Word
Action number 11102 Last updated 10/09/2012 15:55:31 Year 2012
Title European Reference Materials - Technology developments and quality management
Acronym Europ RM
Type Action
Url
Institute JRC.D Institute for Reference Materials and Measurements (Geel)
Leader HELD Andrea JRC.D.2   E-Mail
Thematic Area TA7 - Reference materials and measurements
TA7.HLO1 - To support EU integrated industrial policy, health and consumer policies and environmental and sustainable development policies through the development and provision of globally accepted measurement standards tailored to the needs of EU legislation
TA7.HLO2 - To support the European Research Area through knowledge transfer and training
TA7.HLO3 - To provide Commission services with sound advice on measurement issues in various stages of the policy cycle
1 Prosperity in a Knowledge intensive society
1.1 Competitiveness and innovation

EMPL - Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities
ENER - Energy
ENTR - Enterprise and Industry
ENV - Environment
MARKT - Internal Market and Services
RTD - Research
RTD - Research and Innovation
SANCO - Health and Consumers
TAXUD - Taxation and Customs Union


Finnish Customs Laboratory
Institute of Food Safety (RIKILT)
Laboratoire Central des Douanes
Technical University of Vienna
University of Vienna
CEN - European Committee for Standardization
Chem Cos Pharm Food Agri - Chemicals, Cosmetics, Pharmaceuticals, Food, and Agrochemicals Industry
Chem Cos Pharm Food Agri EU - Competent Authorities of EU Member States Chemicals, Cosmetics, Pharmaceuticals, Food, and Agrochemicals Industry
ISO - International Organization for Standardization (ISO)

ENER - Energy
ENTR - Enterprise and Industry
ENV - Environment
RTD - Research and Innovation
SANCO - Health and Consumers


NIST - National Institute of Standards and Technology
BAM - Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und Prüfung (BAM)
BIPM - International Committee on Weights and Measures
CEN - European Committee for Standardization
EA - European co-operation for Accreditation
ILAC - International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation
ISO - International Organization for Standardization (ISO)
LGC - LGC Standards
VAMAS - Versailles Project on Advanced Materials and Standards (VAMAS)
Reference Materials (RM), Certified Reference Materials (CRM), European Reference Materials (ERM), standardisation, metrology, nanotechnology, engineering CRMs, fossil fuels, energy efficiency, measurement standards
Rationale
Increasing and maintaining competitiveness of European companies is a prerequisite for increasing the level of employment in the European Union and to ensure sustained wealth of its citizens. The Europe 2020 strategy recognizes this need and proposes measures that build upon the '1992 Programme' launched by the Single European Act of 1986. The Flagship Strategy "Resource efficient Europe" extends this focus on competition by the dimension of resource efficiency, based on less raw-material intensive design of products and the use of recycled material. Better product design critically relies on reliable knowledge of material properties, as only this allows reduction of unnecessary slack. This precise knowledge is achieved by standardised measurements of high accuracy, as demonstrated by e.g. Directive 97/23/EC (pressure equipment) and Directive 89/106/EC (construction materials), which prescribe the use of standardised tests (e.g. ISO-148, EN10045) to ensure the quality of raw materials (steel etc.) while maintaining competition within the Union. These standards, and hence implementation of this legislation, prescribe the use of certified reference materials, which are produced by the action.

Although the share of renewable energy supply in the EU nearly doubled between 1999 and 2009, fossil fuels still account for 75 % of energy used in Europe (Eurostat Newsrelease 11.4.2011). Efficient use of this fossil energy is therefore paramount, as is recognised in the Flagship Strategy "Resource efficient Europe". Moreover, the rapid development of, inter alia, India and China resulted in bottlenecks in the energy market. For this reason, the Flagship Strategy "An industrial policy for the globalisation era" calls for measures to tackle the challenge in commodity markets and to promote liberalisation of trade to create a level playing field for industry on a global scale. One important prerequisite for liberalised trade and free markets is comparability of measurements on fossil fuels, as this ensures that specifications can be compared globally. This comparability of measurements in turn is achieved by using standardised methods in accredited laboratories, who demonstrate their competence using certified reference materials. The action supports these initiatives by providing certified reference materials for the testing of fossil fuels, to allow laboratories within the Union and also worldwide, ensuring correctness of their measurements and effective control of specifications.

While the former two activities support the historical foundation of the European Union, namely the production, use and free trade in steel and fossil fuels, development of new technologies is necessary to ensure smart growth and sustained prosperity for future generations. One potential key enabling technology is nanotechnology, where currently EU companies enjoy an advantage over competitors in other continents. However, development of new technologies is often hampered by a lack of comparability of measurement results, which creates anxiety in consumers and often impedes introduction of beneficial new technologies. Also in this case, reliable measurements are required to speed up technical innovation and to create the necessary trust in the safety of technologies to ensure widespread use. The action supports the "Innovation Union" by supporting comparability of measurements in nanotechnology, both by providing certified reference materials as well as supporting standardisation on an international level (ISO, CEN).
Therefore, the overarching rationale of the action is improving the comparability of measurements by working in standardisation bodies and by producing certified reference materials, which are one of the most important tools for ensuring appropriate quality and reliability of measurements. While production of "simple" calibration standards is an activity that is performed by many private companies, there exists a market failure for more complex reference materials for calibration and quality control, which are not provided in sufficient variety, quantity and quality. Government intervention is therefore necessary to remove this obstacle to the free movement of goods and innovation. As the benefits of this activity are shared by all EU Member States, a programme on Union level for the development of such certified reference materials helps to share this burden. The results of this development effort are not only the materials themselves, but also detailed technical reports that provide a wealth of information and help to share best practices throughout the Union.

Naturally, well-produced and widely recognised CRMs are only useful if they are distributed to users intact, in time and in a user-friendly manner. The action operates a corresponding storage and distribution system and ensures timely delivery of all CRMs of the Reference Materials Unit to end users, thus maximising the impact of CRMs produced by the European Commission.
Summary of the activity
The activities of the action consist of three main clusters:

1. to support initiatives for a more resource efficient Europe by producing certified reference materials for engineering materials and fuels and by working in the respective international standardisation bodies;

2. to support smart growth by developing reference materials in the field of nanotechnology, working in the respective standardisation bodies and providing policy support to other Directorates General in this field;

3. to maximise the impact of all reference materials funded by the European Commission, especially those produced by actions 11102, 15012, 22006 and 33003, by efficient management and maintenance of finalised materials and global distribution of materials.

As for the first cluster, the action develops and certifies reference materials in the field of engineering materials and fossil fuels, to the extent that they are required by European legislation and international standardisation organisations. This support to implementation is complemented by active contribution to European and global standardisation, especially on mechanical testing of materials (ISO/TC164), particle characterisation (ISO/TC24/SC4) and representing the EC in the Steering Committee of VAMAS (Versailles Project on Advanced Materials and Standards). All of these activities are performed within the framework of the Flagship Strategies "Sustainable growth" and "An industrial policy for the globalisation era".

Within the second cluster of activities, the action actively supports the "Innovation Union" by developing certified and non-certified reference materials in the field of nanotechnology. Even more important than in the first cluster is involvement in standardisation, both on a European (CEN/TC352) and global (ISO/TC229) level. On Commission level, the action provides input to the Interservice Group on Nanoscience and Nanotechnologies and supports development of legislation (e.g. Commission Decision on the definition of particulate nanomaterials) in this field.

Within the third cluster of activities, the action is responsible for the distribution of all non-nuclear certified reference materials produced by the European Commission. Although this distribution activity is largely outsourced, some direct distribution is necessary, also to maintain the relationship with the institutes' five authorised distributors, ensure replenishment of their stock levels, prepare invoices to the distributors for materials sent by them and provide technical support in case of questions. In addition, the action is responsible for managing of stock levels and ensuring adequate storage of reference materials to maintain their quality. It also manages the complete inventory of non-nuclear reference materials of the institute, organising orderly release and stopping of sales of materials and distributes all materials for reference material projects of actions 11102, 15012, 22006 and 33003. Finally, the action organises stability testing of all non-nuclear reference materials, comprising organisation, evaluation, interpretation and reporting of stability test results.
 
  01
Develop measurement standards and certified reference materials for engineering materials and fossil fuels in support of sustainable growth and a resource efficient Europe.
  01.01
Develop certified reference materials for the implementation of ISO-148 and EN10045, the use of which is required i.a. by Directive 97/23/EC (pressure equipment) and Directive 89/106/EC (construction materials).
5 certified reference materials produced
31/12/2012
JRC Scientific Support - Reference materials
  01.02
Develop and maintain a global harmonised measurement system by active contribution to development of measurement standards by participation in ISO/64, ISO/TC24/SC4, VAMAS to ensure the implementation of the single market, a level playing field for industry and to promote liberalisation of trade.
1 standard in the Draft stage
31/12/2012
JRC Scientific Support - Validated methods, Reference methods and measurements
CEN  - European Committee for Standardization
ISO  - International Organization for Standardization (ISO)
  01.03
Develop certified reference materials for testing of fossil fuels to support energy efficiency and support a competitive market in raw materials.
1 certified reference material
31/12/2012
JRC Scientific Support - Reference materials
ENER  - Energy
Finnish Customs Laboratory
Laboratoire Central des Douanes
  02
Develop measurement standards and certified reference materials in the field of nanotechnology and provide scientific and technical support to policy Directorate Generals in this field in support of the Innovation Union and the Industrial Policy for the Globalisation Era.
  02.01
Develop and produce certified reference materials and quality control materials for the size measurement of nanoparticles.
1 certified reference material released
31/12/2012
JRC Scientific Support - Reference materials
ENTR  - Enterprise and Industry
SANCO  - Health and Consumers
  02.02
Contribute to standardisation in the field of nanotechnology by active participation in ISO/TC229 and CEN/TC352 in support industrial innovation in the field of nanotechnologies and an Industrial Policy for the Globalisation Era.
One documentary standard in the DIS stage
31/12/2012
JRC Scientific Support - Validated methods, Reference methods and measurements
ENTR  - Enterprise and Industry
RTD  - Research
SANCO  - Health and Consumers
CEN  - European Committee for Standardization
ISO  - International Organization for Standardization (ISO)
  02.03
Provide policy advice in the European Commision's Interservice Group on Nanoscience and technologies as well as on an ad-hoc basis to requiring DGs.
Policy support documents
31/12/2012
JRC Scientific Support - Scientific and policy reports
EMPL  - Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities
ENTR  - Enterprise and Industry
ENV  - Environment
RTD  - Research
SANCO  - Health and Consumers
  02.04
Contribute to the FP7-Project "NanoLyse" aimed at the development of methods for the detection and quantification of nanoparticles in food.
Development of 4 quality control materials
31/12/2012
JRC Scientific Support - Reference materials
RTD  - Research and Innovation
Institute of Food Safety (RIKILT)
Technical University of Vienna
University of Vienna
  03
Maximise the impact of certified reference materials funded by the European Commission by managing reference materials stock, maintaining relationships with authorised distributors, distributing reference materials to end customers, organising stability testing and providing scientific support to users.
Deliverable  03.01
3 reports summarising the results of stability testing of reference materials
31/12/2012
JRC Scientific Support - Scientific and policy reports
ENTR - Enterprise and Industry
ENV - Environment
MARKT - Internal Market and Services
SANCO - Health and Consumers
TAXUD - Taxation and Customs Union
Deliverable  03.02
Timely delivery of reference materials and scientific support to final customers and authorised distributors
31/12/2012
JRC Scientific Support - Reference materials
Chem Cos Pharm Food Agri  - Chemicals, Cosmetics, Pharmaceuticals, Food, and Agrochemicals Industry
Chem Cos Pharm Food Agri EU - Competent Authorities of EU Member States Chemicals, Cosmetics, Pharmaceuticals, Food, and Agrochemicals Industry
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