- Flexible scope accreditation guidance document for GMO testing laboratories – European co-operation for Accreditation approved version published8 April, 2014
The JRC-IRMM has recently published the second edition of the guidance document on the harmonised flexible scope accreditation related to quantitative testing of genetically modified organisms (GMOs); addressing primarily laboratory managers and assessors for ISO/IEC 17025.
- Nuclear material only for peaceful purposes: JRC releases reference material IRMM 1027p2 April, 2014
IRMM-1027p large sized dried spikes (LSD) are applied for the measurement of the uranium and plutonium content of spent fuel solutions. Used by the Euratom safeguards on-site laboratories, these reference materials are fundamental to guarantee that nuclear material is not diverted from the civil nuclear fuel cycle and misused for clandestine military purposes. By providing these series on a regular basis, the JRC is directly contributing to the effectiveness of nuclear safeguards and security systems.
- JRC releases new reference material of highly enriched uranium-233 and plutonium-24228 March, 2014
In nuclear safeguards, precise and accurate isotopic analyses are needed for two major elements from the nuclear fuel cycle: uranium and plutonium. In order to achieve confidence in comparability and reliability of measurement results in nuclear material analysis, isotopic reference materials with certified amount of plutonium and isotopic composition are indispensable. The new Reference material IRMM-046c represents a useful quality control tool for nuclear inspectors and nuclear laboratories within the nuclear safety and security framework.
- JRC and NIST explore further common areas of work in certified reference materials for nanotechnology and health-related measurement standards27 March, 2014
Representatives of the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the JRC recently met in Gaithersburg, USA to discuss the long-standing cooperation on standardisation and metrology. Both organisations have been collaborating in areas such as healthcare, nanotechnology, environmental and food analysis, with emphasis on reference materials and cutting-edge measurement methods. They also work together in various international bodies e.g. the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), the International Committee on Weights and Measures (CIPM) and the Versailles Project on Advanced Materials and Standards (VAMAS).
- Certified reference material for better monitoring of Campylobacter outbreaks25 February, 2014
The JRC releases CRM IRMM-313, a new microbiological certified reference material used to identify Campylobacter, a bacterium that causes intestinal infections. This material will help testing laboratories to standardise the molecular typing of Campylobacter bacteria by pulsed field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) analysis. This will improve the comparability of PFGE patterns and facilitate monitoring and mapping of outbreaks in support of EU legislation.
- Environmental impact of coal burning: New reference materials enable accurate measurement4 December, 2013
Three new certified reference materials to improve the quality of coal analysis have been developed by JRC IRMM for use in laboratory quality control and method validation.
- Worldwide first certified reference materials for GMO rapeseed powder mixtures4 December, 2013
JRC-IRMM releases the first rapeseed powder material certified for a GMO mass fraction world-wide. Provided that the 73496 GMO rapeseed event will be authorised for the European market, this certified reference material will help GMO testing laboratories to implement the European labelling threshold, and enabling consumers to choose their preferred food. The material can be used for calibration and quality control without the need for a grinding or mixing step.
- Training on GMO quantification: Proper calibration and estimation of measurement uncertainty28 November, 2013
On 21 and 22 November 2013, an international training course on "GMO quantification: Proper calibration and Estimation of Measurement Uncertainty" was held at the European Commission's Joint Research Centre in Geel.
- Science brings safe animal proteins back to feed for fish30 October, 2013
Today, the JRC is releasing a reference material facilitating the implementation of the new Commission regulation (EU No 56/2013¬) that re-authorised the use of processed animal proteins (PAPs) derived from non-ruminant farmed animals (i.e. mainly from pigs and poultry) in fish feed earlier this year.
- Two new certified milk powder reference materials to commemorate the World Standards Day 201314 October, 2013
Today, 14th October 2013 the JRC releases two new certified milk powder reference materials making the many measurements related to the dairy sector trustworthy and thereby ensuring safety of food products on the market.
- World Standards Week at JRC-IRMM11 October, 2013
From 14th to 18th October 2013, the JRC will host the World Standards Week at the IRMM commemorating the World Standards Day on the 14th October.
- New certified reference material for micro-analysis techniques24 September, 2013
JRC-IRMM has released IRMM-471, a new reference material certified for the carbon mass fraction of its cementite grains.
- New certified reference material for micro-analysis techniques : IRMM-47112 September, 2013
Chapeau: JRC-IRMM has released IRMM-471, a new reference material certified for the carbon mass fraction of its cementite (Fe3C) grains.
- New large-sized dried spike, IRMM-1027o12 August, 2013
As part of the successful series of large-sized dried (LSD) spikes for uranium and plutonium produced at IRMM, a new batch, labeled IRMM-1027o has been produced following ISO Guide 34:2009.
- The JRC-IRMM is now fully accredited for its services to confidence in measurements7 August, 2013
Since 1 July 2013, the whole JRC-IRMM is accredited by the Belgian Accreditation Body (BELAC) for measurement benchmarks according to ISO guidelines. This reflects the JRC-IRMM's strive for quality deliverables aiming to provide sound and evidence based scientific advice to EU policy makers.
- Supporting wastewater monitoring: a new certified reference material for heavy metals in wastewater1 August, 2013
JRC-IRMM has released ERM-CA713, a new wastewater certified reference material, developed in support of the Water Framework Directive (WFD, 2000/60/EC).
- Call for expression of interest - Experts for Certification Advisory Panels (CAPs)19 July, 2013
The IRMM is renewing the appointment of experts for Certification Advisory Panels (CAPs), which participate in the review process during the certification of reference materials.
- Warning – counterfeit certified reference materials and certificates18 July, 2013
It has been brought to our attention that a company is selling materials under our name with forged certificates. The Commission is taking the necessary steps against forgery acts concerning use of its logo for illicit purposes.
- Gaps Analysis in the Traceability Chain of Human Growth Hormone Measurements12 July, 2013
A scientific gap analysis in the traceability chain of human growth hormone measurements has been carried out and published.
- IRMM releases new certified reference material for testing the impact resistance of steel25 June, 2013
JRC-IRMM released new certified reference material enabling steel testing laboratories to check their impact test instruments (Charpy) with samples cooled to 0 °C.
- Consumer protection: JRC produces new wine authenticity CRM8 May, 2013
The JRC’s Institute for Reference Materials and Measurements has produced a successor certified reference material (STA-003m) allowing authenticity testing of wines.
- Open Day 2013 at JRC's Ispra site breaks previous record numbers7 May, 2013
On Saturday, 4 May 2013, over 10.300 visitors followed the invitation to spend a day dedicated to science exploration and discovered how the European Commission's in-house science service helps to promote growth, jobs and innovation, a healthy and safe environment, consumer protection and secure energy supplies.
- Teaching science to future generations: the JRC in Geel welcomes secondary school pupils3 May, 2013
This week a group of 26 secondary school pupils from the European School in Mol immersed themselves into five different scientific experiments; acquiring a better understanding of the need for scientific measurements and getting a new perspective on possible future careers in science.
- JRC leading example on flexible scope accreditation for GMO measurements2 May, 2013
The JRC in Geel has published today a document for the flexible scope accreditation of laboratories quantifying GMOs. This European technical guidance is the result of stakeholders' consensus; facilitating the harmonisation of the accreditation of GMO testing laboratories in Europe and at the same time enabling laboratories to measure all authorised GMO events under accreditation.
- Scientific publication from JRC-IRMM wins CITAC best paper 2012 award16 April, 2013
JRC-IRMM scientists win prize on calibration article. Proper calibration is essential for the comparability of measurement results. For instance, it ensures that production of food/feed can be properly controlled by industry and official testing laboratories; benefiting the European consumer.
- JRC presents IRMM activities to European School students in Mol4 April, 2013
JRC presents IRMM activities during the European School Open Day in Mol. Over 200 people visited the JRC-IRMM stand last 23rd March. Paola Garcia, responsible for Communication highlights: "it is amazing to see the curiosity of the children and their interest for science, the game on the importance of reference materials was very appealing to them…
- Introducing "representative test materials"21 March, 2013
JRC scientists have recently published a paper providing an overview of existing types of reference materials and introducing a new class of "representative test materials (RTM)".
- JRC publication reviews 40 years of achievements on uranium standards20 March, 2013
JRC scientists review 40 years of achievements in hexafluoride (UF6) mass spectrometry and describe the current state-of-the-art measurement techniques.
- Health: JRC higher order reference materials listed for in-vitro diagnostics18 March, 2013
In February 2013 two JRC certified reference materials have been listed as higher-order reference materials in the database of the Joint Committee for Traceability in Laboratory Medicine
- Behind the scenes: a deeper look into standardisation in health diagnostics 1 March, 2013
The JRC-IRMM presents the outcome of a feasibility study for a first reference material to be produced to standardise autoimmune disease testing.
- JRC-IRMM develops new measurement tools for isotopic measurements1 March, 2013
JRC scientists developed a new analytical tool to determine stable isotope ratios in small sample volumes.
- JRC helps promote science for girls19 December, 2012
On Saturday 24 November, around 220 girls aged between 11 and 15 attended a hands-on science day. The event was organised in the frame for the Greenlight for Girls initiative – a non-profit initiative promoting science, technology, engineering and mathematics to girls worldwide of all ages and backgrounds.
The event took place at the European School in Mol, Belgium, and researchers from the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) in nearby Geel volunteered to organise nine of the 23 scientific workshops. The main goal of the day was to get the girls involved in chemistry, biology, physics and mathematics in an interactive fun way, so as to spark their interest in these fields – an aim which is perfectly in tune with the Commission's own promotional campaign, 'Science – it's a girl thing'.
The activities organised by the JRC included 'the science of slime', 'extracting DNA from a kiwi' and the 'needle in a haystack' (a metaphor for detecting elusive particles such as neutrinos). The girls came from local schools in and around Mol, plus 40 pupils from the European School in Bergen, Netherlands. Based on the reactions of the girls in the video, the event was certainly successful in promoting studies in science.
Women continue to be under-represented in research at a time when Europe needs more researchers to foster innovation and bolster its economy. It is extremely important to attract young women to careers in research to increase the total number of researchers in Europe. There is a growing pool of female talent in Europe from which research and innovation could and should benefit.
- JRC-IRMM releases a new certified reference material for trace elements in shellfish.19 December, 2012
JRC-IRMM has released a new certified reference material (CRM) ERM-CE278k Mussel Tissue.
- Elke Anklam is the new JRC IRMM Director as from 1 January 201317 December, 2012
Ms Anklam is as of 1 January 2013, taking on the position of Director of the Institute for Reference Materials and Measurements (IRMM) in Geel, Belgium.
- Measurement Science in Chemistry – video now available!4 December, 2012
A video is now available of the graduation ceremony of the Euromaster "Measurement Science in Chemistry", which took place at the Joint Research Centre (JRC) in Geel, Belgium on 15 November 2012.
- Prof. Anne Glover CBE, the European Commission's Chief Scientific Adviser visits IRMM29 November, 2012
On Wednesday 28 November 2012, JRC-IRMM welcomed the Commission's first Chief Scientific Advisor, Prof. Anne Glover CBE, together with her assistant, Jan-Marco Müller (DG BEPA).
- Euromaster graduates have the right skills for the job16 November, 2012
On 15 November 2012, a total of 31 students were awarded their diploma supplement for the Euromaster programme, "Measurement Science in Chemistry".
- IRMM openday - video now available!18 October, 2012
A video of the JRC's open day in Geel is now available online!
The open day, which took place on 7 October 2012, attracted 738 visitors. Around 67% of visitors were of Belgian nationality, and the remaining 33% comprised 28 different nationalities. The event attracted many young, curious minds, with 26% of visitors under the age of 18.
For more information, photos and video, consult the webpage of the 2012 open day.
- EC launches public consultation on European metrology research12 October, 2012
The European Commission has launched a public consultation on "European Metrology Research Programme under Horizon 2020".
- GMO certified reference materials for AV43-6-G7 potato : ERM-BF43127 September, 2012
JRC-IRMM has released a series of GMO matrix reference materials for the potato event AV43-6-G7. These reference materials are intended for the calibration or quality control of GMO measurements carried out by GMO testing laboratories.
- Worldwide first certified reference materials for monitoring of leukaemia - ERM-AD62327 September, 2012
JRC-IRMM has released the first worldwide certified reference materials for monitoring of leukemia. The materials consist of a specifically tailored plasmid suitable for the calibration of BCR-ABL b3a2 measurements and intended to be used by medical laboratories. The calibrant will improve and standardise the monitoring of leukemia patients.
- GMO certified reference materials for DAS-40278-9 maize : ERM-BF43327 September, 2012
JRC-IRMM has released a series of GMO matrix reference materials for the maize event DAS-40278-9. These reference materials are intended for the calibration or the quality control of GMO measurements carried out by GMO testing laboratories.
- EU Contest for Young Scientists26 September, 2012
Europe's best young scientific minds met in Bratislava on Tuesday 25 September 2012 for the 24th annual Awards Ceremony for the EU Contest for Young Scientists (EUCYS). The top three prizes went to teams from Ireland, Poland and Austria for projects in Physics, Chemistry and Engineering.
- JRC report reviews measurement methods for nanoparticle sizing17 September, 2012
A new report by the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) presents an in-depth review of methods available to measure the size of nanoparticles. Following the adoption of the definition of the term 'nanomaterial' in October 2011, this report identifies relevant measurement methods and key challenges for measuring nanoparticle size in the regulatory context. The report underlines that no single measurement method can be used for all materials to determine if each of them falls within the regulatory definition. Different methods will be required depending on the material under investigation.
- JRC-IRMM releases a certified reference material for cold filter plugging point and cloud point.3 September, 2012
JRC-IRMM released ERM-FC395k, a certified reference material which supports fuel producers and fuel testing laboratories in ensuring reliable measurements of the cold filter plugging point (CFPP) and the cloud point (CP).
- Fifth International Summer School of 'Measurement Science in Chemistry' Master's degree - Update: Video available16 July, 2012
On Monday 16 July, the 5th International Summer School of the 'Measurement Science in Chemistry' Master's degree (which received the ECTNA quality lable in 2008) will start in Fatima, Portugal. This year, 52 students from eleven countries will participate, coming from Bosnia Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Chile, Estonia, Finland, France, India, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia and Turkey.
- Training early-stage researchers in quality assurance: a new TrainMiC® format4 June, 2012
A two and a half day TrainMiC® training course – co-financed by COST (European Science Foundation) – was held at JRC-IRMM for a group of 21 early-stage researchers from the Geotraces network.
- JRC method to measure feed additive becomes CEN standard25 April, 2012
The European Committee for Standardization, CEN, has adopted an analytical method developed by the JRC's Institute for Reference Materials and Measurements (IRMM) to measure the levels of the feed additive, semduramicin, in animal feeding stuffs.
- IRMM releases ERM-FD304 nanoparticle reference material 29 February, 2012
JRC-IRMM releases its second certified nanoparticle reference material in support of the new Commission definition of "nanomaterials".
- IRMM releases new reference material for DAS-68416-4 mass fraction14 February, 2012
ERM-BF432 – a certified reference material for DAS-68416-4 soya available.
- Training session on ionising radiation dosimetry in Turkey attracts 106 participants7 December, 2011
A training session organised by JRC-IRMM on 18-19 November 2011 in Çeşme, Turkey, during the Turkish National Conference of Medical Physics attracted 106 participants, comprising scientists, medical physicists and students.
- Call for expressions of interest for the provision of journalistic and editing services29 November, 2011
The IRMM is publishing 1 open position for the provision of journalistic and editing services. These positions are for external experts.
- Seven institutes decide to officialise their collaboration with TrainMiC®22 November, 2011
On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of TrainMiC®, seven institutes decided to sign an official collaboration agreement with the JRC-IRMM
- TrainMiC Anniversary new video available11 November, 2011
A video about the 10th anniversary of the JRC's TrainMiC® initiative is now available on the JRC's You Tube channel. TrainMiC® is a life-long learning programme providing training on chemical measurements to laboratory staff, researchers, teachers, decision-makers and accreditation assessors.
- A new reference material for C-reactive protein7 November, 2011
C-reactive protein (CRP) is one of the most important analytes in clinical chemistry. It is a very sensitive marker of inflammation and tissue damage. Routine clinical uses of CRP results include the diagnosis of bacterial and viral infections, the assessment of disease activity in inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, and the determination of the long-term risk of cardiovascular disease and heart attacks.
The Institute for Reference Materials and Measurements (IRMM) has released a new reference material certified for CRP. The reference material, ERM-DA474/IFCC, is the successor of ERM-DA472/IFCC and ERM-DA470, which were until recently used worldwide as the standard for CRP. These materials were on such a high demand that the production of a replacement was required. The new material will ensure continuity in the standardisation of CRP, which is crucial in clinical chemistry. It makes it possible for laboratories worldwide to use common reference ranges, and to compare results over time and between hospitals and countries.
The reference material ERM-DA474/IFCC is intended to be used to assign values to calibrators that are an integral part of in vitro diagnostic medical devices (IVD). The EU Directive on In Vitro Diagnostic Medical Devices (IVD-MD) (Directive 98/79/EC) requires traceability of calibrants and control materials to reference measurement procedures and/or reference materials of higher order. The International Federation of Clinical Chemistry (IFCC), which actively supports standardisation in clinical chemistry, has collaborated with IRMM on the development of ERM-DA474/IFCC.
The ERM-DA474/IFCC was produced from serum from blood collected in 4 blood collection centres according to a well-controlled procedure ensuring that it was obtained from healthy donors and that ERM-DA474/IFCC is most suited for the IVD devices currently available. The material was characterized using the reference material ERM-DA470 as a calibrant. For the production ERM-DA474/IFCC intensive research has been carried out on all stages of its development, from the effect of the processing on the physicochemical characteristics of the proteins to the validity of the metrological traceability chain and the commutability of the final material. These efforts have led to a different and optimised formulation of the material (e.g., liquid frozen instead of lyophilised, addition of calcium chloride), ensuring that the CRP is behaving like the protein in fresh patient samples.
The preparation of the material and its characterization are described in a comprehensive certification report, which is available together with the certificate.
- JRC Convention marks 10th anniversary of TrainMiC®11 October, 2011
On 10 October the JRC opened a three day convention to celebrate the 10th anniversary of TrainMiC®, a life-long learning programme providing chemistry metrology training to laboratory staff, researchers, educators, decision-makers and accreditation assessors.
- GMO certified reference materials for AM04-120 potato7 September, 2011
JRC-IRMM has released a series of GMO matrix reference materials for the potato event AM04-1020. These reference materials are intended for the quality control of GMO measurements carried out by GMO testing laboratories.
- Institute annual report 201031 August, 2011
The JRC-IRMM's annual report for 2010 is now available for download.
- New plutonium isotopic reference material for nuclear fuel cycle measurements (IRMM-049d)12 July, 2011
IRMM has released an isotopic reference material (IRMM-049d), for use in nuclear fuel cycle measurements.
- JRC-IRMM releases new reference material for organochlorine pesticides28 June, 2011
JRC-IRMM has released a new reference material which will enable food-testing laboratories to reliably detect and quantify organochlorine pesticides in pork fat.
- JRC-IRMM extends its range of GMO certified reference materials23 June, 2011
JRC-IRMM has extended its range of GMO certified reference materials (CRMs) and released three sets of CRMs certified for their copy number ratio for the maize events NK603 and 98140, and the soya event 356043.
- Towards international measurement standards for biofuels24 May, 2011
An international project on biofuel reference materials involving JRC-IRMM has recently published its final results.
- Ms Kathleen Van Brempt MEP visits JRC-IRMM18 May, 2011
- TrainMiC: Evolution of a growing learning community23 March, 2011
As the TrainMiC® programme celebrates its 10th anniversary, almost 6000 people have been trained since the programme started in 2001.
- New reference materials to detect oxytetracycline in milk3 March, 2011
JRC-IRMM has released two new reference materials which will enable food-testing laboratories to reliably detect and quantify oxytetracycline in milk.
Oxytetracycline is a broad-spectrum antibiotic and highly effective against many pathogenic bacteria and widely used in lactating and non-lactating dairy cattle for treatment of bacterial infections such as enteritis, pneumonia, and diphtheria. However, to protect consumers from possible adverse side effects, a maximum residue limit (MRL) of 100 μg OTC/kg milk has been stipulated in EU legislation (Commission Regulation No. 508/1999).
A set of two certified reference material is now available: oxytetracycline in partially skimmed milk (ERM-BB492) and partially skimmed milk blank material (ERM-BB493). Spray-dried milk powder was chosen for the matrix format, as it best meets the stability requirements while assuring good reconstituteability.
The reference materials are intended to be used for method validation purposes (trueness estimation) and method performance control. The certified value for ERM-BB492 is 101 ± 11 μg/kg (mean ± expanded uncertainty, k=2) and is based on an inter-laboratory characterisation study; the uncertainty value contains contributions from the characterisation study, the common calibrant, and the homogeneity and stability assessment. For ERM-BB493, the certified value was established as "< 5 µg/kg" and corresponds to the LOQ of the most sensitive method in the intercomparison. Both values are traceable to the International System of Units (SI). The material has been processed and certified in accordance to ISO Guides 34 and 35. Details about material processing and certification are described in detail in the certification report.
- First certified reference material for real-world nanoparticle size analysis21 February, 2011
The JRC's Institute for Reference Materials and Measurements (IRMM) has developed the world's first certified nanoparticle reference material based on industry-sourced nanoparticles. This new material will help ensure the comparability of measurements worldwide, thereby facilitating trade, ensuring compliance with legislation.
- New batch of nuclear reference materials for analysis of dissolved fuel solutions (IRMM-1027n)27 January, 2011
JRC-IRMM has completed a new batch of large-sized dried spikes for uranium and plutonium (IRMM-1027n). These reference materials are used to measure the uranium and plutonium content of dissolved fuel solutions using isotope dilution mass spectrometry.
- 10th anniversary of TrainMiC®19 January, 2011
This year, TrainMiC® celebrates its 10th anniversary. A competition was organised to design an anniversary logo, and the team from Bosnia and Herzegovina won the competition.
- New uranium isotopic reference material18 January, 2011
JRC-IRMM has released a new uranium reference material, suitable for for verification of inter-calibration of multi-collector mass-spectrometers, especially those equipped with multiple ion counting systems, widely applied for measurements of uranium in nuclear safeguards and earth sciences.
- New reference material: PAHs in toluene18 January, 2011
JRC-IRMM has released for distribution a certified calibration solution reference material for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) analysis: 15 PAHs in toluene (ERM-AC213).
- Bromate in drinking water: new testing method fit for purpose13 January, 2011
A study carried out by the Joint Research Centre (JRC) has opened the door to replacing the current standard method for measuring bromate in drinking water with an improved method, which is more suitable for the tighter current legislative limits.
- Two new certified reference materials for quality control of ambient air in Europe15 December, 2010
JRC-IRMM has released two new certified reference materials for the quality control of ambient air measurements in Europe. The two new CRMs have been developed to match the requirements of European legislation, in particular, the type of matrix (including the particle size) and the type and content of certified analytes. The certified reference materials, ERM-CZ100 and ERM-CZ120, were produced from fine dust that was processed in such a way as to resemble PM10 as close as possible.
The first material, ERM-CZ100, is certified for seven polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs):
and the sum of benzo[b]fluoranthene, benzo[k]fluoranthene and benzo[j]fluoranthene.
The second material, ERM-CZ120, is certified for four elements: arsenic, cadmium, nickel and lead.
The two materials are primarily intended to assess the performance of analytical methods for the analysis of selected elements and PAHs in PM10 and for validation purposes (e.g. trueness estimation). Both materials have been processed and certified in accordance to ISO Guides 34 and 35. Details about material sampling, processing and certification are described in detail in the certification reports, available together with the certificates in our online catalogue.
The monitoring of air quality is required by the European Air Quality Directives (2008/50/EC and 2004/107/EC).
- Inauguration of new building for reference material production 23 November, 2010
A new scientific facility to develop measurement standards in challenging areas such as life sciences was inaugurated on 23 November 2010 at the European Commission's Joint Research Centre in Geel, Belgium. The Flemish Minister-President, Kris Peeters, and the European Commission's Director-General for Enterprise and Industry, Heinz Zourek, performed the ribbon-cutting.
(Watch the video of the inauguration ceremony)
The European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, said: "From buying food in the supermarket to undergoing clinical tests, European citizens depend on measurements and testing to be as accurate and harmonised as possible. This is particularly important for emerging technologies, such as genetic testing and nanotechnology. This new facility will enable the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) to remain at the forefront of measurement science, by developing internationally-recognised measurement standards that are used as benchmarks in analytical laboratories across Europe and worldwide."
The new facility will be used to develop and produce reference materials, which possess a precisely-known property and are the basis for complex measurements, such as the amount of genetically modified maize or the number of bacteria in a food sample. The total cost of the facility was 11 M€ – of which 4.5 M€ was funded from revenue from JRC's reference material activities.
The reference materials developed and produced at JRC's Institute for Reference Materials and Measurements (IRMM) provide laboratories around the world with a benchmark to deliver accurate, harmonised and traceable result and help implement legislation through accurate and reliable testing, also in emerging areas such as molecular biosciences and personalised medicine.
The building features a large and flexible production hall which brings together processing and measurement equipment in an innovative manner. It will provide Europe with a unique facility for the development and production of reference materials, bridging the gap between laboratory and industrial scale. The new building also houses laboratories for the analysis of heavy metals and proteins and a special laboratory for the safe handling of biomaterials.
(Download the press release: English, Deutsch, français.)
About reference materials
There are countless examples in which accurate measurements are crucial, such as hospital blood tests, measuring the size of nanoparticles or checking shipments of foodstuffs for the presence of genetically modified organisms, and they all have a direct impact on the citizens' every day life.
Reference materials play a crucial role behind the scenes, enabling analytical laboratories over the world to carry out tests in a comparable and harmonised manner. They are used by laboratories to calibrate their instruments, to develop reliable testing methods and to perform their regular quality controls.
The JRC's Institute for Reference Materials and Measurements (IRMM) is one of the leading developers and producers of reference materials in the world, particularly in the clinical, food and GMO application areas. It currently provides over 670 reference materials, and distributes around 20,000 units per year.
Some examples of JRC-IRMM’s reference materials:
JRC-IRMM produced the world’s first ever certified reference materials for GMO quantification in food and feed in 1999, and is today recognised as a world leader in the area of GMO reference materials in food and feed.
Measurements of serum proteins are used for the diagnosis of many conditions including infection, liver or kidney disorders and the monitoring of autoimmune diseases. The JRC-IRMM's reference materials for human serum proteins are since the 1990s the de facto standards which enable laboratories worldwide to use common reference ranges in diagnosis and to compare results between hospitals and countries over time. More recently, replacement reference materials for 12 proteins were released in 2008, and a separate one for the important C-reactive protein in 2009 – which is unique in the world.
In 2009, three reference materials produced by JRC-IRMM for genetic testing became the first ever reference materials to be accepted internationally in the area of genetic testing by the Joint Committee for Traceability in Laboratory Medicine (JCTLM). These reference materials are suitable for the quality control of the identification of a human genetic mutation.
JRC-IRMM produces in addition highly specialised reference materials to check and account for irradiated nuclear fuel in nuclear safeguards applications.
The JRC Institute for Reference Materials (IRMM)
The mission of the IRMM is to promote a common and reliable European measurement system in support of EU policies. The prime objective of the IRMM is to build confidence in the comparability of measurements by the production and dissemination of internationally accepted quality assurance tools, including validated methods, reference materials, reference measurements, interlaboratory comparisons and training.
The JRC-IRMM's new building for reference material production was officially inaugurated by the Flemish Minister-President, Kris Peeters (right), and the European Commission's Director-General for Enterprise and Industry, Heinz Zourek (left), with the Director of JRC-IRMM, Krzysztof Maruszewski (centre) presiding.
The Director of JRC-IRMM, Krzysztof Maruszewski, addresses the guests during the opening ceremony. The inauguration of the new building for reference material production also marked the opening of a three-day international conference entitled "The Future of Reference Materials - Science and Innovation", held under the auspices of the Belgian Presidency of the EU.
Flemish Minister-President, Kris Peeters, inspects some processed pistachio nuts during a tour of the production hall.
- First graduates of a new European master's degree "Measurement Science in Chemistry"27 October, 2010
The first group of graduates of a new European Master's degree received their diplomas on 26 October 2010 at the JRC's Institute for Reference Materials and Measurements (IRMM) in Geel, Belgium. The degree, "Measurement Science in Chemistry", was based on training initiatives developed by JRC-IRMM.
A consortium of nine universities located in seven different European countries (Estonia, Poland, France, Portugal, Finland, Bulgaria and Slovenia) got together under the mentorship of JRC-IRMM to offer the harmonised Master's degree "Measurement Science in Chemistry". It received the "Euromaster" quality award in 2008 and two years later, the first group of 33 students graduated.
View the photos from the award ceremony.
- JRC-IRMM's open day attracts 702 visitors - photos available15 October, 2010
The Institute for Reference Materials and Measurements (IRMM) opened its doors to the public on 3 October 2010, as part of the Open Bedrijvendag initiative in Flanders.
Visitors performed hands-on experiments, and learnt about nanotechnology, particle accelerators, food safety and much more. A special 50th anniversary exhibition described the history of the institute, featuring a series of archive photos and old equipment.
The 2010 openday attracted a record number of visitors: 702 visitors with 31 different nationalities (75% Belgians). Around 23% of visitors were under the age of 18 , whilst 17% of visitors were 65 or over.
Photos from the open day are available.
- New certified reference material for mycotoxin analysis15 October, 2010
IRMM releases new reference material for mycotoxin analysis, ERM-BE375
- New certified reference material for trace elements in soil14 October, 2010
JRC-IRMM has released a new soil-based certified reference material, ERM-CC141, which has been certified for a number of trace elements.
- JRC analytical methods to measure mycotoxins in infant food become CEN standards14 October, 2010
The European Committee for Standardization, CEN, has adopted two analytical methods developed by the JRC's Institute for Reference Materials and Measurements to measure the levels of mycotoxins in infant food.
- New reference material for water quality testing6 October, 2010
JRC-IRMM has released a new water-based certified reference material (CRM), ERM-CA615, certified for seven trace elements (As, Cd, Fe, Hg, Mn, Ni and Pb). This water-based material will serve as a tailored quality control tool for the laboratories involved in the mandatory monitoring of the priority substances prescribed under the Water Framework Directive
- Visit of MEPs to IRMM, Geel29 September, 2010
A delegation from the European Parliament's Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) visited JRC-IRMM on 29 September 2010. The delegation included the Honourable Members of the European Parliament, Ivo Belet and Mario Pirillo.
- Re-certification of uranium / plutonium reference material (IRMM-046b)21 September, 2010
The reference material, IRMM-046b, has been re-certified for isotope amount content and isotopic composition, following a calibration campaign inter-linking several of IRMM's plutonium reference materials on a metrological basis, and using state-of-the-art measurement procedures.
- Changes to IRMM internet site20 September, 2010
JRC-IRMM would like to inform our internet visitors that we have recently changed the underlying software used to host the internet site.
In general, the website has retained the same look and feel. However, the new software means that the URL addresses of all the pages have changed, and this may result in out-of-date bookmarks. Please also note that the Community Reference Laboratories pages are now located in the section "European Union Reference Laboratories".
We apologise for any inconvenience caused during this transition. Please report any technical problems to: .
- Call for experts for Certification Advisory Panels published28 May, 2010
IRMM is looking for experts to participate in the review process during
reference material certification. Deadline for applications is 31 August 2010
12:00 CET. Read the call.
- Hendrik Emons becomes a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (FRSC)21 May, 2010
- New reference materials to support food labelling24 March, 2010
JRC-IRMM has released a series of new reference materials certified for food proximates and essential elements, supporting European legislation on labelling of foodstuffs.
- First announcement of reference materials symposium in Geel, Belgium, 23-25 Nov 20102 February, 2010
The symposium aims at mapping out the current and upcoming measurement and
testing needs for which challenging demands on reference materials are
envisaged. Forward-looking contributions are invited on the scientific and
technological demands and developments for the design, preparation and
certification of such measurement standards. For more information,
- JRC-IRMM announces official distributors for its reference materials, 2010-20198 January, 2010
- New cotton and maize GMO reference materials available18 December, 2009
- Latest news from the Turkey metrology project27 November, 2009
The Fifth VERMI Young Researchers Workshop on the Standardisation of
Radionuclides took place in Ankara, Turkey 1-6 November. This workshop was the
first in a series of many training events to be carried out during the
Read more: JRC-IRMM Turkey
metrology project webpage.
- New reference material application note available online26 November, 2009
JRC-IRMM has released Application Note 6 on the correct use of ERM
certificates and materials. The note describes some practical aspects
associated with handling and use of certified reference materials (CRMs) in
laboratories, and is now also available in all EU languages, as well as in
Chinese and Japanese. The various values provided on a certificate, re-use of
materials, applying a moisture correction and interpretation of the
traceability statement are also explained.
JRC-IRMM User support -
ERM Application Notes
- H. Emons receives Reference Material Achievement Award from AOAC INTERNATIONAL3 November, 2009
H. Emons received the Reference Material Achievement Award from AOAC INTERNATIONAL, for a sustained broad range of highly significant activity in the International Metrology Community including valuable contributions to the TDRM and the BERM Symposia series.
- New EU-Turkey metrology project launched27 October, 2009
A new three-year project has been launched which will bring together European and Turkish experts in measurement science.
- Reference material producers set up global consortium7 September, 2009
- RoHS Directive: New tools to measure polybrominated flame retardants11 February, 2009
JRC-IRMM has released two new certified reference materials (CRMs) to help analytical laboratories better detect two classes of flame retardants banned under the RoHS Directive.
- New uranium isotopic reference materials10 July, 2008
Latest update 14 July, 2010