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Collaboration in Sharing Knowledge and Building Capacity

Anniversay Flashback - in its anniversary year EURAMET is taking a look back at important topics from its history. Now it's time to learn more about the organisation's work in capacity building and knowledge transfer:

From the very beginning the diversity of EURAMET’s members and associates has been both a strength and a challenge for the organisation. The capabilities of National Metrology Institutes in EURAMET member states vary from country to country. Therefore, one of EURAMET's main goals is to ensure that appropriate scientific knowledge and experience in the field of metrology is transferred amongst all EURAMET members across Europe.

The first systematic initiatives for knowledge transfer within EUROMET began in 2005 between the NMIs of South-East Europe. EURAMET quickly saw the benefits and decided to establish formal cooperation between all members. This led to the establishment of the Focus Group for ’Facilitating National Metrology Infrastructure Development’ in 2008. The Focus Group became a joint EURAMET-WELMEC group, as many member institutes were also responsible for legal metrology.

The objective was to promote and develop the metrology infrastructure in member countries by increasing cooperation and collaboration among EURAMET NMI members and raising awareness of metrology and quality infrastructure. Between 2008 and 2016,

  • 44 collaborative projects were accomplished;
  • Training courses were delivered in almost all technical areas;
  • Further important topics such as the CIPM MRA, quality management systems, measurement uncertainty, legal metrology, good laboratory practice, communications and strategic management were covered in workshops and training courses.

As a direct result, at least four associate members became full EURAMET members. Many others got their first CMCs published in the key comparison database. This was without doubt one of the biggest successes of the Focus Group.
In 2015 the Focus Group was restructured as the Working Group for Capacity Building directly connected to EURAMET’s Board of Directors. This emphasises the strategical relevance of the issue and enables the group to continue its successful work.

EURAMET’s knowledge transfer activities involve not only the working group but the whole association is supporting this important topic. Knowledge transfer is also one of the main tasks of the Technical Committees. An important example of the TC’s work is the development of a series of calibration and technical guides as a means to support knowledge transfer amongst members. These guides were developed to improve calibration harmonisation of measuring instruments and to enhance the equivalence and mutual recognition of calibration results obtained by laboratories performing calibrations.

Capacity building and knowledge transfer within the research programmes

At the midterm evaluation of EMRP in 2011 the capacity building activities which had been carried out independent of the programme, were positively mentioned by the evaluators. These activities were especially beneficial for EURAMET members, not focused on research and hence, not participating in EMRP. It was proposed that a follow-up programme of EMRP should include funding for capacity building.

This was done in EMPIR with both calls for “Research Potential” joint research projects and “Human and Institutional Capacity Building” activities such as training courses and researcher mobility grants. Research Potential projects are aimed at developing the potential for metrology research and for the establishment of competitive metrology infrastructure in response to an existing need, mostly in emerging EURAMET member countries or regions. Human and institutional capacity building activities are aimed at the consolidation of the metrological core competence of all EURAMET members, and are not restricted to any country or region.

Within the researcher mobility grants, a less experienced researcher collaborates with a joint research project partner institution to undertake additional research related to the project. Researcher mobility grants benefit many parties, such as; the researcher, the researcher’s home institution, the hosting institution and the project within which the grant is connected to. Interest in researcher mobility grants has increased in recent years, enabling inter-institutional exchange of up to 20 researchers per year.

Preparing for the future
It is vital for EURAMET to inspire the active participation of all its members, with no restrictions or limitations. Within the new scope of EURAMET’s capacity building tasks; it also supports the full integration of smaller and emerging NMIs and DIs into EURAMET’s activities and encourages closer collaboration between metrology institutes and national standardisation, accreditation and conformity assessment bodies at the national level.

"Since  its beginning, EURAMET has always been extremely conscientious to enable knowledge transfer and support capacity building to bridge the gap between less developed and more established metrology institutes," said Janko Drnovšek, EURAMET DI-Contact Person and former Vice-Chairperson (GA).

>> The whole story about European collaboration in building capacity and sharing knowledge will be published soon in EURAMET's anniversary booklet on this website.

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