DAFNI – Data & Analytics Facility for National Infrastructure

DAFNI – Data & Analytics Facility for National Infrastructure

The Data & Analytics Facility for National Infrastructure (DAFNI) provides world-leading infrastructure systems research capabilities to improve the efficiency, reliability, and sustainability of infrastructure through better sharing and use of data, exploitation of simulation and optimization techniques, and engagement with stakeholders through visualisation.

The most recent project, the Climate Resilience Demonstrator (CReDo) is a groundbreaking digital twin project which embodies a systems-based approach by connecting digital twins across infrastructure and services to demonstrate how connected data and greater access to the right information can improve climate adaptation and resilience.

The need for a systems-based approach is clear when we consider the potential cascade effects of extreme weather events. For example, flooding may cause the loss of power, which could then impact communications infrastructure. The initial phase of the project focuses on energy, water, and telecoms digital twins. By mapping data and creating models, the project aimed to identify the impact of extreme weather on individual infrastructure services as well as across them. The project places particular emphasis on flooding, and the CReDo scenarios offer infrastructure operators a tool to better understand the immediate and knock-on impact of extreme weather on their services. With this understanding, operators can better mitigate the impact on network performance and service delivery. Learn more about CReDo on the Digital Twin Hub.

DAFNI is now developing the Centre of Excellence for Resilient Infrastructure Analysis as part of the overarching UKRI programme ‘Building a Secure and Resilient World’ (BSRW)’, a 5-year programme which seeks to tap the UK’s research and innovation system to tackle large-scale, complex challenges for the UK.

This ushers DAFNI into its new phase. The Centre is initially funded by a £4M grant from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), awarded in Spring 2023 to the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) Scientific Computing. Outputs from the Centre will provide researchers with the capacity to advise policy makers, local councils, and private companies with the analysis and scenario-planning vital to ensure the UK is prepared for the sudden impacts of extreme floods, water and food shortages, energy failures and other challenges.

DAFNI’s high-performance computational platform will bring together research areas and disciplines needed to create more resilient cities and societies, including engineering, data sciences, environmental science, health sciences and social sciences. Researchers at the Centre of Excellence will be able to collaborate online, scale research, integrate computational models, model workflows, and deposit and share models and data with the infrastructure research community in the UK and beyond.

An initial workshop was held on 16th March and the ‘UKCRIC Discover DAFNI’ event was held on 27th March. A program of funding will be initiated on 12th April 2023 with the launch of a call for research projects to support the Centre of Excellence. Researchers and academics active in infrastructure research as well as those working in multidisciplinary areas from across the UK are invited to apply for funding from the £1.4M available. Single and multi-institution bids are welcome and the funding is split into three key areas:

  • Supporting key models in the area of resilience
  • Developing a resilience framework
  • Exploring resilience scenarios

Find out more on the DAFNI website and keep up-to-date with this new grant programme by subscribing to the DAFNI mailing list.