First AMBER Research Conference, Rome (9 – 11th May 2018)

AMBER 1st Research Conference Rome

The first AMBER research conference was held at the Biometric Systems and Multimedia Forensics LAB at the Università Degli Studi Roma Tre located in the south west of Rome. Beginning on the 9th May 2018 the conference ran over three days and brought together the AMBER network: academic leads of the five Amber institutions and our ten early stage researchers.

Day 1

On day one Patrizio Campisi, Director at the Department of Applied Electronics at the Università degli Studi Roma TRE gave the opening welcome to the 20 delegates. From here, each ESR provided a five-minute presentation on their initial progress on the project. It provided an opportunity for each of the researchers to see how their individual areas linked up across the network. Questions gave everyone an opportunity to explore the areas of research being carried out and discuss.

In the afternoon, the topic of talks was transferable skills, which included “applying for research funding” by Richard Guest, and “GDPR the details” by Raul Sanchez-Reillo. The end of the first day concluded with a talk given by two of the ESRs – Anas Husseis and Barbara Corsetti on the Marie Curie Network. Here we heard about the opportunities provided by the Marie Curie Alumni to network and learn, and how each country has alumni that you can join. The day ended with a meal out to Porto Fluviale restaurant with some great Italian food, enjoyed by all despite a rather wet journey!

Day 2 – The Hackathon

This was one of the most enjoyed aspects of the conference, and provided an opportunity for the ESRs to work together. Introduced by Ramon Blanco-Gonzalo and Judith Liu-Jimenez from Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, the hackathon was an exercise in “finger print spoofing” on a variety of mobile devices. Three teams tested a variety of materials over 1.5 days to see if they could create a spoof fingerprint to unlock devices. W

Whilst the ESRs competed in the hackathon, academic leads met for the AMBER network’s Supervisory board meeting, and the first Advisory board meeting. The Advisory board meeting was the first one, which saw four experts joining together to hear about AMBER and to offer any initial feedback. Joining for the meeting via skype was Dr Sambit Bakshi (India), Professor Stephen Elliott (USA), Dr Tony Mansfield (UK) and Professor Young-Bin Kwon (South Korea).

The day concluded with the ESRs working away into the evening!

Day 3

On Friday morning, we heard back from each team on the individual results of the hackathon. Each team had explored quite different materials for the spoofing and gave interesting feedback. It was a great success, and brought together the ESRs for the first time on the project.

The conference closed with thanks from Richard Guest to Patrizio Campisi for hosting, and all for attending. The next AMBER conference will be in Poland, in November.

Photo credit: Teodors Eglitis


AMBER Workshop and Network Launch, Canterbury (November 2017)

The first official workshop of the AMBER project was held on 6th November 2017 at the University of Kent. The day started with an introduction to the AMBER Network given by Dr Richard Guest and was followed by information on the practical operation of the network.

Each ESR gave an introduction on themselves and provided an overview of their background. In the afternoon a panel was held on State of the Art in Biometric Systems where each ESR was assigned to represent a variety of stakeholders. They then put questions to the panel concerning biometric systems implementation and future developments.

A dinner was held at the well known Canterbury venue Cafe des Amis in the town centre. On day two a team building exercise was completed and ESRs attended a complementary skills training session which focused on the presentation and discussion around academic publications.


The third and final day concluded with an EAB symposium.

AMBER Launch Meeting (January 2017)

The AMBER launch meeting took place on the 18th of January 2017 at the Brussels offices of CSIC and was attended by principal investigators of all beneficiaries and the Project Officer. Discussions focussed on ESR recruitment, the plan for training events and the plan for dissemination.

AMBER – Kick-off Meeting at Otto-von-Guericke Universitaet Magdeburg (June 2017)

The Otto-von-Guericke Universität in Magdeburg was founded in 1993 and is one of the youngest universities in Germany. It is named after Otto von Guericke who is famous for his experiments with the Magdeburg Hemispheres. The AMBER Kick-off meeting took place in the Informatiks building on the 21st and 22nd of June.
It was the first opportunity to get to know the industrial partners and for them to find out more about the project. The meeting was also useful in reviewing the current recruitment situation and ensuring that everything is in place for the ESRs to start work, and to review and finalise the deliverables due for submission at the end of June and explore the long-term strategy of the project.


The first day started with a welcome address by Richard Guest, the coordinator of AMBER, which was followed by each organisation present introducing themselves and describing their role in the project. Both, academic beneficiaries and industrial partners offer a broad range of expertise which should provide the ESRs with a rich learning experience.

The remaining time on Day 1 was taken up exploring the role of the partners within the project, governance of the ITN and its expected outcomes and impact and a look ahead at the years to come.


The day was rounded off with a wonderful dinner at a local restaurant

During the second day more detailed discussions regarding the training plan and dissemination took place. Both these issues are of utmost importance to the project: training the ESRs is the central objective of the project and includes not only scientific / research training but also transferrable skills training to ensure that the ESRs experience a diverse education enhancing their employability. Dissemination will occur on several levels: academic – publication of papers, attendance at conferences etc., industrial – exploitation of project outcomes, and public and government and end-users through direct engagement with the public and participation in Standards groups.

Further issues discussed were plans for the upcoming meeting in Canterbury (6th – 8th November), the need to establish an advisory board (all partners were requested to suggest members for this board), and the need for excellent communication between partners and with the ESRs once they have arrived at their place of work.

All in all the face-to-face meeting was extremely useful for the consortium. Firstly, meeting the industrial partners provides a good basis for collaboration when it comes to the secondment of ESRs and even though beneficiaries know each other quite well, real (as opposed to virtual) meetings provide a much more direct platform for communication.

Participants at the AMBER Kick-off meeting

Participants at the AMBER Kick-off meeting