National Physical Laboratory

What is NPL? What is NPL?

The National Physical Laboratory (NPL) is the UK's National Measurement Institute, and is a world-leading centre of excellence in developing and applying the most accurate measurement standards, science and technology available.


To be a National Science and Technology Laboratory for Government and Business undertaking work in the national interest to deliver social and economic impact through world-class measurement science, innovative applied research and knowledge services.


To provide the measurement capability that underpins the UK's prosperity and quality of life.


  • Delivering excellent responsive science and knowledge services
  • National and International status and influence: a world leading National Measurement Institute
  • The NMI that best demonstrates social and economic impact
  • Organic growth and step change initiatives to deliver a growing and sustainable business

For more than a century NPL has developed and maintained the nation's primary measurement standards.

These standards underpin the National Measurement System infrastructure of traceability throughout the UK and the world that ensures accuracy and consistency of measurement. NPL ensures that cutting-edge measurement science and technology have a positive impact in the real world. NPL delivers world-leading measurement solutions that are critical to commercial research and development, and support business success across the UK and the globe.

Good measurement improves productivity and quality; it underpins consumer confidence and trade and is vital to innovation. We undertake research and share our expertise with government, business and society to help enhance economic performance and the quality of life. NPL's measurements help to save lives, protect the environment, enable citizens to feel safe and secure, as well as supporting international trade and companies to innovation. Support in areas such as the development of advanced medical treatments and environmental monitoring helps secure a better quality of life for all.

NPL employs over 500 scientists, based in south-west London. Our laboratory is a 36,000 square-metre purpose-built measurement building with 388 of the world's most extensive and sophisticated measurement science laboratories.

Visit Publications to view the latest Annual Report and NPL Financial Statements.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) owns NPL Management Limited (NPLML) and NPL operates as a public corporation.


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