IMPRINTS (Identity Management – Public Responses to Identity Technologies and Services) was a comparative and multidisciplinary research project, asking about the influences on UK and US publics to engage and/or disengage with identity management practices, services and technologies of the future. These involved, among others, new forms of biometric authentication; innovative ‘smart’ tokens like ID or customer cards, jewellery, garment, or further enhanced smart phones. These technologies have become subject to paradoxical processes of acceptance and rejection, with members of the public warmly embracing the one and fiercely rejecting the other. In this research we gained a better understanding of these paradoxes in order to facilitate public debate, policy development and user-centric applications.

In the first year of the project we examined how these expectations are represented in specific scenarios. Click the ‘scenario link’ from the Research Strand tab on the upper menu to access our analysis.

In the second year we discussed these scenarios intensively with members of the public in order to map and understand their desires and taboos.

A final project report was then published in September 2014 which will be beneficial to government, commercial and civic stakeholders in the UK and the US.


The three-year IMPRINTS project was funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and run from September 2011 to November 2014.

In 2011, the project was selected as a Big Idea for the Future, by the Research Councils and the Universities of the UK, expecting that our research (and the other Big Ideas) will ‘have a profound effect on the UK future’.


From the jury report of the Novay Digital Identity Award (2013):

“IMPRINTS is a unique and very-user-centric research approach on how people perceive identity systems, which will make it possible to develop better solutions, with a higher public acceptance”


Two related projects have also been funded by the EPSRC under the Global Uncertainties initiative.

Super Identity

The aim of the Super Identity project is to work towards a rich understanding of identity which encompasses aspects that we reveal both in the real world and in the cyber world.

Uncertainty of Identity

The goal of the Uncertainty of Identity project is to link information pertaining to human characteristics in real and virtual worlds in order to better manage the uncertainties inherent in establishing human identity and linking it to geographic locations.

Member of the Biometrics Institute

Member of the Biometrics Institute