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Graphic element Research > Growth > Research projects > Measurements & testing projects > Metropolis – Major measurements and testing network launched
Graphic element Metropolis – Major measurements and testing network launched
Metropolis launch
Metropolis launch
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The first meeting of the METROPOLIS thematic network took place in Brussels on 5 July 2002. Gathering 38 partners from 17 European countries, the new network is a response to clear and pressing needs for quality measurements in the fields of public health, safety and environmental protection.

Coordinated by France’s National Institute for Environmental Safety and Risk Prevention (INERIS), METROPOLIS represents a unique attempt to address environmental issues through a fully transversal and interdisciplinary approach. Encompassing the full spectrum of environmental components, including air, water and soil, it will address metrological questions ranging from the performance of measurement and sampling strategies to the effective transmission, processing and modelling of measurement results. The ultimate objective will be the optimal expression and correct interpretation of results and their rapid and efficient communication to decision makers and to European citizens.

In his address to the METROPOLIS launch meeting, Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin underlined three critical issues being addressed by the network:

The importance of measurements in the search for fundamental knowledge – “To the layman, measurement may seem a rather tedious and subordinate activity, but nothing could be farther from the truth. Modern science itself was born out of the quantification of observable phenomena. Today, measurement is not only a fundamental part of basic research; it is also a key element in the use of scientific knowledge, in technology but also in its application to human welfare, including hazard control and the monitoring and improvement of the environment.”

Research in the service of public policy – “Scientific research can serve Community policies in different ways, in support of their conception and setting them in motion. The link between measurement activities and policy is indeed very direct. The results can be applied immediately, quickly translated into legal and regulatory provisions. We are talking about service provision, but a service based on quality research.”

The value of network-based research – “The collaborative network has been among the most effective European instruments in cost-to-benefit terms. But it is also the most appropriate tool in many cases, certainly in this case where the objective is to establish and manage a body of techniques, practices and standards sufficiently harmonized to allow an effective application of common provisions. Almost by definition, it is necessary to implicate a large variety of actors in joint activities”

Commissioners Busquin and Wallström
Commissioners Busquin and Wallström
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Joining Busquin at the event was Environment Commissioner Margot Wallström. In her address, she said, “Without reliable measurements we couldn’t do our jobs. We need to be credible when we go out and talk, for example, about global warming, the ozone layer and climate change. In METROPLOIS we have a new tool which is only the start of a long partnership.”

For network coordinator Jacques Repussard, the combination of clearly defined goals and a strong management structure make METROPOLIS an important scientific tool for Europe. “We need to have the data to back up our arguments when it comes to the environment, health and safety,” he said. “Clear and accurate scientific advice can have an impact on any number of important research initiatives while improving the lives of our citizens, and this is what we are hoping to provide.”

Key data

Cooperative initiatives on monitoring and analysis of environmental change and development are supported under the Growth Programme’s generic activity in ‘Measurements and testing’ .


Metropolis – Metrology in support of precautionary sciences and sustainable development policies (GTC2-2001-53008).


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