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About us

International reach

Measurement experts with an international mindset

NPL is a leading National Metrology Institute (NMI), a centre for world-class applied scientific research and a supplier of commercial technical and metrology services to governments and businesses in the UK and overseas. NPL’s international activity is central to its vision and mission. Collaboration is an essential part of the way that we work, and we welcome customers and partners from all over the world.

Secondments provide a particularly good way of sharing knowledge and nurturing long term collaborations. The transfer of researchers to or from NPL is an excellent method to broaden knowledge and help spread best practice in metrology. Hosting overseas students, through our Post-Graduate Institute, is a valuable way of jointly developing new knowledge and building international relationships. 

Worldwide metrology relies on co-operation

Metrology is the science of measurement and is key to international trade and research. Worldwide metrology at the highest level operates through a well-established network of National Metrology Institutes (NMIs) and Designated Institutes (DIs) which collaborate to maintain the international system of units (SI). NPL is a leading member of this global community and represents the UK in the organisations and arrangements that ensure the worldwide equivalence of measurements. We are the UK signatory of the Comité International des Poids et Mesures Mutual Recognition Arrangement (CIPM-MRA), and NPL is represented on all the Consultative Committees comprised of international experts in each of the metrological disciplines.

NPL is the UK member of EURAMET (The European Association of National Metrology Institute), and an active participant in European research projects and European Metrology Networks. The Management Support Unit for EURAMET/EU funded metrology research programmes is hosted at NPL.

See projects that NPL is involved with

NPL represents the UK, or is an active participant, in a number of other international committees, organisations and arrangements, including the Versailles Project on Advanced Materials and Standards (VAMAS), the International Measurement Confederation (IMEKO), the NCSL International and the International Congress of Metrology (CIM). NPL is also an Associate Member of the Asia-Pacific Metrology Programme (APMP), which is a reflection of its growing interests in that region.

Find out more about Worldwide metrology

International Secondment Scheme

NPL’s International Secondment Scheme facilitates the building of strategic relationships with partner organisations, with a focus on nurturing links between individual scientists. Secondments are an opportunity to increase access to resources worldwide and share knowledge.  They support the development of science and engineering and are an opportunity to:

  • start or develop collaborations
  • learn a new technique or method
  • build new connections or reinforce existing relationships
  • develop in your career

Secondments are supported from all over the world, however countries aligned to the UK Government strategy will be prioritised. The International Secondment Scheme is only able to help fund travel and subsistence, not your time. You would remain employed by your current employer.

If you are based outside the UK and interested in a secondment to NPL, we recommend talking to your counterpart in NPL to identify the project or collaboration. They will be able to guide you through the application process and host your secondment.For any other questions, please contact us.

Contact us

International traceability and standardisation

As a National Metrology Institute (NMI), the development of standards for organisations such as the International Standards Organisation (ISO) is an essential component of our work.

Traceability is the property of a measurement or the value of a standard, which means it can be related to stated references, usually national or international standards, through an unbroken chain of comparisons, all having stated uncertainties. Standards and traceability are important to ensure that measurements are comparable between laboratories, that data are defendable and meet the accreditation standards often required in industry.

We play a key role in the wider quality infrastructure, along with other bodies (BSI, UKAS, Office of Product Safety and Standardisation) contributing to the development of international standards for global trade where measurement is important. NPL provides advice and information to industry, regulators and academia on a range of international metrology issues. We liaise closely with other bodies that share similar issues and provide services that benefit industry.

Find out more about Worldwide metrology

International team

Lesley Lenssen

Lesley Lenssen

International manager

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