National Physical Laboratory

EMPIR launch

An opportunity to participate with the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) in a European programme for measurement research.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto
Image courtesy of iStockphoto

The European Metrology Programme for Innovation and Research (EMPIR) - a €600 million, 10-year programme run in accordance with Horizon 2020 rules - has launched its first call for potential research topics to address the needs of Industry. This is your chance to define an industrial need for measurement science in order to drive innovation and accelerate the development of new products.

EMPIR follows on from the success of the European Metrology Research Programme (EMRP), which provided matched funding to member states and academia from the EU for 119 separate three-year projects in measurement science, with the final selection of projects made in 2013. A programme based on annual calls, EMPIR will address Grand Challenges (e.g. health, energy and the environment), the SI system, standards development and metrology for innovation and industry.

One of the major differences between EMPIR and the EMRP is that the level of participation of organisations outside the National Measurement Institute (NMI) community has been raised from 10% to 15%, which will translate into an estimated £30 million funding for UK organisations over the duration of the programme. This means that EMPIR represents a significant opportunity for NPL and industry to work together on contracted research over a fixed timescale, in order to deliver true value and impact to the industrial community.

How does it work?

Each Call is a two stage process: the first stage is intended to solicit the needs for new metrology from any organisation or individual willing to contribute; in the second stage, ideas are consolidated into a specific set of research topics against which organisations can form bidding groups to work on.

Stage 1 of the first EMPIR Call was launched on 3 February 2014, with a request for Potential Research Topics (PRTs) to address the needs of Industry. This stage of the Call will run until 18 March 2014 and details of the requirements, and of how to submit a PRT, are available on the EMPIR website.

Why does NPL want industry involved?

The PRT should be a definition of an industrial need for new metrology, in order to drive innovation in production, or facilitate new or improved products. There should also be a clear indication of the route to improved competitiveness and increased turnover. Consequently, involvement of industrial organisations will be key to success in this Call, and PRTs should demonstrate industrial support and how they might become involved.

NPL spends a great deal of time trying to understand industrial needs and will submit a number of ideas based on its interpretation of the requirements. However, it may be that other industrial or academic organisations have additional unmet needs and it could also be appropriate for these organisations to contribute to a PRT.

Consequently, NPL would like you to consider this opportunity to influence the direction of this Call and potentially participate in a bidding consortium later in the year. Although it should be noted that participation in Stage 1 of the Call process does not imply any commitment whatsoever to continue into Stage 2.

Regardless of where the requirements come from, a successful project would be carried out mostly by the NMI community, but with a strong contribution from academia or industrial research organisations and a clear route to improved European competitiveness evidenced by involvement from industrial end users. The expectation is that this will strengthen existing links and that such a collaboration would deliver research of visible value and impact to the industrial community, which would lead to further opportunities.

What are the next steps?

For further information on EMPIR, visit the EURAMET website and review the call documentation on the EMPIR website.

Please contact Neil Campbell (Tel: 020 8943 8724) to discuss your needs for industrial metrology and how they might be met with R&D investment.

Last Updated: 7 Feb 2014
Created: 6 Feb 2014