Applied Research

Advancing the art of the possible.

Advanced Research

In the digital age the UK faces unprecedented technological opportunities and threats. The role of ATR in GCHQ is to advance the art of the possible: through our combination of deep research skill and technological ingenuity, we recognise and counter the threats and capitalise on the opportunities.

We are a unit of around 100 highly skilled and motivated researchers, with a diversity of background and experience: recent graduates; world-class researchers; deep techies/geeks. ATR comprises a number of research groups, but our research is often collaborative between groups and across GCHQ.

We recruit and develop exceptionally able, pioneering, collaborative researchers. We prize vision, innovation, problem-solving and drive to deliver. Our researchers love to create and prove new ideas and solutions; and to take to bits, understand and re-use ideas/capabilities/systems developed by others in a new way.

Our recruits may have been playing with computers all their life, but more often they have a strong appetite and ability to learn quickly. Extensive technical skills are desirable, but not a prerequisite to joining us: We develop GCHQ’s experts.

Please note the technologies and academic backgrounds listed below are purely illustrative of our current work and workforce. Specific experience of the technologies below is not a prerequisite to joining ATR. Likewise, applications are encouraged from anyone with a numerate/scientific background and strong experience of problem solving/algorithms using (perhaps limited) programming skills.

Deep Technology

Aim

Creation of cutting edge enabling technology;

Research

Firmware design; systems architecture;

Typical Technologies

OS/Kernel; FPGA; GPU; Bespoke Processors; C/C++; Networking;

Current Academic Backgrounds

Electronic Engineering; Computer Science

Data Access

Aim

Create GCHQ’s next-generation capability.

Research

Real-time algorithms; stream processing; large-scale systems;

Typical Technologies

C/C++; scripting; Web; relational DBs; Hadoop; Java

Current Academic Backgrounds

Physics; Engineering; Chemistry

Data Science

Aim

Develop advanced analytics to learn from bulk and streaming data

Research

Machine learning; distributed data analysis; information fusion; cluster technologies

Typical Technologies

Hadoop; Spark; Java/Scala; Python; R; C/C++

Current Academic Backgrounds

Mathematical Statistics; Computer Science

Media & Language

Aim

Understand human language & communication

Research

Speech recognition; natural language processing; machine learning; artificial intelligence; image processing

Typical Technologies

Hidden Markov models; Bayesian statistics, C/C++, Java; scripting

Current Academic Backgrounds

Mathematics; Computer Science; Linguistics

Networks

Aim

Understand networks & devices

Research

Networking; autonomous signalling systems; deep telecoms knowledge;

Typical Technologies

Scripting; Java; C/C++; Web; relational DBs; Hadoop

Current Academic Backgrounds

Physics; Electronic Engineering; Computer Science

Security

Aim

Innovate new approaches to security and vulnerability

Research

Security & vulnerability research; malware analysis

Typical Technologies

Bespoke Systems/Tooling; scripting; storage;

Current Academic Backgrounds

Computer Science, Electronic Engineering, Physics

Other

Stuff we simply cannot tell anyone about until they join us...

What our people say

What do you most enjoy about working at GCHQ?

I am interested in my work

My manager is considerate of my life outside work

I am treated with respect by the people I work with

I am proud when I tell others I am part of GCHQ

I understand how the work of GCHQ makes a difference to the UK

EXPLORE APPLIED RESEARCH ROLES & RESPONSIBILITIES

High Performance Technology

We aim to create cutting edge enabling technology by researching firmware design and systems architecture. Typical technologies include FPGA design, GPU, bespoke processors, C/C++ networking and Hadoop. With the vision, initiative, problem solving skills and scientific method to deliver groundbreaking research, you’ll need the ability to pick up advanced technical skills quickly.

Internet

Researching real time algorithms, stream processing and large scale systems, you’ll create unique capability using technologies such as C/C++, scripting, Web 2.0, relational DBs, Hadoop and Java. With a pioneering spirit and a collaborative approach, you’ll have the creative initiative and vision to work around problems, combined with scientific method. You’ll also need the ability and desire to learn new technical skills quickly in order to deliver groundbreaking research.

Data Mining

Using technologies such as Hadoop, HBase, scripting, R, C/C++ and machine learning tools, we aim to discover usable information in bulk data. Your research will cover graph mining, stream mining and statistical modelling of data, so you’ll need to be creative, innovative and scientific in equal measure. With the ability to solve problems and learn new technical skills quickly you’ll deliver a variety of pioneering research.

Media & Language

You’ll help us to understand human language and communication by researching areas such as speech recognition, natural language processing, machine learning, artificial intelligence and image processing. We use advanced technologies such as hidden Markov models, Bayesian statistics, C/C++, Java and scripting, so you’ll need to be comfortable working on groundbreaking research. As well as the creative vision and initiative to solve problems, you’ll also need a scientific approach.

Mobile & Networks

With an innovative approach to research and the ability to solve complex problems, you could be researching networking, autonomous signalling systems and deep telecoms to understand networks and devices. Typical technologies we use include scripting, Java, C/C++, Web 2.0, relational databases and Hadoop, so you’ll need the ability to pick up new technologies quickly.

Other

There are some aspects of our research that we can’t tell you about until you join us. But if you have an academic background in Computer Science, Electronic Engineering, Physics or Engineering, that could be useful.

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