Ensemble is an umbrella initiative examining the role of technology in supporting a new kind of environmental science, that is a science that is open, integrated and collaborative, involving data scientists, computer scientists, experts in communication and also earth and environmental sciences.

The work of Ensemble is partially funded by EPSRC’s DT/LWEC Senior Fellowship and Models in the Cloud, a project focusing on the support offered by cloud computing to Environmental Science and to the execution of potentially complex environmental models in the cloud.

Over the five years we will focus on four key areas: flooding, bio-diversity, soil and eco-system services.

For each of these themes we will work with academics from multiple disciplines as well as numerous external partners including government, businesses, the public, and third sector organisations to find ways to deepen and refine the impact of technology within the realm of environmental change.

“New forms of digital technology and data-driven analysis offer tremendous potential to re-think how we approach and understand environmental risks. Working with such an open-minded, cross-disciplinary research team with a long-term vision is already helping us to explore innovative, and, hopefully, more open and coherent ways of modelling, communicating and managing flood risk.”
Rob Lamb, JBA Trust

“One of our key priorities is to “work with businesses and other organisations to manage the use of resources”. This project offers us the exciting opportunity to work with others to explore alternative ways to use new forms of technology and data in innovative ways to tackle key the environmental challenges which we face in a collaborative manner whilst delivering the potential for improvements and efficiency.”
Sue Manson, Environment Agency

“The great environmental challenges facing us in the 21st century are inescapably transdisciplinary. This project combines emerging opportunities for big data analysis with insights from natural and social sciences to make possible  the types of understanding that we urgently need to get better at.”
Mike Berners-Lee, Small World Consulting

Why is the programme called Ensemble?

We named the programme Ensemble to reflect the wide range of disciplines and stakeholders coming together to share insight and knowledge to ultimately produce research that has a high impact and is more thorough than we could all produce separately. Ensemble modelling is also an approach widely used by many of the experts on the programme.


en·sem·ble [noun]

  1. a group of people or things that make up a complete unit.
  2. from the Middle French word ensemblée, which means “together, at the same time”
  3. often used in the context of environmental modelling. Here it refers to combinations of models consisting of either, 1) a single model run a number of times for example to understand sensitivities to initial starting conditions or the uncertainties associated with additional model assumptions, or 2) different models run with the same initial conditions, input data and assumptions to compare predicted outcomes.
    Gordon Blair