Save the date: Data Science in the Natural Environment Spring School 2024

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Following the success of the Data Science in the Natural Environment Autumn School 2022, we are pleased to announce the Data Science in the Natural Environment Spring School 2024, which will be held 12th-14th  March 2024 at Lancaster Conference Centre.


It will give scientists from a range of disciplines the opportunity to immerse themselves in seminars, discussions and practical data-lab sessions.


During the event you will:

  • Discuss the data science pipeline and it's application in the environmental sector.
  • Dig deeper into all aspects of the pipeline, from setting objectives to data collection and wrangling, through modelling tools and software, to communicating results and products to end-user outputs.
  • Gain direct experience of using virtual labs to help promote transparent and open science at all stages of the environmental data science pipeline.
  • Have the opportunity to learn about the journey from data to decision inspired by experiences of DSNE project members.
  • Obtain hands-on team-based experience on how to use the environmental data science pipeline to harness the power of data to answer some of environmental sciences grand challenges.  

Whilst many of the activities will be team- or discussion-based, there is no need to attend as part of a team! You will need to bring a personal device (ideally a laptop) through which you will be able to access the virtual lab environment in which the practical sessions take place. If you are unable to do this, please let us know as we may have some spare devices which you will be able to use during the relevant sessions. 


The cost to attend the school will be approximately £90, which will provide morning and afternoon refreshments, as well as lunch on all three days. 


To register please follow this link - Data Science in the Natural Environment Spring School 2024 - Lancaster ( Registration closes on 27th February. 


Further queries, either before or after registration, should be sent to



Tuesday 12 Mar 

09.30-10.00: Arrival and coffee 

10.00-10.30: Talk: Introduction to data science led by Prof Gordon Blair and Dr Mike Hollaway with contributions from UKCEH and LU researchers.  

10.30-11.00: DataLabs introduction and demo (Dr Michael Tso) 

11.00-11.30: Coffee break 

11.30-12.30: Lightning talks I: Data Science in the Natural Environment work highlight 

12.30-13.30: Lunch and Virtual Labs clinic 

13.30-14.30: Rotation of 3 small group discussion sessions: 

  • panel on data wrangling (Dr Lily Gouldsbrough) 

  • Why do you want to build a pipeline? (Dr Faiza Samreen) 

  • Visualisations and communication (Dr Kate Wright) 

15.00-15.30: Coffee break 

15.30-17.00: Pipelines tutorial using {targets} (Dr Simon Rolph an Dr Pete Levy) 

17.00-17.30: Summary of Day 1. Intro to electives. 

Evening: Early Career researcher event  


Wednesday 13 Mar 

The day will consist of 4x 90-minute parallel session time blocks on electives. Each elective will run once or twice. Participants opt to attend only one during each block. The timings will be finalized. 

  • Spatial Statistics (Dr Peter Henrys),  

  • Extreme Value Analysis (Dr Dan Clarkson) 

  • Change points (Prof Rebecca Killick) 

  • Machine Learning (Dr Ce Zhang) 

  • Interactive web applications with Shiny (Dr Audric Vigier) 

  • Data wrangling and using data APIs (application programming interfaces) 

  • Data integration 

  • AI coding tools (e.g. GitHub co-pilot, codium) 

Data Science Helpdesk: Feel free to bring a problem you are working on and use the slots to chat with one of the organizers or instructors. 

09.00-09.15: Arrival and coffee + Breakout discussions to revisit Day 1 

09.30-11.00: Workshop I: 90 minute parallel practical sessions 

11.00-11.30: Coffee break 

11.30-12.30: Workshop II: 90 minute parallel practical sessions 

12.30-13.30: Lunch 

13.30-15.00: Workshop III: 90 minute parallel practical sessions 

15.00-15.30: Coffee break 

15.30-17.00: Workshop IV: 90 minute parallel practical sessions 

18.00-20.30: Dinner and panel: In Conversation with Environmental Data Scientists (led by Professor Gordon Blair). (LEC Atrium) 


Thursday 14 Mar 

09.00-09.15: Introduction of group project: data science challenge 

09.15-09.45: Lightning talks II: Data Science in the Natural Environment work highlight 

09.45-10.30: Group project time 

10.30-10.45: Coffee break 

10.45-11.00: Feedback form + reflections from the school 

1100-11.45: More group project time. Preparations to present. 

11.45-13.00: Final presentations to a panel of judges. 

13.00- Lunch, networking, and onward travels 


Best wishes,

Dr Mike Hollaway and Dr Michael Tso (UKCEH), lead organizers