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Research and development programme (EEC) in the field of applied metrology and chemical analysis (Community Bureau of Reference - BCR), 1988-1992

Part of the Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (1987-1991) under subactivity 3.4.: "Technical standards, measurement methods and reference materials".

Research concentrates on:
- Intercomparisons of laboratory measuring programmes in different Member States;
- Improvement of methods of analysis and instrumentation;
- Development of transfer standards and preparation and distribution of reference materials;
- Support for the setting-up of inter- laboratory circuits for quality assurance at Community level.
To improve the reliability of chemical analyses and physical measurements (applied metrology) so as to achieve agreements of results in all Member States, and to ensure that, with the achievement of the internal market by the end of 1992, the analysis and measurement laboratories of all Member States will have the technical means necessary to guarantee the uniform application of standards, technical regulations and directives.
Priority fields:

- Analyses for food and agriculture. In particular: analysis of livestock and analysis of the quality of processed food;

- Analyses related to the environment. In particular: determination of traces of dangerous compounds, determination of air pollutants in the workplace and mutagenicity of chemical substances;

- Biomedical analyses, with priority for the determination of enzymes and hormones (in human serum), haematological tests (e.g. blood coagulation), analyses related to cardiovascular diseases and analyses of tumour markers and drugs in the human body;

- Analyses of (essentially non-ferrous) metals and surface analysis of materials;

- Applied metrology: the emphasis is placed on the measurement and calibration of the most important parameters for test laboratories, particularly quality control.
The Commission is responsible for the execution of the programme, assisted by the Management and Coordination Advisory Committee (CGC) on Scientific and Technological Standards.

The major part of the expenditure is committed through shared-cost contracts. Service work under contract is also required, in particular for the preparation of batches of reference material samples and for the storage and distribution of samples. Coordination contracts are also included in the programme.

The participants may be industrial organizations, research institutes, laboratories and universities established in the Community.

Selection criteria are based on the correspondence of the technical objectives with one of the priority themes of the programme, their economic importance or their importance with respect to the environment or health care, and the number of countries interested.

For projects involving a succession of intercomparisons, the Community will cover the costs of collaboration (meetings, samples, evaluation of results, etc), while the costs of the measurement will be borne by the participants; in the case of those including substantial research and development, the financial contribution of the Commission can be up to 50% of the cost of the work, while projects or parts of projects which are pure services (e.g. the development of appropriate samples for analysis) will be financed 100% by the Community.

The Commission also offers scholarships for doctorate and post-doctorate work in the content of the programme. The Commission gives special attention to supporting the secondment of scientific personnel, particularly from Spain, Portugal and Greece, in order to accelerate the training of specialists.

The Commission may negotiate agreements with non- Member States and international organizations, in particular with those countries participating in COST, and those who have concluded framework agreements in scientific and technical cooperation with the Community, with a view to associating them with the programme.

In the field of metrology, the results of intercomparisons are automatically disseminated through the participating laboratories. These are responsible for providing calibrations to all users in their respective countries. In the field of analytical chemistry (no central dissemination of results) projects often include the preparation of reference materials to allow dissemination of results to other laboratories.

At the end of the third year, the Commission will submit a report on the results achieved to the European Parliament and the Council/Member States. A report on the performance and results will also be submitted at the end of the programme.