UK Research and Innovation – Science and Technology Facilities Council

UK SBS DDaT19201 UKRI-STFC National Infrastructure Modelling Service

Incomplete applications

Incomplete applications
2 SME, 3 large

Completed application

Completed application
0 SME, 1 large
Important dates
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Published Thursday 22 August 2019
Deadline for asking questions Thursday 29 August 2019 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications Thursday 5 September 2019 at 11:59pm GMT


Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Summary of the work DAFNI is looking to obtain external expertise to deliver a National Infrastructure Modelling Service.

It will provide the user community with the ability to improve performance of existing models, reduce the complexity of creating models and facilitate the creation of complex system-of-systems models.
Latest start date Wednesday 23 October 2019
Expected contract length 12 months.
Location South West England
Organisation the work is for UK Research and Innovation – Science and Technology Facilities Council
Budget range Maximum total contract value £100,000.00 excluding VAT

About the work

About the work
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Why the work is being done National infrastructure systems (energy, transport, digital communications, water etc.) are undergoing a rapid change which is based upon the availability of digital data, communications, and computer power. There are opportunities 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 Data Analytics Facility for National Infrastructure (DAFNI) represents an £8 million investment from the UK Collaboratorium for Research on Infrastructure and Cities (UKCRIC) to provide world leading infrastructure systems research capabilities and enhance the quality of outputs.
Problem to be solved Following the release of a basic modelling capability we need to move towards an operational platform encompassing:

• Increased community-facing capabilities through greater functionality and a broader set of services.

• Automation of community facing services in support of reproducibility and data provenance.

• Upscaled service provision enabling more, and a wider diversity of models, larger numbers of concurrent users, proactive management of long duration workflows, etc.

• Management processes, utilities and automation in support of platform maintenance/administration.
Who the users are and what they need to do • As an academic researcher I need to invest my time in the development of new and improved mathematical models so that I can focus on the models themselves and not the technical aspects of the platform.

• As a policy maker I need to have confidence in and understand how models have been developed and what outcomes mean so that decisions are better informed.

• As an academic researcher I and my stakeholders need to visualise the output of my model simulations so that they are easier to evaluate and buy-into the results.
Early market engagement Not Applicable
Any work that’s already been done Discovery and Alpha:

A prototype Release 1 of the system has been created including NID (database), NIVS (visualisation tool), NICE (cloud), and the NIMS (Python based modelling tool).

The NIMS consists of:

1. A workflow framework and creator
2. A workflow engine
3. A model catalogue
4. A data transformation library

The high level architecture for the release 2 NIMS has been completed.
Existing team The DAFNI project consists of the STFC development team of 10 people and 4 project delivery personnel.

STFC also collaborates with a number of academic institutions for the development of the platform including: Oxford, Bristol, Newcastle, Sheffield and University College London.
Current phase Beta

Work setup

Work setup
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Address where the work will take place Rutherford Appleton Laboratory
Harwell Oxford
OX11 0QX
Working arrangements The successful supplier will provide expertise that will be embedded in the STFC-DAFNI project team in a combined remote and in-person capacity in line with evolving project requirements.

This will represent being onsite 3 day/week with remote working 2 days/week and we are happy to be flexible with those hours.

Hours would be 9-5. Travel expenses should be costed within the bid.
Security clearance Ideally the successful bidder will have BPSS 3 Years – Level A. However, this is not a mandatory requirement.

Additional information

Additional information
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Additional terms and conditions Not Applicable

Skills and experience

Buyers will use the essential and nice-to-have skills and experience to help them evaluate suppliers’ technical competence.

Skills and experience
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Essential skills and experience
  • Demonstrate your experience in creating a scalable solution - 2%
  • Demonstrate your experience in processing large scale datasets - 2%
  • Demonstrate your experience in enabling users of limited technical ability to access large scale batch processing frameworks - 2%
  • Demonstrate your experience in assisting with the creation of a modelling workflow engine - 5%
  • Demonstrate your experience supporting coupling of ETL and modelling tasks - 5%
  • Demonstrate your experience in ensuring the quality of code in the delivery of your solution - 2%
  • Demonstrate your experience in delivering a reliable and resilient solution - 2%
  • Demonstrate your experience providing an extensible solution - 2%
  • Demonstrate your experience in delivering an open source solution - 2%
  • Demonstrate your experience in utilising containerisation technologies - 2%
Nice-to-have skills and experience

How suppliers will be evaluated

How suppliers will be evaluated
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
How many suppliers to evaluate 3
Proposal criteria
  • Outline your technical solution and how this will meet the needs outlined in the specification - 15%
  • Detail how your approach and solution utilises existing open source frameworks and why this will benefit this project - 5%
  • Demonstrate your approach to enhance the service offering to users, e.g. proactive management of long duration workflows - 1.5%
  • Demonstrate how you will test the solution and how this testing will ensure a successful outcome - 2%
  • Demonstrate how you will design and develop a system that minimises reactive and planned maintenance - 1.5%
Cultural fit criteria
  • Demonstrate how you will engage with Academics within the scientific research community - 1%
  • Demonstrate how you will convey technical concepts to those of limited digital literacy - 1%
  • Demonstrate how you will ensure you share knowledge and utilise knowledge within the delivery team - 1%
  • Demonstrate how you will approach decision making and prioritisation - 1%
  • Demonstrate how you will approach mistakes in delivery to minimise ongoing impact - 1%
  • Provide details of 3 key risks and a plan for mitigating against each of them - 2.5%
  • Detail how you will create an agile dynamic team structure that ensures successful delivery throughout the life of the contract - 2.5%
  • Provide a timeline that details how you will deliver this contract through to completion and how this programme will be manged to prevent delays - 3%
  • Provide details of your disaster recovery plan and how this will be implemented in the event of outage - 3%
  • Provide details of how you will monitor and respond to service issues in a timely manner minimising delays - 1.5%
  • Detail your policies and processes to promoting ongoing quality improvement and taking advantage of technological advances - 1.5%
Payment approach Capped time and materials
Assessment methods
  • Written proposal
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

Questions asked by suppliers
Supplier question Buyer answer
1. Latest start date The commencement of the services is scheduled for 21 October 2019 in accordance with the published requirements. However, this is subject to change should there be any delays in the procurement process.
2. Procurement timeframe The anticipated procurement timeframes are as follows:

20 September 2019 – Notification of shortlisting outcome
27 September 2019 – Written proposal deadline
30 September & 1 October 2019 – Presentations
16 October 2019 – Notification of award outcome
3. Technical Competence Criteria The technical competence section included within the above requirements has been allocated 26% of the overall technical competence weighting for the shortlisting stage.

The remaining 25% for technical competence will be allocated to the assessment stage. Further information on this will be shared with shortlisted bidders.
4. Beta All outputs and relevant documents from the previous alpha phase will be shared with shortlisted bidders.

The following NIMS components to be matured and operationalised:

• NIMS Workflow Definition
• NIMS Model Repository
• NIMS Workflow Library
• NIMS Transformation Repository
• NIMS Model and Workflow Catalogue
• NIMS Workflow Execution Engine
• NIMS Workflow Creator
• NIMS Workflow Execution User Interface
• NIMS Command Line Interface

Use cases will need to be developed from user feedback on Release 1.