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Posted: December 3, 2008
Europe will establish the European Metrology Research Program
(Nanowerk News) The Commission has adopted today a proposal for co-decision of the European Parliament and Council to set up a joint European Research Programme in the field of Metrology (EMRP), the science of measurement. This proposal, based on article 169(1) of the Treaty, will establish a European Metrology Research Programme (EMRP) bringing together 22 national metrology research programmes from of a large a number of Member States and associated countries to the Framework Programme 7 (FP7): Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom as well as Norway, Switzerland and Turkey. An "Article 169 initiative", the EMRP is expected to be financed jointly by the 22 participating Member States (EUR 200 million) and through an expected Community contribution of EUR 200 million.
Metrology is a key contributor to technological and economical development. Metrology research is needed to solve societal problems, and examples affect areas such as healthcare, semiconductor industry, climate change, space, security. It is also a key supporting activity for regulation and standardisation in Europe and internationally.
The EMRP programme description defines the common research themes between the participating national programmes which will be integrated into a single joint programme which should guarantee true scientific integration.
The novelty of this initiative will ensure that in future a large portion of national research funding will be attributed throughout Europe in a competitive way based on scientific excellence.
The Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) requires a dedicated structure for the implementation and management of “Article 169” initiatives. The dedicated implementation structure of the EMRP shall be EURAMET e.V., which was established in 2007 under German law as a non-profit association. A part of EMRP funding is accessible to any relevant proposer from any Member State or Associated Country of the Seventh Framework programme. Furthermore any new partners being a Member State or an Associated Country to the Seventh Framework Programme shall be fully entitled to join the EMRP in accordance with the criteria as set out in the Commission decision.
The earliest example of the importance of quality of measurement in the construction of society can be traced back as early as 3000 BC. The “cubit” introduced as the first known unit of length and used to construct the pyramids, was defined as the length of the Pharaoh’s forearm plus the width of his palm. During the time of King Cheops, the great pyramid of Giza was built with this system and the uniformity of length measurement was achieved to a relative accuracy of 0.05 % over a distance of 230 m.
Modern European metrology has its roots in the French Revolution, with the political motivation to harmonize units all over France and the concept of establishing units of measurement available "for all people, for all time". Metrology is contributing largely to the technological and economical development of many nations in the world. Metrology research is needed to solve societal problems, and examples affect areas such as healthcare, the semiconductor industry, climate change, space, security and as a supporting activity for regulation and standardisation. Advances in metrology research have been pushed forward during the last 200 years, however this was mainly at the national level, whereas very little coordination of metrology research programmes took place at the European level.
1) "In implementing the multiannual framework programme, the Community may make provision, in agreement with the Member States concerned, for participation in research and development programmes undertaken by several Member States, including participation in the structures created for the execution of those programmes" (see A169 website for more information: http://cordis.europa.eu/fp7/art169/about-169_en.html).