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EMPIR Capacity Building project enables analysis of environmental materials

Scientist analysing the water of a river

Joint research project extends environmental pollution monitoring capabilities for water and soil to new European countries

EMPIR Capacity Building projects aim to support the participating organisations to develop their metrological research expertise, and are one of the EURAMET tools that enable the integration of new areas of Europe into a metrology landscape that is coherent, efficient and sustainable.

Completed EMPIR project ‘Matrix reference materials for environmental analysis’ (14RPT03, ENVCRM) developed capacity to produce certified reference materials (CRMs) for environmental analysis by transferring know-how between the partners and combining their skills to focus on environmental CRM production. The production process included good manufacturing practices for processing materials, method development, the validation and application of homogeneity, stability and characterisation tests, the calculation of individual uncertainties (between-unit inhomogeneity, long term stability, characterisation) and

combination of uncertainties to determine overall uncertainty of the matrix reference materials.

The capability for producing and certifying environmental reference materials has been built in the eight countries, with each country contributing to produce the CRMs. This will have an impact on environmental monitoring in these countries and on the scientific community, who will use the newly developed reference materials. 

Specific project achievements include:

  • Two inorganic and one organic pollutant CRM candidates (river water, ground water and soil material) were produced and tested to confirm that the materials were homogenous and stable
  • The CRM candidates were characterised and certified
  • Long term research capability strategies for environmental CRMs were developed for each partner, based on geographical priorities
  • The NMIs participating in this project will apply for new officially recognised Calibration and Measurement Capabilities statements recorded in the BIPM Key Comparison Database

Project Coordinator Alper Isleyen from TUBITAK UME in Turkey said ‘I’m glad to see our complementary approach and combination of capabilities yielded CRMs which are difficult and even impossible for the project partners to produce by themselves. We are pleased to contribute to the environmental monitoring by producing metrologically traceable CRMs for quality control and quality assurance applications.’  


This EMPIR project is co-funded by the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and the EMPIR Participating States.

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