Work of an EMPIR project contributes to EMN Mathmet training and JCGM publications

Close up image of a steel measurement calliper with the needle between 0.5 and 1.0 to demonstrate that every measurement contains an element of uncertainty
Every measurement contains an element of uncertainty

Measurement uncertainty – a vital parameter – is often hard to evaluate in real-life. New guidance has helped expand knowledge in this important area

Trustworthy measurements underpin almost all areas of modern life. However, no measurement is 100 % reliable – factors ranging from the instrument type to the environment can affect measurement results. All these elements combine to generate a ‘measurement uncertainty’ which is a quantification of the quality of the measured value.

EMPIR project’s input into BIPM publications

To help perform better measurements incorporating uncertainty the Joint Committee for Guides in Metrology (JCGM) has, on behalf of eight international organisations, published the internationally acknowledged  “Guide to the Expression of Uncertainty in Measurement” (GUM) and associated documents.

In its role of maintaining and updating these documents, the JCGM-WG1 was the chief supporter of the EMPIR project Advancing measurement uncertainty – comprehensive examples for key international standards (17NRM05, EMUE). During its lifetime, the project developed over forty worked examples detailing how to calculate this important parameter, which were published as a freely available compendium.

Data from the project contributed to the 2020 revision of the GUM-6 guide “Developing and using measurement models” with fifteen of these project examples submitted for incorporation in GUM-5 “Examples” currently under development and due to be published in 2024.

Input into EMN Mathmet activities

Since the end of the project in 2021, eight partners of the EMUE consortium have contributed to the European Metrology Network for Mathematics and Statistics (EMN Mathmet) training activity on Measurement Uncertainty. Four other EMUE partners joined the activity as stakeholders.

Mathmet’s objective is to create a sustainable structure in mathematics and statistics for metrological applications. As part of its strategic agenda and work plan, the EMN launched a MU Training Activity to improve the quality, efficiency and dissemination of training on measurement uncertainty. This activity, which will run until January 2024, is an unfunded project to produce freely available training material and to establish a community for the teachers of uncertainty.

Among others, the MU Training activity conducted, analysed and published three surveys of useful material:

  • one on the measurement uncertainty courses taught by metrology institutes, academia and other partners of the activity consortium,
  • a second on typical examples available for measurement uncertainty training,
  • a third on available software for uncertainty evaluation.

The second survey encompassed the examples treated in the collected courses as well as the 41 examples collected in the EMUE Compendium.

An analysis of the three surveys was published by the online journal of IMEKO.

Impact of the MU Training activity

This material is already making a strong impact with, as of August 2023, the surveys on courses, examples and software for future trainees and teachers having over a thousand web visits. In addition, the partners of the MU training activity stated that the community activities for the teachers improved 30 training courses by March 2023 and thus impacted approximately 440 trainees already by this date.

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

EMN Mathematics and Statistics was supported by the joint network project 19NET02. EMPIR projects are co-funded by the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and the EMPIR Participating States

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