DAFNI Newsletter, April 2024


DAFNI Newsletter, April 2024

Man with glasses smiling at camera

Welcome to the DAFNI April newsletter. 

The DAFNI programme is pleased to announce that our conference theme this year is ‘Working Together for Resilient Infrastructure’, including  the sub-themes: Modelling for Resilient Infrastructure, Challenges and Opportunities to Data Sharing, and the Impact of Digital Twins. The themes represent our current funding from UKRI’s Building a Secure and Resilient World initiative, DSIT Challenges and Opportunities to Data Sharing, and project collaborations building digital twins on DAFNI. 

Our conference agenda is taking shape very well, and we will be soon sharing our keynotes and speakers, please sign up here for early bird access!

This month we’ve enjoyed attending community workshops and events, earlier in the month I presented at the Innovate UK Digital Twins Energy Grid webinar, with the aim of collaborating with the funded projects. More information on this competition can be found here. DAFNI team members attended the National Underground Asset Register (NUAR) workshop which was really interesting! This discovery project was launched by the Geospatial Commission and is looking into the benefits of increasing access to the NUAR database. In addition, our technical team members attended the VENTURA project showcase, in relation to one of our funded Centre of Excellence projects led by Dr Ana Mijic. The showcase event explored how digital tools can aid decision-making for integrated water management and planning. Our Centre of Excellence projects are in full swing and involve many upcoming events which we are looking forward to, and will share with the community. 

April has seen a number of successes, including: announcement of the Transport Sandpit project winners and our  DSIT project, confirmation of our conference theme, networking in the community, progressing the roadshow planning in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, and making progress with our DAFNI-Data Infrastructure for National Infrastructure (DINI) project. 

Dr Brian Matthews, DAFNI Programme Lead

Below: Participants at the National Underground Asset Register (NUAR) workshop in April. 

Group of people attending a workshop around a table
people looking at city

With the DAFNI programme growing, it’s exciting to see the Centre of Excellence research expand. Our newly funded transport projects join the Centre of Excellence research. Earlier this month we announced the Transport Sandpit winners, if you missed it please click here to learn more about the projects.

Next month we will be announcing the Energy Sandpit projects. This announcement will give more details on the project teams, their aims and what their research output will be on DAFNI and to the community.

All Centre of Excellence projects will be represented at the DAFNI Conference 2024, please join us to learn about BSRW project developments and outputs, in addition to learning about the new sandpit projects!

DAFNI is running a monthly lunchtime webinar series throughout 2024. Each month a different speaker is discussing their work using the DAFNI platform. The sessions run for 60 minutes: 40 minutes for the presentations and 20 minutes for questions.

Unfortunately we have had to postpone our April webinar featuring Dr Brian Matthews. We are pleased to say that we have rescheduled this webinar for October. If you have already booked onto this session, your booking has automatically been moved; if you have not yet booked, you can secure your place here. Brian will be focusing on the current issues with Data sharing, what our project is aiming to achieve and the scope of our work.  

Good news… we are delighted to announce we have secured a fantastic set of speakers for the next few months:

Please use the links below and sign up to the mailing list, we are actively updating the presenters agenda, keep an eye out on our website here

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May webinar 
Sandpit Transport projects 
Join us for an update on our 3 Sandpit Transport Projects

Fabian Steinmann, MARS

MARS (Modelling Aviation Resilience Scenarios) is a project led by Dr Fabian Steinmann from Cranfield University along with Dr Irene Moulitsas and Dr Desmond Bisandu from Cranfield University. The project seeks to explore the resilience of the UK aviation system during mass diversion events.

Qiuchen Lu, IMPACT

IMPACT is a collaboration project led by Qiuchen Lu and Tao Cheng from University College London. The team is made up of Tohid Erfani, University College London, Trung Hieu Tran, Cranfield University, Mr Xuhui Lin, University College London and Mr Xianghui Zhang, University College London. This project is looking into IMproving flood disruPted road networks with a dynAmic people-Centric digital Twins (IMPACT).

Ji-Eun Byun, ClimaTracks

ClimaTracks is a collaboration project led by Giuliano Punzo from the University of Sheffield. The team is made up of Ji-Eun Byun, University of Glasgow, Qian Fu, University of Birmingham, Tohid Erfani, University College London, Iryna Yevseyeva, De Montfort University and Konstantinos Nikolopoulos, Durham University. This project is looking into forecasting the resilience of railway networks through propagating uncertainty.


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June – Dr Francesca Pianosi

Dr Francesca Pianosi is Senior Lecturer in Water and Environmental Engineering based in the School of Civil, Aerospace and Design Engineering at the University of Bristol. Her research focuses on advancing the way mathematical modelling is used to inform decision-making under uncertainty, particularly for water resource and natural risk management. She is an international expert on uncertainty quantification and sensitivity analysis and the lead author of the open-source SAFE toolbox, which is used by thousands of scientists and practitioners worldwide to analyse the propagation of uncertainty in mathematical models (https://safetoolbox.github.io/). 

Wednesday 12th June at 12pm.

Register Here

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July – Sandpit Energy Projects

Join us for an update on our 3 Sandpit Energy Projects.

More information to follow shortly!

Wednesday 10th July at 12pm.

Register Here

August – Summer Break

SeptemberUK Collaboratorium for Research in Infrastructure and Cities (UKCRIC) 

October Dr Brian Matthews – Challenges and Barriers to Data Sharing

November – David Pritchard – Environment Agency

Banner advertising upcoming Roadshows with DAFNI logo

Coming to Northern Ireland as well as Wales and Scotland! 

Our roadshow tour has been extended to Northern Ireland, marking our first roadshow event in the region! We are making great progress with the Scotland and Wales roadshows too. Please get in touch if you are based in these locations or have relevant network contacts for us to connect with. We are planning to host the events within an academic partner’s institution, please contact info@dafni.ac.uk if this would be of interest to your University. 

The 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. 

Please note, the DAFNI programme team are in the planning stages for additional roadshow events around the UK, 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 

Our conference theme this year is ‘Working Together for Resilient Infrastructure’, including  the sub-themes: 

  • Modelling for Resilient Infrastructure
  • Challenges and Opportunities in Data Sharing
  • The Impact of Digital Twins. 

News from our central team

The Digital Twin Climate Resilience Demonstrator (CReDo) moves to a new phase

River flowing under bridge with trees surrounding

Dr Jens Jensen, Data Security Architect for DAFNI gives a snapshot into the next phase of CReDo:

In phase 1, our aim was to develop a digital twin of assets from Anglian Water, BT and UK Power Networks, and to investigate and model the cascade effects of assets across different infrastructures. 

In the second phase of work we have expanded into more sophisticated failure models around flooding, and have added the variable of extreme heat. We are also now working more with Ofgem and Ofwat – on the energy and water side. An exciting new development that STFC Hartree and DAFNI are working on currently is what we’ve named the “digital elicitation tool”. With this tool we are seeking to move expert knowledge that’s often in people’s heads, known as tacit knowledge, to become explicit. We’re seeking to capture experience and learned understanding that’s not currently part of a formal process – for example, what could be warning signs of a sub station asset failure, what circumstances could lead up to this, and what might be the likelihood of failure?

DAFNI platform features and updates

During April, the DAFNI technical team continued its work on developing the underlying software infrastructure to allow us to bring additional datasets like NOMIS onto the platform. As always, we worked on general platform maintenance (such as fixing bugs that have been identified, dependency updates, etc) alongside this feature work.

We run monthly drop-in sessions in which we will be available on an open Zoom call for 2 hours to give you 1-to-1 support with any queries that you may be having on the DAFNI platform. 

No technical question is too big or small. The next three dates for these drop-ins are: 2 – 4pm 22nd May 2024, 2 – 4pm 19th June 2024 and 2 – 4pm 17th July 2024. The link for the Zoom call is here.

DAFNI training graphic
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.

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

  • 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

DAFNI technical updates; Request an account

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

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

30th April 2024