Introducing the new DAFNI immersive data space

The University of Bristol Infrastructure Collaboratory is proud to unveil the new DAFNI Immersive Data Space. Part of UKCRIC, the Bristol Collaboratory forms part of a national network of urban observatories. Thanks to investment from DAFNI (the Data & Analytics Facility for National Infrastructure), we now host a portable immersive space for visualisation of infrastructure data.

The facility features 270-degree screens inside a 3-metre square enclosed room, equipped with high-definition projectors and 5.1 surround sound. A high-powered computer allows for detailed data visualisation and 3-D models to be warped seamlessly around all sides of the space.

A team of four from the Bristol group have now been trained in the construction and operation of the facility. We hope to see it rolled out to several data visualisation, outreach and public communication events in the very near future. If you would like to know more about the DAFNI immersive data space, please contact

About the author: Dr Patrick Tully is the project manager for UKCRIC activities at the University of Bristol. He has a background in Civil Engineering and Systems Engineering and is using this experience to support both the capital elements of the UKCRIC project and developing ongoing research strategies for both SoFSI and the Bristol Infrastructure Collaboratory.

DAFNI immersive data space

Dr Anya Skatova, Bristol Turing Fellow, received the prestigious UKRI Future Leader Fellowship

Dr Anya Skatova
Dr Anya Skatova

Dr Skatova’s programme will focus on developing methods to analyse shopping data to improve population health. Digital technology opens up a new era in the understanding of human behaviour and lifestyle choices, with people’s daily activities and habits leaving ‘footprints’ in their digital records. For example, when we buy goods in supermarkets and use loyalty cards to obtain benefits (e.g., future discounts), the supermarket records our purchases and creates a representation of our habits and preferences.

Until now the use of ‘digital footprint’ data has mostly been limited to private companies to track sales of their products, and to target marketing and promotions. Changes in Data Protection law in the UK, mean the public can now access and donate their data for academic research. Shopping history data are an extremely rich source of information for population health research as it can provide granular, objective data on real world choices and behaviours.  When shopping history data are used in a privacy preserving and ethical manner, these data can be utilised for public good, benefiting health research, helping to understand how everyday behaviours and lifestyle choices impact health and social outcomes.

Dr Skatova, based in the Population Health Sciences Department at Bristol Medical School, received a Turing Fellowship and project funding that built the basis for her £1.4m UKRI Future Leader Fellowship that will link transaction data to other environmental and health records collected by the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children.

The ultimate goal of the study is to put large commercial datasets — such as shopping history data — at the service of the public healthcare through contributing to early detection of diseases, developing and testing targeted interventions, and contributing to the evidence-based healthcare and health research.

Facebook awards funding to academic partnership to research the impact of the digital economy on regional inequalities in the UK

Digital EconomyFacebook has awarded funding to a team of academics from the City-Region Economic Development Institute (City-REDI) at the University of Birmingham, the School of Geographical Sciences at the University of Bristol, and The Alan Turing Institute, to undertake data-driven research focusing on how the ongoing digital revolution affects regional economic growth and the industrial landscape, and which businesses and places reap higher benefits from digitalisation in the UK.

Digital technologies, such as the Internet of Things, enable innovation and promote economic development, creating new opportunities for industry sectors and regions. However, these technologies can also lead to significant socio-economic and geographical divides, with many areas unable to access the benefits and opportunities these technologies provide.

The research team will use novel data sources such the Internet Archive and the UK Web Archive to map the evolution of the .uk domain and the underpinning digital divides by region and time. We will complement this data with micro-data from the Business Structure Database, a live register of firms registered for VAT and/or Pay As You Earn (PAYE) in the UK, and the UK Innovation Survey to provide a comprehensive analysis of how the digital footprint varies across the UK, by sector and geography.

Lead-researcher, Professor Raquel Ortega-Argiles from the University of Birmingham, states, “The Digital Economy is now part of the fabric of people’s lives, and our reliance on it has only grown since the COVID-19 pandemic. This further highlights technology’s capacity to disrupt, either to support the levelling up agenda for regional economies, or to strengthen the divisive growth paths. This research will inform how the UK can address and rebalance these regional inequalities.”

Dr Emmanouil Tranos from the University of Bristol and The Alan Turing Institute, adds, “This academic partnership between the Universities of Birmingham and Bristol, alongside The Alan Turing Institute, strengthens our capabilities to deliver this exciting data-driven research, in order to better understand digital divides in the UK and, ultimately, to support better informed policy decision-making within the regional levelling up agenda”.

The project will:

  • Quantify the potential regional advantages associated with early engagement in the digital world for industrial and regional growth;
  • Analyse the productivity gains linked to high-intensity digital environments for business performance; and
  • Evaluate what spillover effects the digital economy also provides to the

The results will be presented to a broad audience through academic publications as well as business, public and government engagement at all levels. The results should provide a new dataset and analysis to support key policy decisions regarding future development of, and investment in, the UK’s digital economy, with a particular focus for the first time on specific regional needs to ensure a more balanced geographical distribution of productivity gains.

Further information on the Facebook award programme

Project team: Professor Raquel Ortega-Argiles, University of Birmingham; Dr Emmanouil Tranos  University of Bristol and The Alan Turing Institute; Dr Levi Wolf University of Bristol and The Alan Turing Institute; Dr Tasos Kitsos, City-REDI, and PhD Giulia Occhini University of Bristol and The Alan Turing Institute.

CHANGEMAKERS: Increasing diversity in data science careers

The CHANGEMAKERS initiative aims to break down stereotypes and highlights the excellent opportunities available to young women in technology-related careers. Last summer, over an exciting four days of skills development, inspiring seminars and industry insights, this initiative allowed teams of young women from across different schools in Bristol to come together and develop tech solutions to support social and ecological campaigns.

We are living in challenging times, many schools are dealing with budgets cuts for careers advice work. Newly created jobs are difficult to illustrate to young people because they simply didn’t exist a few years ago. Due to curriculum and budget constraints often schools aren’t able to depict the breadth of skills that students will need for the careers of the future.

We believe that universities and their partners have a duty to fill some of these educational gaps. We have a mission to reach out to students from all backgrounds, to show them that they can be part of the technological data-driven revolution, and more importantly that their voices are valued and there is a place for them at the table. This initiative aims to create a diverse talent pipeline in the tech industry by inspiring future generations, particularly females, by showing how this career path can have a positive impact on the world around them.

Dr Elena Hensinger
Data Scientist

This programme not only includes programming and project management skills training, but importantly it allows interactions with women already working in the tech industry, sharing their stories and career paths. One of the first champions of this initiative is Dr Elena Hensinger, ex Bristol alumni, who enjoys sharing her passion for Data Science, having done so with the programme participants who were able to ask and receive career advice.

The project was developed by the Jean Golding Institute, in collaboration with the Faculty of Engineering Outreach team, and a group of Bristol-based women working in the tech industry. The first event took place in July 2019 and was funded by the Alan Turing Institute. It will now become a yearly event delivered by the Faculty of Engineering Outreach team. If you are interested in participating or you would like to become a mentor please email

JGI Community Update – September

Welcome to September’s JGI Community Update

Please share with your networks and invite people to Join the JGI Community through completing our quick online form – Join the JGI Community


An explosion of data – applications and implications of a data driven society

At the end of the summer, JGI’s resident Data Scientist, Bobby Stuijfzand joined the Bristol Skeptics in the Smoke and Mirrors pub on Denmark Street, Bristol to present ‘An explosion of data – applications and implications of a data driven society’.

Our ability to generate and use data has tremendously increased in the past few years. Data is now influencing many aspects of daily life, from tailoring our internet experiences to the managing of traffic flows on smart motorways. Data is also the key driver behind major technological advances based on artificial intelligence and machine learning. Advances are expected to have major effects on society as we know it (think for example about driverless cars, electronic personal assistants and the internet of things). Data is a powerful, promising and omnipresent force in modern day society. But this however, sits quite uncomfortably with many of us. We don’t always know where and when data is being collected, what it is being used for and what we get back from it.

Bobby presented differing views on the impact of data in society and sparked lively debates amongst the crowd.

Funding opportunities

GW4 Initiator and Accelerator Fund

Deadline 31 October 2017

Initiator fund: up to £20K. Accelerator fund: £20-75K

The panel wishes to particularly encourage applications with a focus on Global Challenges Research Fund and Industrial Challenge Strategy Fund.

Jean Golding Institute (JGI) Seed corn funding

The Jean Golding Institute will be launching a seed corn funding call soon, stay tuned!

More funding opportunities

A list of current funding opportunities is available on the Research Development website. (UoB internal only)


For up to the minute events relevant to the data intensive research community please see our events page on the JGI website

Improving health through better use of data

Tuesday 19 September @ 13.00 – 16.30 Armada House, Telephone Avenue, Bristol BS1 4BQ

Bristol Health Partners and the Elizabeth Blackwell Institute are creating a new resource, a Health Data Inventory. For the first time, this will provide an easy way to understand what information is available for research in our region and where it’s held. Bristol is the first region to develop such a tool and this is your chance to define how this tool should be used.

This workshop will introduce the Health Data Inventory and pilot funding will be made available by the Elizabeth Blackwell Institute for University of Bristol researchers to develop high quality pilot projects using this data. For more information please email

Working group on data visualisation: good and bad practices

Tuesday 26 September 2017 @  13.00 – 14.00 Beacon House Seminar Room, University of Bristol, BS8 1SE

This is the first bring-your-own-lunch meeting of the University of Bristol data visualisation working group. In this meeting we will focus on good and bad practices in data visualisation.

The ‘Data visualisation’ working group is interested in representing large scale data in innovative ways: i.e. more than just a graph! There will also be time scheduled to identify the future directions and needs of the group, and we hope to get an idea of who may be willing to lead one or more sessions (but you are also more than welcome to attend if you are not comfortable/willing to lead a session).

This session will be led by Harriet Mills and Bobby Stuijfzand and we are currently collecting materials (i.e. good and bad visualisations) as input for discussion during the meeting. If you are aware of any good (or bad!) data visualisations, please do email them to

The working group is supported by the Jean Golding Institute (JGI).

Bristol Bridge: Interdisciplinary approaches and new directions in Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) research at Bristol

Wednesday 27 September 2017 @ 13.00 – 18.00 Lecture Theatre 3 and East Foyer, School of Chemistry

As you may be aware, the BristolBridge AMR network project concludes on 30 September. To mark this, there will be a final event to celebrate its achievements and those of the wider AMR research community at Bristol. AMR research is currently being undertaken in 5 of our 6 Faculties and in 12 Schools and Departments.  Many in the AMR research community also work closely with Bristol’s NHS trusts, Public Health England labs, the veterinary and farming community and increasingly with industry.

The AMR research community has much to celebrate – the University of Bristol is currently leading the UK in the number of awards (and value) from the cross-council AMR funding initiative.  They will also be looking forward to some new AMR research and training initiatives at Bristol too.

All AMR and related posters are very welcome (please note that all projects/activities that have been funded by BristolBridge are requested to present a poster, thank you). Please register. The deadline for registration is 20 September 2017.

Ada.Ada.Ada. A Theatre Production

16 October 2017 @ 11.00 The Lantern Theatre, Colston Hall, Bristol, UK

 Free tickets are for children and teachers / accompanying adults from state schools. Ada.Ada.Ada is an interactive theatre production which celebrates the work of Mathematician Ada Lovelace. The Jean Golding Institute (JGI) is sponsoring this event. The aim of the show is to inspire the next generation of technical innovators and help people, especially girls and women, to engage with technology and STEM as a career. For more details please see Ada.Ada.Ada. A Theatre production

Bristol Suspension Bridge sound wave installation

20 October 2017 @ 17.00 – 19.00 The Hub, Unit 5-6, 1 Canon’s Road, Bristol, BS1 5UH

Bristol based musicians and sound artists Yas Clarke and Lorenzo Prati have been working alongside the Jean Golding Institute and Bristol University’s Music and Engineering Departments to produce an installation which sonically represents structural data of the Clifton Suspension Bridge.

This unique installation takes the form of a robotic two-course harp resembling the Clifton Suspension Bridge in shape. The instrument will be played by two independent robotic arms, each one strumming the strings of one side of the harp in response to data harvested on the north and south side of the bridge.

This intriguing installation forms part of Digital Bristol Week and is open to the public at this Waterfront venue. Keep checking the JGI website events page for more details as they emerge.

University of Bristol Engineering Research Showcase

14 November 2017 @ 1pm – 6.30pm New Wing, Queen’s Building, University Walk, Bristol, BS8 1TR

Meet with academic and industry colleagues and explore opportunities for developing new collaborations and partnerships

For full details see Engineering Research Showcase 2017

Digital Catapult Pit Stop

27 and 28 November 2017 Digital Catapult, London

BOC is the largest provider of industrial, medical and special gases in the UK and Ireland and is part of The Linde Group. BOC is interested in identifying collaboration partners for developing solutions, as well as learning about plug and play technologies that can support discovery of customer insights. Innovators could also benefit from involvement in upcoming collaborations with BOC and other activities promoted by Digital Catapult.

The Pit Stop is a focused open innovation activity designed to accelerate the growth of new ideas. You will get the chance to explore specific challenges of BOC’s datasets and discuss potential solutions with BOC and technology and industry experts. To attend this Pit Stop please apply by 13 October 2017


Enter the new UBDC cycling data challenge to win great prizes!

The Urban Big Data Centre (UBDC) is offering voucher prizes. Entries close 1 October 2017
Download the data, develop your ideas and pitch your innovations to an expert judging panel to win the exciting new cycling Data Challenge and take home the £1,000 voucher prize.

The benefits of cycling as a mode of transport are well documented – including saving money, improving health and a cleaner environment for all. Whether you’re an academic, in business, involved in a charity, a startup or a data enthusiast the challenge is to use Strava Metro data to develop innovative solutions to answer the question, how do we get more people cycling?

This is how it works: the data will be provided and the rest is up to you! Your entry could take the form of a tool, an app, a visualisation, a linked dataset, or a new piece of software to clearly demonstrate your ideas. Following the first round of judging, selected finalists will be invited to pitch their innovations to the judging panel and an audience of event attendees at a Demo Day.

New ‘Data Sandbox’ research competition to be launched soon

The Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB), via the Rail Research UK Association (RRUKA), is to invest up to £500,000 in academic-led feasibility studies to identify data driven solutions to key network performance challenges in the rail industry in order to increase reliability, capacity and maintainability of the railway system.

Please visit the Data Sandbox webinar hub for more info and to join the discussion.

Register to attend the information and networking day on 31 October 2017 in London

Adonis: help us create the UK’s first digital twin

Bristol may soon have its own ‘digital twin’ – a first for the UK – through a new competition launched by Lord Adonis. Find out more.

User surveys

Capital Roadmap for X-ray Computed Tomography: EPSRC user survey

Open until 15 October 2017

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) have just launched the Capital Roadmap for X-ray Computed Tomography: EPSRC user survey to get a better understanding of the future needs for investment in cutting-edge and underpinning equipment that will support world-leading physical science and engineering in the UK.

An important element of these roadmaps is to understand the current equipment provision across the UK. The working group would like the help of the community to inform EPSRC’s understanding of current provision by completing this survey. The group would also like to collect views on the future challenges and technical developments in tomography required to enable new science.

UK Data Service survey

Want to improve your ability to find data and use data in your research? Then take this online survey to give the UK Data Service feedback on their current Discover search interface and give input into their next-generation data repository, which will improve your ability to explore, analyse and link data in the UK Data Service’s collection.

This survey is the first of many initiatives in their endeavour to generate a special focus on user experience for the UK Data Service. In recognition of those giving their time to respond to these questions they are offering the first 100 respondents a £20 Amazon voucher as a thank you (terms and conditions apply).

Keep in touch

We are always happy to hear from you!

Would you like your events publicised by the JGI? Do you have interesting datasets that you would like to share/promote? Have any queries or would like to get involved? Please contact us

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