased to announce that Mark Enzer OBE, Chief Technical Officer at Mott MacDonald and Digital Director at the Centre for Digital Built Britain, has joined DAFNI’s Expert Review Group. Mark is joining us to review progress on the DAFNI platform and we look forward to engaging with his work on the Information Management Framework for Digital Twins.

Once again the DAFNI team have been working hard with platform users to provide updates to the service on offer. Later in the newsletter you will see that we have had two update releases this month; one on releasing the full functionality of groups on the platform which will enable collaboration on research, sharing of datasets and managing permissions. The other will allow users to choose which datasets to use when running a model which means we can now support models with large parameter files. 

There’s only a short time to go before the release of the DAFNI Version 2 platform and we hope you will join our series of events leading up to this. A list of some of those events is also available in this newsletter and we will be keeping you updated when bookings open.


Dr Brian Matthews, Project Lead, DAFNI


  • Update on DAFNI Champions: data ontologies survey and online meeting
  • Recent DAFNI enhancements 
  • Coming soon on DAFNI 
  • FAQ: Who are DAFNI’s users, how can we work with DAFNI?
  • DAFNI events 
  • Our pick of funding & training calls

Update on DAFNI Champions 

Data ontologies survey

DAFNI’s Data Ontology Champions have released a data ontologies survey and we would like to encourage input from our community of users.

The focus of the survey is to capture how much progress there is on ontology use in infrastructure systems such as energy, transport, water, waste, and telecommunications and to share this with the wider community.

We hope to be able to share initial results of the survey at the Digital Twins and Data Ontologies event on the 2nd of December (see below).

Click here to take the survey.


Event: Digital Twins & Data Ontologies

Join us on: Weds 2 December || 930-1230


We will explore Digital Twins enabling sustainable development in infrastructure and the built environment and the role of ontologies.

Join discussions with speakers:

  • Volker Buscher, Chief Data Officer, Arup
  • John Batterbee, Technology Solutions Director, Costain Group
  • Brian Matthews, DAFNI Project lead, Science and Technology Facilities Council
  • Chris Partridge, Chief Ontologist, BORO Solutions 
  • Liz Varga, Professor of Complex Systems at UCL, Head of UCL’s Infrastructure Systems Institute, University College London


Click for full event details and booking. Book early as places are limited.

  Recent DAFNI enhancements

   Since our last newsletter, enhancements include:

   This release’s focus has been on facilitating research collaboration; the       DAFNI platform now enables the creation of work groups, in an                     enhancement known as ‘Groups for DAFNI‘. 

   These work groups allow researchers to come together and work in             common space so that they can share data and models and control             access rights. ‘Groups for DAFNI’ also facilitates creation and                         management of a group of users to enable collaboration on private             datasets. 

   Now users can create and administrate their own groups of platform           users, and data can be shared within these groups, allowing more finely       grained sharing than the previous capability. 

   Groups Administrators can:

  • Manage datasets within a group
  • Manage permission on datasets within a group
  • Manage users within a group and set appropriate roles to each user. 

DAFNI Example

This release also includes the introduction of ‘‘Datasets for Dataslots’.

This development allows model owners to specify a list of default datasets to use for each slot in their model.

Each slot loads chosen datasets to a path specified by the model owner when the model is used in a workflow. This allows users of the model to change the datasets which the model runs with when they create a workflow.

In addition, the ability to select datasets by searching the data catalogue now makes it easier to create your workflow model.

For more information check DAFNI release notes at: https://docs.secure.dafni.rl.ac.uk/docs/release-notes/release-notes/

DAFNI example

Coming soon on DAFNI

  • Model Versioning work is well underway. It will provide users with the ability to create versions of their models in the same way they can already for the datasets. 
  • NISMOD Transport, Energy Demand and Energy Supply models are now working on DAFNI in an SOS workflow. We are in the process of uploading all these models to the production platform so that users can start to make use of them. 

FAQ: Who are DAFNI’s users?


DAFNI is very multi-disciplinary. We have a core of people interested in all aspects of engineering, infrastructure and urban development, including transport, built environment.

The impact of DAFNI reaches into the interaction with the environment so as an example we are working with NERC projects on impacts of climate change; health – with Mike Batty and Juste Raimbault of UCL, for example; on socio economic impacts…

We also work with government agencies and private organisations in the UK and are starting to work with partners abroad.

If you’re a researcher, planner, modeller, policy maker, data analyst, from academia, government, industry or other, get in touch with us at: info@dafni.ac.uk

FAQ: How can we work with DAFNI?


Across the lifecycle of research, when:
✅ Exploring the subject (access & explore other data sources and models)
✅ Preparing data (organise & share data resources with a distributed research team; control access to collaborators)
✅ Developing new techniques (build, deploy and scale-up models and visualisations)
✅ Publishing results (release data, models and visualisations; allow others to explore the models)
✅ Curating results (keep results on DAFNI for future reuse, act as a legacy for research projects)

Do you have a project you’d like to discuss with us or would you like to get a user account? Contact us at info@dafni.ac.uk



DAFNI are eligible for research grants too!


Events – bookings now open!

Digital Twins and Data Ontologies

Join us on: Weds 2 December || 930-1230

Follow this link to book now


Events – save the dates! 

15th December 2020: OpenClim- Scotland and Norther Ireland @ DAFNI presents 10:00 – 12:00 Demonstration of the OpenClim research and the work to integrate models on DAFNI

15th December: DAFNI roadshow @ Imperial College 14:00 – 17:00 All welcome to see a demonstration of DAFNI and learn about potential use cases for DAFNI

18th January 2021: DAFNI hackathon @ Bristol Urban Observatory Over two weeks of development work to investigate bringing Bristol data onto DAFNI

21st January: DAFNI webinar – NISMOD on DAFNI 10:00 – 12:00 Demonstration of NISMOD workflows and visualisations on DAFNI

4th February: DAFNI roadshow @ Cranfield University 09:30 – 12:30 All welcome to see a demonstration of DAFNI and learn about potential use cases for DAFNI.

Digital Twins and Data Ontologies

Funding & training calls

  • Digital Economy Telling Tales of Engagement Competition 2020
    Deadline: 16th December at 4pm The Digital Economy (DE) Theme is running a competition designed to help capture and promote impact arising from existing DE research grants supported by one of the UKRI DE Theme partner councils: EPSRC, ESRC or AHRC.
  • Development of the Digital Security by Design software ecosystem
    Deadline: 13 January 2021 16:00 UK-registered small or medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can apply for a share of up to £1.5 million for fast-start, short-term projects.Funding is to investigate requirements for adoption of Digital Security by Design (DSbD) technologies across the software development ecosystem.
  • Strategic equipment grant – opem call
    Deadline: Proposals are welcome at any time. Grants for strategic equipment for researchers at UK higher education institutions, research council institutes, UKRI-approved independent research organisations and NHS bodies. Equipment could include cutting-edge technology that allows new research or increases the capacity and ability to carry out existing research.

Funding & training calls cont…

  • EPSRC discipline-hopping in ICT
    Deadline: Proposals are welcome at any time. Discipline-hopping grants are for researchers at UK higher education institutions, research council institutes, UKRI-approved independent research organisations and NHS bodies. You may have a background in information and communications technologies (ICT) and propose to use your research skills in a new discipline. Alternatively, you may have other expertise and wish to learn ICT research skills and apply them in your home discipline.
  • 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.
  • Cancellation of Jan/Feb 2021 Intensive Observing Period (IOP)
    A decision has been made to cancel the Clean Air Programme winter Intensive Observing Period, previously scheduled for Monday 20 January to Friday 28 February 2021. The intention is however to continue as planned with a summer community experiment from Monday 8 June to Friday 17 July 2021.
15th December 2020