Research, Innovation and Science

Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn's visit to Joint Research Centre in Geel (IRMM)

JRC IRMM Linear Accelerator Control room - © European Union, 2010
"It is reassuring to know that the European Commission can count on the scientific expertise of the Joint Research Centre during the policy making process. It works in all the areas most crucial to the daily lives of Europeans."


Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn visited the JRC-IRMM site in Geel, Belgium on 25 February 2010. The IRMM - Institute for Reference Materials and Measurements - is one of the seven institutes of the JRC. It was founded under the Treaties of Rome and started operation in 1960 under the name of the Central Bureau for Nuclear Measurements (CBNM). In 1993 it was renamed the IRMM to reflect the new mission of the Institute. Today IRMM is one of the world's leading reference material producers, expert adviser in food safety and quality and bioanalysis as well as a valued provider of reference measurement date.

IRMM's contribution in research and food safety is crucial, and in this context the Commissioner visited the laboratories which develop and validate testing methods and benchmark the testing abilities of analytical laboratories worldwide; in this regard she donned white coat and goggles and performed a screening test to determine the presence of aflatoxins in barley. Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn also visited the Linear Accelerator (Linac) where, during her tour she was shown how, through the use of new techniques such as neutron resonance capture analysis, physicists have succeeded in unveiling the secrets of a Bronze Age sword using neutron beams normally used to study materials for nuclear reactors.