EMPIR project coordinator given lifetime achievement award for mercury research

View of the Earth from space

New measurements of reactive forms of mercury will support enforcement of effective air pollution monitoring

The project

EMPIR project Metrology for oxidised mercury (16ENV01, MercOx) has been working to address a previously existing gap in capability and traceable measurements for mercury. The aim is to enhance the monitoring and control of mercury and its different chemical forms, in both industrial flue gases and in the atmosphere, to improve measurement comparability and uncertainties. This will provide crucial support to the enforcement of future global and European regulations governing mercury pollution, and the protection of human health and the environment.

Lifetime Achievement Award

At the International Conference on Mercury as a Global Pollutant (ICMGP) 2019 in Krakow EMPIR Project Coordinator Milena Horvat from the Jožef Stefan Institute was awarded the Life Achievement Award for mercury research. This award was established in 2011 to celebrate and recognise individuals who have made extraordinary lifetime achievements in mercury research, mentoring, or contributions to governmental policy and public outreach.

International Conference on Mercury

Also at the conference, the project partners organised a workshop with the title ‘Comparability of mercury measurements in air’. The latest developments in the area of traceable mercury measurements worldwide were presented by project partners and stakeholders.

In addition, during the conference the project partners organised a special session entitled ‘Metrological traceability for mercury analysis and speciation’. The latest developments in the area of traceable mercury measurements worldwide were presented. For the special session presentations were combined from key metrological institutions worldwide, the participants of the EMPIR project and its stakeholder group, leading research institutions in the area of mercury speciation analysis, instrument producers, reference materials producers, participants from standardisation bodies as well as users of analytical results.

The workshop and the special session were attended by over 100 specialists in mercury analysis and speciation, users of measurement results, national metrology institutes and bodies and agencies responsible for standardisation and reference methodologies, and producers of instrumentation.

As post conference publications, the project produced two special issues: Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics ( and the  journal Sensors (

Project Coordinator Milena Horvat said ‘

The ICMGP conferences represent a platform where global science community meets with industry, standardisation bodies and policy makers. This  has become an event organised every second year and it is truly an event of global importance in the field of mercury research. In the framework of the EMPIR funded projects metrology related special sessions were organised during the last three conferences organized in 2015, 2017, and 2019.  Combined with the pre-conference workshops the community recognised metrological principles and concepts as an important step towards comparability of the measurement results.  Moreover, future metrological uptake in new projects have also emerged, such as  Horizon2020 EU funded MSCA ITN GMOS-Train: “Global Mercury Observation and Training network in support to the Minamata Convention”, starting January 2020 for a period of four years. It is now well recognised that metrological comparability of measurements is fundamental if the data is to be used for model validation, public information and to support policy implementation. Although, for the metrology world this seems  self evident, for the practitioners, however, it was merely an academic exercise. We have learned from this that persistent and systematic work is needed, which of course also has results we are very proud of. MercOx is the first EMPIR project coordinated by JSI, but noticeable impact is also evident in other fields of research performed at the institute.’

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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