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Adding value for Europe through European Metrology Research Programmes
Metrology, the science of measurement, is both a national and international endeavour that supports society and the economy. The international system of metrology ensures that primary measurement standards and the measurements they support are comparable and accepted across the world. In some countries the requirement to hold national measurement standards, are enshrined in law.
The need for research to ensure measurements are fit for the future is increasing. At the same time, meeting requirements for new measurement standards in emerging areas of technology places additional demands on national metrology research budgets.
EURAMET's European Metrology Research Programmes (EMRP and its successor EMPIR) are fostering international collaboration, driving research excellence, and addressing society's grand challenges in areas such as health, the environment, and energy, contributing to Europe's economic turnover.
Conducting research at a European level via EMRP and EMPIR has enabled national metrology institutes to pool resources and knowledge, reduce duplication and reach critical mass in three key areas:
> EMRP and EMPIR boost industrial uptake of metrology research by supporting development of new & improved products and services
Metrology research ensures the international measurement systems are fit for the future, as well as supporting the introduction of innovative products and services through the accurate validation of new technologies. In providing accurate and traceable measurement, that is both reliable and robust, metrology research also underpins trade. EMRP and EMPIR projects have brought together world-class measurement expertise that strengthen Europe’s position at the forefront of innovation and contribute to our economic prosperity.
Case studies from EMRP and EMPIR projects have demonstrated their economic impact, in terms of actual and projected sales of innovative products influenced by the programmes, of 1,627 million Euro. Of this figure, early adopters of research results, including the instrumentation and accredited laboratory sector, estimate that 340 million Euro is directly attributable to the programme. This is expected to rise as further projects are completed.
New products will also bring economic benefits to many of the end-users. EURAMET has identified and published 42 case studies demonstrating examples of secondary economic impacts.
Supporting European standardisation and regulation
Metrology research supports compliance with regulation, as well as the monitoring of their implementation, through developing more robust and reliable measurements. 43 % of the 119 EMRP projects have a direct reference to regulation including the Renewable Energy Directive, the Water Framework Directive, the Air Quality Directive and the Medical Device Regulation. Project consortia have also made 1135 contributions to 486 unique standards committees.
> Addressing Europe's grand challenges, from clean and renewable energy to a secure and healthy society
Three of the programmes’ themes explicitly focus on social impact by helping to tackle society’s grand challenges in the areas of health, the environment and energy. Research addresses the need for accurate data and appropriate instrumentation. This improves the ability to identify and better understand problems, and to design and implement effective solutions.
To date, EURAMET has developed 28 case studies demonstrating social impact in these three themes. The case studies provide examples of the adoption of project outputs show that the route to longer-term impact has commenced.
> EMRP and EMPIR underpinning a coherent, sustainable and integrated European metrology landscape
EMRP and EMPIR have achieved a significant level of integration. 23 European countries participated in EMRP, leveraging national funding of 219,236 million Euro – 10 % above the target. The 600 million Euro EMPIR was established in 2014 by 28 participating countries and the European Union. The programmes are enabling widespread collaboration in metrology research, not only among the traditional metrology institutes (the NMIs and DIs) but also in academic, industrial and public sector communities.
For example, in EMRP, European Union and national funding supported 119 joint research projects with 957 participants from the metrology community and 1157 participants from a further 916 academic, industrial, and public sector organisations. In addition, 21 countries participated as unfunded partners or collaborators and there were 140 participants by non-European researchers from the NMI and DI, academic and industrial communities.
Scientific excellence and impact
Alongside the ability to coordinate resources and skills, the ability to align research timescales is a key benefit of the programmes.
For example, EMRP and EMPIR research contributed to the redefinition of the International System of Units. The vote to adopt the redefinition took place in November 2018 and to meet this date it was essential to align critical experiments and measurement comparisons. EMRP researchers published 1358 papers in peer-reviewed journals and this number is increasing. The publications are above world averages in terms of citations, impact factor and highly cited papers and have been increasing over the period from 2008 to 2015 (i.e. before and during EMRP). In addition, the level of international co-authored peer-reviewed papers has increased from 32 % to 47 %.
Scientific integration of metrology research across Europe
> Increasing the level of networking and enabling the flow of ideas, knowledge, people, and sharing of metrology research facilities
Scientific integration can be showcased with the following outputs from EMRP and EMPIR:
- A common research agenda developed by the European metrology community.
- Theme specific projects focused on industry, grand societal challenges and the redefinition of the SI.
- Independent and robust processes; tailor-made call scopes and a two-stage call process bring together the European metrology, academic and end-user communities, to develop and deliver collaborative research projects. Project selection includes an independent expert review.
- EURAMET implemented dedicated and centralised governance and management processes.
- The delivery of the programme has been closely monitored and reviewed.
- Evaluations found the programme’s processes to be transparent and high quality.
The programme managed 200 million Euro of EU funding and coordinated 19 million Euro of national metrology research funds using a common approach to financial rules.
79 mobility grants supported the transfer of staff between institutions to facilitate learning and the development of personal and institutional networks.
EMRP and EMPIR support capacity building in emerging NMIs, in particular by assisting national authorities to fully exploit the use of structural funds and other relevant programmes. Seven of the countries participating in EMRP were new EU member states, and two were accession / pre-accession states. EMPIR provides additional Research Potential calls with research projects aimed at developing research capacity in emerging institutes.
Successful capacity building examples include:
- CMI, the NMI in the Czech Republic, has developed a critical mass in key research areas and created a community of research-focused metrologists.
- IMBiH, the NMI in Bosnia and Herzegovina, has progressed from mobility grants to participation in collaborative projects, and subsequently has become a coordinator of an EMPIR project.
If you would like to know more about results and impact from EMRP and EMPIR, please contact EURAMET's Management Support Unit:
Phone: +44 20 8943 6666