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Identity research on show at Science Festival

IMPRINTS kiosk at the British Science Festival

A Loughborough University-led project on identity management is being showcased this week as part of the British Science Festival.

IMPRINTS (Identity Management – Public Responses to Identity Technologies and Services) is a multidisciplinary research project looking at the influences on UK and US publics to engage and/or disengage with identity management practices, services and technologies of the future.

The project aims to understand why people engage with some forms of identity management whilst resisting others.

At this week’s British Science Festival (which runs until Thursday 12 September), researchers are showcasing their findings so far via an interactive IMPRINTS kiosk at Newcastle City Library. 

Visitors are able to take part in the research game, watch one of the IMPRINTS research videos, look at prototypes for some emerging identity technologies, and chat to members of the research team about new identity gadgets, such as smart watches and jewels, electronic tattoos and RFID (radio frequency identification) implants.

Professor Liesbet van Zoonen from the University’s Department of Social Sciences is leading the project. She said:

“Our research has shown that British and American publics are resistant to many of the emerging innovations in identity management such as biometrics, body implants and smart phone apps.

“People want control over their identities but don’t expect they will get that in the future.

“The British Science Festival has given us an excellent opportunity to share our research findings so far and speak with more people about the future of identity management.”

The British Science Festival is one of Europe's largest celebrations of science, engineering and technology, with over 250 events, activities, exhibitions and trips taking place over a week in September.

The programme of events offers something for everyone with activities for families and schools groups, adults looking for entertainment and stimulating debate, as well as events aimed at professionals interested in the latest research. Find out more at

The three-year IMPRINTS project is funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).