The JRC hosted a meeting among nine major publicly funded reference material (RM) producers at the JRC-Geel site in Belgium. The aim was to assist in the overall prioritisation of RM production internationally, to avoid duplication, to tackle replacement of running out materials and to identify future needs and trends.
Reference materials (RMs) and certified reference materials (CRMs) are important quality assurance tools for precise and comparable measurements.
The latter are important, amongst others for the implementation of legislative requirements, e.g. official food control. Ideally, matrix RMs and CRMs should closely match agricultural-, food-, feed-, or environmental samples or industrial materials. As there is an increased demand of such complex RMs, it is important to align forces of RM producers at a global scale.
Therefore, the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) – one of the publicly funded and major RM producer worldwide – organised a meeting with the following objectives:
- exchange information about ongoing RM production projects,
- identify areas of interest for future specific RMs, including CRM developments,
- investigate potential areas of collaboration,
- identify priority areas.
The benefit of exchanging such information is to avoid duplication of efforts in RM production, make better use of public funds by potentially matching competencies, and to address problems that are common to publicly funded RM-producers.
The following organisations were represented at the meeting, either physically are via videoconference:
- Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM), Germany
- International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Monac
- Joint Research Centre (JRC), Belgium
- Korea Research Institute of Standards and Science (KRISS), South Korea
- LGC, United Kingdom
- National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), USA
- National Measurement Institute of Australia (NMIA), Australia
- National Metrology Institute of South Africa (NMISA), South Africa
- the National Research Council Canada (NRCC), Canada.
The National Metrology Institute of Japan (NMIJ), Japan and the National Institute of Metrology (NIM), China were invited but unable to attend.
In preparation for the meeting, each participating organisation provided a list of current reference material development projects which are now published for the first time in open literature.
During the meeting, each institution presented its main fields of activity and offered additional information on its RM programme as required. Discussions not only addressed detailed technical questions but also dealt with questions on policy and legal status.
Additional meetings like this can help to assist in the overall prioritisation of RM production internationally.
This publication discusses the drivers and approaches taken by publicly funded RM-producers and gives a summary of some future trends.
Read more in: H. Emteborg et al.: Cooperation in publicly funded reference material production, Accred. Qual. Assur. (2018) 23, pp. 371-377, doi:/10.1007/s00769-018-1349-1