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UCL Jill Dando Institute of Security and Crime Science

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JDI Research Laboratory

The Jill Dando Institute Research Laboratory (JDIRL) is a state-of-the-art secure computer facility, the first of its kind at a university in Europe

The JDIRL allows our students and staff to conduct world-leading research using sensitive datasets that would not otherwise be easily accessible. The first facility of its kind at a European university, the JDIRL is a Police Assured Secure Facility for the storage and analysis of data classified up to OFFICIAL-SENSITIVE, allowing us to deliver real insight and impact to our partners.

Our purpose

The JDIRL exists to allow us to conduct world-leading research with real-world impact. Our partners include UK police forces, national and local government agencies, private companies and NGOs. As such, the data we analyse are often particularly sensitive in nature and requires a standard of both personnel and IT security beyond what most researchers have access to. The JDIRL provides our partners with the necessary assurance that their data are kept secure and only accessed by individuals with the necessary vetting clearance. Having this facility allows us to more effectively bridge the gap between practitioners and academics and analyse data that would otherwise not be available outside their organisations.

Facilities and security

The JDIRL is a completely self-contained facility, run independently but in coordination with UCL's main security office. As an air-gapped facility there is no connection to the outside world and users are not allowed to bring any electronic items into the lab. All data imports and exports are managed via a tightly controlled authorisation protocol to ensure no sensitive data are ever removed from the lab. 

Anyone wishing to use the JDIRL must undergo appropriate personal security checks - the level of vetting required is dependent on which area of the lab users need to access. All researchers must complete an induction course so that they understand the stringent requirements of working in a high-security computer environment. Administration staff are all vetted to Security Check level and have completed a course of the Principles of Information Security Management.

This high level of both personnel and physical security allows us to work closely with a range of organisations who have confidence that their data will only be accessed by authorised individuals.