University of Bristol hosts UK climate data hackathon in advance of COP26 – the CMIP6 Data Hackathon

Researchers from across the UK are coming together for a climate data hackathon this June. The hackathon is a three-day virtual event organised by the University of Bristol’s Cabot Institute and Jean Golding Institute, in association with the Met Office and universities of ExeterLeeds and UCL.


The aim of the hackathon is to produce cutting-edge research using data from the Climate Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP6), with the aim of showcasing outputs at the upcoming COP26 delegation in November, and through peer-reviewed publications. Topics rangfrom climate change to oceanography, biogeochemistry, and more. 

Dr Dann Mitchell is the Met Office Joint Chair in Climate Hazards at Bristol: I’m delighted that we have received over one hundred applications to take part in our hackathon, it is a great chance for academics to experience research on topics outside of their comfort zone. 

Teams are being led by senior academics from Bristol and the partner universities, with assistance from data science experts at the Jean Golding Institute, the central hub for data science and data-intensive research at the University of Bristol. 

The hackathon will take advantage of several online collaboration platforms, with code, visualisations and other outputs being shared openly on GitHub. Professor Kate Robson Brown, Director of the Jean Golding Institute commented: Supporting open, accessible science and best practice in research is a key part of the work of the JGIThis event opens up areas of climate research to whole new groups of researchers and I’m encouraged by its popularity. I’m pleased we are able to provide a team of data scientists to support this exciting science. 

To ensure computational resources are available to all participants, the hackathon is being hosted on JASMIN, the UK’s data analysis facility for environmental science. Poppy TownsendCommunications Manager at JASMIN has been supporting the eventJASMIN is a globally unique data analysis facility. It provides storage and compute facilities, enabling data-intensive environmental science for over 1,600 users. We are excited to be supporting a range of climate hackathons in the run up to COP26 and are pleased to see new and innovative uses of our JASMIN Notebook Service, launched in 2020. Making Python available through interactive Jupyter Notebooks helps open up data visualisation tools to a wider community, reducing barriers to scientific computing.” 

Following the theme of sharing best practice, the hackathon team have also published a wide range of resources on their website, not only for participants but also for organisers of other virtual hackathon events. These include a guide to running an online event on JASMIN, an event checklist, and template forms, emails and resourceswhich have already been accessed by other Met Office partner universities who will be conducting their own hackathons in the build-up to COP26 later this year. 

The CMIP6 Data Hackathon will take place between 2nd4th June, and although places at the event are now finalised, you can stay updated by following #cmip6hackathon for live tweets as the event progresses. You can also get involved with one of our events. Just two weeks after, the Jean Golding Institute is hosting Data Week Online 2021. Running between 14th18th June, Data Week is a week of complimentary workshops, renowned speakers and interactive events showcasing the latest in Data Science and AI. Everyone is welcome! You can register to attend a Data Week event by following the links on our website. 


About the author: James Thomas is a data scientist at the Jean Golding Institute and member of the CMIP6 Data Hackathon organising team. His research interests include energy and the environment, and he is currently working on urban analytics projects with a focus on Net Zero and reducing health and well-being inequalities. 

Social Justice and AI Workshop Placement, a blog post by Ralph Ward

My name is Ralph Ward and I am currently studying for a Masters in Anthropology at the University of Bristol. I have just completed a 4-month placement supporting the development and operation of a Social Justice and AI Workshop for the GW4 Data Science Network .

I am just about to start research for my dissertation exploring the notion of Ethnic Invisibility among diasporic Filipinos living in the United Kingdom. Being half Filipino myself, I have always been curious about my heritage. With the world becoming an increasingly transnational community, I believe that conversations about ethnic identity and heritage are incredibly important. My research interests also include museums, heritage work and conservation management. Completing this placement has allowed me to take away many new skills in IT and data population as well as developed interpersonal, time management and problem-solving skills. I am certain that these skills will assist me with the completion of my dissertation project as well as future employment prospects.

One of the main things that stood out to me when organising the workshop was the importance of teamwork, especially when it comes to planning an event online. Although  due to the COVID 19 restrictions we were not able to meet in person, the team was extremely proactive in making sure we stayed connected virtually. This was valuable and helped me feel part of the team. I am extremely grateful for the level of responsibility that was given to me during my time with JGI, right from the initial brainstorming stage.  I was involved in the background research of prospective attendees, the event planning itself and assisted in running the event on the day.

Overall, I feel that the workshop was a great success. There was a huge turnout from a range of disciplines within the GW4 network and external organisations. The workshop brought about a series of productive speed-networking sessions which gave lots of food for thought for potential collaborative ideas. The workshop was filled with a range of talks from topics like algorithmic bias in decision making, data justice in Mexico’s multiveillant society and Networking With Care: Exploring Data and AI Ethics research practices                            

I would like to thank Kate Robson Brown and Patty Holley from the Jean Golding Institute for providing the opportunity to work on such an exciting event and lastly Chiara, Elaine and Lily for being such a fantastic team to work with!

Ralph Ward


Screenshot from Social Justice and AI Workshop