Call for collaborators

JRC-IRMM is looking for collaborators for projects on stability monitoring and certification of reference materials:

  • characterisation studies
  • homogeneity and stability studies, and
  • feasibility studies.

Depending on the study, the collaborator needs to fulfil certain requirements. Those fulfilling the requirements can be registered as a collaborator and can be contacted by IRMM to submit an offer for a particular study.

Call for collaborators file [46 KB]

Measurements fields

The studies are grouped by measurement fields that cover similar applications or activities.  For example, it is very likely that a laboratory that can determine Ca in rye flour can also determine Mg in rye flour. However, proficiency in the determination of Ca in rye flour does not imply that the same laboratory can also determine vitamin B6 equally well. Collaborators can be registered for one or several measurement fields.

Measurement fieldDescription (examples)
Major elementsElement content in food and environmental samples, metals and ceramics in the range of 1 g/kg and above
Trace elementsElement content in food and environmental samples, metals and ceramics in the range < 1 g/kg (typically mg/kg)
Extractable elementsExtractable element content in environmental samples
Metal speciesMetal species (Sn, As, Hg, Pb –species) in food and environmental samples
Food proximatesFood proximates and conventional properties (e.g. Kjeldahl-N, dietary fibre, triglyceride pattern, Chopin alveograph) in solids and solutions.
Food toxinsFood toxins (e.g. aflatoxin, DON, ochratoxin A) in matrix and pure solutions
VitaminsVitamin content in food samples
Xenobiotics in foodPAHs and pesticides in food samples
Xenobiotics in environmentPAHs and pesticides in environmental samples
Dioxins, PCBs, PBBs and PBDEsPCBs, PBBs, dioxins and PBDEs in food, environmental and industrial samples
Veterinary drugsVeterinary drug residues in food samples
GMOsIdentification and quantification of DNA and/or proteins extracted from matrix materials like maize and soybean powders; Quantification of DNA in pure solutions.
MicroorganismsNumber of colony forming units of microbes (e.g. B. cereous, S. typhimurium ) in food samples
Fuel parametersCalorific value, S content, flashpoint, filter plugging point in solid and liquid fuels (e.g. coal, diesel)
Mechanical propertiesMechanical properties (impact toughness, scratch resistance, creep rate etc.) in a wide variety of samples (e.g. Charpy test pieces, scratch test plates)
Morphological propertiesParticle size, pore size, lattice spacing etc. of powders and granules
Thermal propertiesThermal conductivity of e.g. glass and glass fiber boards
Protein characterisationCharacterisation of protein by e.g. NMR, immunochemistry, MS. The techniques used should be specified in the application.
Protein quantification by reference methodMeasurement of proteins in matrix materials (serum, urine, blood) or in pure preparations by e.g. MS, amino acid analysis, immunochemistry, capillary electrophoresis. The techniques used should be specified in the application.
DNA characterisationE.g. by sequencing, genotyping, PCR
DNA quantificationE.g. by real-time PCR
Enzyme activityMeasurement of catalytic activity. Whether routine and/or reference methods are used should be specified.
Small organic compounds in clinical matricesHealth-related organic compounds in matrix materials and in pure preparations (e.g. hormones, metabolites)
Quantitative analysis applying routine in vitro assaysHealth-related parameters as determined by routine in vitro assays (homogeneity and stability testing only)
Purity of small organic moleculesCharacterisation of the purity of small organic molecules by e.g. DSC, TGA, NMR, IR or chromatographic techniques

For a better idea of potential analyte/matrix combinations, please see the catalogue.



Requirements for the three types of studies are different.

  1. Feasibility studies are conducted to get information on how a project could be executed. As this research is of exploratory nature, fully validated methods do not always exist.
  2. For homogeneity and stability tests, relative measurements are often sufficient, allowing use of potentially biased methods.
  3. Characterisation studies require the highest accuracy and best quality method validation, as the final certified values essentially depend on the results.

The following requirements have to be fulfilled:

RequirementCharacterisation studyHomogeneity studyFeasibility studyExample
Technical competence    
Documented methodyyyAccreditation for the task, self declaration
Validated methodsyy Accreditation, self-declaration
Proficiencyyy Accreditation for the measurement, participation in proficiency testing schemes, scientific publications, participation in certification studies/stability testing before, etc.
Quality system    
Document control systemnot strictly required, but highly desirable  Accreditation (general), certification, self declaration
Competence of staffyyyAccreditation, certification, self-declaration

Note: The term "accreditation" refers to any third-party assessment confirming technical competence. This applies to ISO 17025, but also to e.g. attestations for GMP compliance. ISO 9001 certification does not confirm technical competence, but is sufficient evidence for fulfilling the quality management requirements.

Method validation

In the case of characterisation studies:

  • Methods must be fully validated in a way that allows drawing up an uncertainty budget (trueness, repeatability, reproducibility, selectivity, working range, robustness). The need for full validation stems from the need to obtain a realistic estimation of the measurement uncertainty. No "classical" method validation is needed if full uncertainty budgets can be supplied.

In the case of homogeneity and stability studies:

  • Absolute method trueness is not a prerequisite, selectivity must be determined and an estimation of method repeatability must be available.


How to apply

To apply for one or more measurement fields, please send the following information to us:

  • A cover letter stating name, address of the organisation, contact details of the contact person and the measurement field(s) covered by the application.

  • Evidence for fulfilment of the above-mentioned criteria.
    Accredited organisations: the accreditation certificate together with the scope of accreditation (please highlight the parts that refer to your application). Further evidence (e.g. results in PT schemes, participation in certification studies etc.) of proficiency should be added.
    Non-accredited organisations: Evidence of technical competence (e.g. results in PT schemes, participation in certification studies etc.) together with the  Supplier QA Questionnaire F-D-00005 v2.pdf file [23 KB]  must be provided.

Note: Answering "No" on one or more of these questions of the supplier QA questionnaire does not automatically result in disqualification. However, depending on the type of study, more data may have to be provided together with the offer.

The information should be sent to:

European Commission
Joint Research Centre
Institute for Reference Materials and Measurements
Reference Materials Unit Secretariat

Retieseweg 111
B-2440 Geel, Belgium

Tel.: +32 (0)14 571 889
Fax: +32 (0)14 571 548

What happens after application?

IRMM evaluates your application and aims to give feedback within one month. Qualified laboratories will be invited to submit an offer for particular studies when the need arises. This invitation will be sent to laboratories in compliance with the financial regulations of the European Commission. As the measurement fields are relatively general, detailed information regarding the method used and its performance (repeatability, uncertainty etc.) may be asked together with the offer.

Validation of laboratories does not expire automatically, but can be revoked in the view of insufficient performance. Naturally, laboratories can revoke their listing at any time.

Further information:

Mr R. Koeber
European Commission
Joint Research Centre
Institute for Reference Materials and Measurements
Reference Materials Unit
Retieseweg 111
B-2440 Geel, Belgium

Tel: +32 (0)14 571 952
Fax: +32 (0)14 571 548