JRC-IRMM activities

JRC-IRMM lab photo collage

The core competencies of JRC-IRMM are the development, production and distribution of reference materials, the development and validation of methods for food and feed analysis, bio-analysis, isotopic measurements, neutron physics and radionuclide metrology.

These competencies are applied in a variety of research fields such as: food and feed safety and quality, biotechnology, sustainable agriculture, food allergen research, environment, health, nanotechnology and nuclear safety and security among others.


Metrology – or the science of measurements – is typically called upon to provide the scientific basis for measurements and for improvements in standardisation. Indeed, there are many rapidly growing areas, such as nanotechnology, biotechnology and personalised medicine, which will require the solid support of measurement standards and measurement technology to bring products to the market. Innovation cannot happen without state-of-the-art measurement tools. IRMM is working hard to develop measurement standards for new and challenging applications. We are also increasingly engaged in supporting policy makers on issues of measurement quality, so that EU policies are defined, implemented and assessed in an optimal manner.

JRC-IRMM's standardisation research topics

Health and consumer protection

EU legislation is in place to ensure that the products we buy and the food we eat are safe. Food and feed control legislation requires official control laboratories in the Member States to use standardised methods, such as those issued by CEN, whenever available. The availability of standardised methods of analysis and sampling is therefore of great interest to the Commission, as it supports the uniform implementation of EU food and feed legislation in the member states, in particular in cases where regulatory limits have been specified to ensure the safety of the food chain. Standardised methods also enable the free movement of goods within the EU and avoid duplication of analytical work commissioned by trading partners. The JRC's contribution to the development of documentary standards for food safety and quality focuses on collaboratively validated methods and the technical expertise for the detection and determination of regulated substances in food and feed.

JRC-IRMM's health and consumer protection research topics

Nuclear safety and security

Many issues related to nuclear safety and security involve calculations using accurate nuclear data. Measurements of neutron-induced reactions and cross-section standards, and absolute measurements of radiation i.e. radionuclide metrology, have been key activities of the JRC IRMM since it started operation in 1960. JRC-IRMM focuses on neutron data for standards, safety of operating reactors, handling of nuclear waste and waste transmutation and investigating alternative reactor systems and fuel cycles.

JRC-IRMM's nuclear safety and security research topics

Safety and security

EU policies concerning matters of security frequently require scientific and technical support and concern measurements, testing and standardisation. Examples of policy needs within measurement, testing and standardisation include the testing of current and future detection and screening technology, the development of common EU standards for detection requirements, the development of testing standards and harmonized conformity testing methodologies, the development of trials and quality control schemes and the definition of accreditation and certification systems. High priority areas include detection and screening equipment for aviation security, systems for explosives detection and the detection of chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) threats.

JRC-IRMM's safety and security research topics

Environment and climate change

A safe and healthy environment is the common goal of several Community directives and regulations, and to this end, water, air and soil have to be regularly monitored and assessed. Measurement standards and benchmarks are indispensable components of modern measurement systems for achieving reliable, and thus comparable, measurement results for environmental monitoring. Therefore, the JRC's certified reference materials (CRMs) for environmental analysis are needed by testing laboratories for performance assessment and validation of analytical measurement methods required to implement EU environmental legislation.

JRC-IRMM's environment and climate change research topics