Research Associate, Biometrics Standards for Remote Onboarding

Alan Turing Institute London United Kingdom Research Programmes
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Company Description

Named in honour of Alan Turing, the Institute is a place for inspiring, exciting work and we need passionate, sharp, and innovative people who want to use their skills to contribute to our mission to make great leaps in data science and AI research to change the world for the better.

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The successful candidate will work on the Trustworthy Digital Infrastructure for Identity Systems project. They will work closely with the Principal Investigators, the Technical Development Manager, other PDRAs and programme management staff across the team.

The project and role sit within the Finance and Economics Programme which brings together leading experts in data science, machine learning, finance and the social sciences, from both academia and industry to tackle the most challenging questions by producing world-leading research with significant impact. The programme works closely with government and the industry to exploit the potential of new technologies in the financial sector and economic research, and to position the UK as the leader in these areas. The programme is led by the Programme Director, Lukasz Szpruch.


Africa embracement of biometrics as authentication has been made easy by adopting techniques for measuring people’s unique physical characteristics, even so, privacy and security issues still need to be addressed. Developing economies also suffer from the issues such as when citizens cannot provide formal proof of who they are and are therefore unable to access the benefits that an identity provides. The same issue arises where citizens live in remote communities and travelling to official onboarding centres is problematic. There is a drive towards the idea of providing individuals the capability of onboarding themselves remotely using mobile devices and some commercial solutions are starting to be used. These services however have not as yet been recognised a suitable solution for country onboarding, in part because there is not an official standard for their implementation. This project will examine existing research and commercial examples that focus on potential onboarding techniques. It will also review existing standards, for example ISO/IEC 19989-1:2020, to understand existing procedures for defining the use of biometrics and for measurement of their effectiveness. As an output this research will focus on the development of a submission of an ISO Preliminary Work Item for a new biometric standard for remote onboarding of citizens using existing phone technology, e.g. camera and microphone, to capture biometrics.

The successful applicant will initially undertake research in the challenges of trust within digital identity and the concept of remote onboarding. Challenges include trust in law, policy, user credentials, technologies and services; note that these can differ over the diverse set of countries that will be in focus. Under guidance of the research team the new team member will explore these challenges to produce a viable draft for a future standard which will be submitted as an ISO Preliminary Work Item.

Project deliverables

  • The submission of an ISO Preliminary Work Item (PWI) that will lead to a new standard for biometric enabled remote onboarding
  • Final report and publication on process / findings


  • Scope, pilot and deliver high quality research activity under the Direction of the Principal Investigator and Programme Director:
  • Drive collaboration with academic experts and broader research partners from across the Turing and the wider Turing community
  • Publish and disseminate high-quality research papers and publications detailing research output and project case-studies.
  • Become part of the broader partnership team and be expected to engage on a regular basis with the partner.
  • Present, disseminate and explain our work at internal and external events hosted by Turing and/or the partner.
  • Contribute to the life of the Institute and support its community.
  • To undertake appropriate administration tasks
  • Support the Principal Investigator and research group in the design and development of the research programme.


  • Research Assistant: Near completion of higher degree or equivalent level of professional qualification in Mathematics, Computer Science or closely related discipline.
  • Research Associate: PhD in Mathematics, Computer Science or a closely related discipline, or equivalent level of professional experience
  • Experience in the application of biometrics, ideally within mobile applications.
  • Knowledge of developing technical standards for ISO or similar.
  • Knowledge of issues of privacy, trust and risk in identity systems.
  • Track record of the ability to initiate, develop and deliver high quality research aligned with the research strategy indicated by the PI and any industrial stakeholders and to publish in peer reviewed journals and conferences.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills with the ability to clearly communicate complex, specialist or conceptual information/research findings clearly and persuasively to diverse audiences. This will include the ability to explain technical concepts to technical and non-technical audiences.

Other information


If you are interested in this opportunity, please click the apply button below. You will need to register on the applicant portal and complete the application form including your CV and covering letter. If you have questions about the role or would like to apply using a different format, please contact us on 020 3970 2148 or 0203 862 3340, or email

CLOSING DATE FOR APPLICATIONS: Tuesday 7th February 2023 at 23:59

We reserve the right to close this vacancy early or to interview suitable candidates before the closing date if enough applications are received.

If you are applying for more than one role at the Turing, please note that only one Cover Letter can be visible on your profile at one time. If you wish to apply for multiple roles and do not want to overwrite your existing Cover Letter, please apply for the role using the button below and forward your additional cover letter directly to quoting the job title.


This full-time post is offered on fixed term basis for 6-months from the date of appointment (possibility of extension). The successful candidate must be in post no later than 01 June 2023. Research Assistants will be appointed at an annual salary of £36,236. The salary range for Research Associates is £38,850 - £46,200.

This offer includes our excellent benefits, including flexible working and family friendly policies,

Candidates who have not yet been officially awarded their PhD will be appointed as Research Assistant at a salary of £36,236 per annum.

The Alan Turing Institute is based at the British Library, in the heart of London’s Knowledge Quarter.

We are currently assessing the results of our hybrid working trial, which ran for six months. We will soon publish a long-term workplace policy: as a guide, we anticipate this will be between 2-4 days per month. Some roles may require the jobholder to spend a greater number of days in the office, but the hiring manager will be able to confirm this during the interview.


The Alan Turing Institute is committed to creating an environment where diversity is valued and everyone is treated fairly. In accordance with the Equality Act, we welcome applications from anyone who meets the specific criteria of the post regardless of age, disability, ethnicity, gender reassignment, marital or civil partnership status, pregnancy and maternity, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation.

We are committed to making sure our recruitment process is accessible and inclusive.

This includes making reasonable adjustments for candidates who have a disability or long-term condition. Please contact us at to find out how we can assist you.

Please note all offers of employment are subject to continuous eligibility to work in the UK and satisfactory pre-employment security screening which includes a DBS Check.

Full details on the pre-employment screening process can be requested from