Joint Research Centre - European Commission

The European Commission's in-house science service
European Commission

Providing reference

Confidence in measurements

Millions of testing measurements are performed in Europe every year. The results of these measurements influence important decisions in industry, environmental or food safety control, and form the basis for policy-making and many pieces of legislation in the European Union. Such results should therefore be reliable and comparable everywhere. This can only be realized by standardisation, harmonisation and assuring the quality of measurements.

Through its Institute for Reference Materials and Measurements (IRMM), the JRC supports and gives scientific advice to the policy-makers in issues related to metrology, standardisation, harmonisation and quality of measurements.

Today IRMM is one of the world’s largest reference material producers, expert adviser in food safety and quality and bio analysis as well as a valued provider of reference measurement data. IRMM works in close collaboration with the other institutes of the JRC, and with research institutes, universities and international organisations worldwide.

By its work, IRMM promotes conīŦdence in measurement results. Such confidence is essential when measuring near legally established limits or in cases of dispute and emergency. IRMM also promotes the principle of ‘once measured, accepted everywhere’. Recognised comparability of testing data helps in reducing barriers for trade by reducing the need to duplicate measurements. This has large economical implications from food safety to environmental pollution and nuclear safeguards.

European Union Reference Laboratories

In order to ensure public health, potentially hazardous residues and contaminants in food and feed are put under vigorous scrutiny and strict authorisation procedures for new additives and crops for feed and food production are in place. The aim of European Union Reference Laboratories (EU-RL) is to guarantee uniform detection, quantification and authorisation procedures. The JRC is currently running six EU-RLs in this area.

European Union Reference Laboratories

Type approval testing and calibration services

Scientist at the European Solar Test Installation

Scientist at the European Solar Test Installation ESTI© EC

But the JRC is also actively involved in supporting the innovation cycle of European industry. Its European Solar Test Installation (ESTI) provides type approval testing and calibration services for photovoltaic modules.

The schedule of the ESTI in terms of the Standard IEC 61215 or 61646 (Type Approval Testing) is continually advance-booked up to one year ahead and reflects the laboratories strong customer base and the expanding market situation. Industrial demand has been steadily increasing over the past years reflecting the demand in Europe and worldwide.