Sign up for NPL updates
Sign up for NPL updates

Receive regular emails from NPL to get a glimpse of our activities and see how our experts are informing and influencing scientific debate


Technology and Measurement Foresighting

A vision of the 2030s shaped by metrology

Technology and Measurement Foresighting identifies major trends in the future of society and industry, analyses which technologies will be vital to enable them, and explores their implications on metrology. These trends have been grouped according to industry: 
Built environment, Energy, Food production, Healthcare, Manufacturing and Transport. 

As the pace of technological change accelerates, society needs to adapt to realise the full benefits and opportunities.  Whether it’s driving the green recovery or ensuring intelligent use of data, the UK’s position as a science superpower, in part, depends on looking to the future and being one step ahead. 

Accurate measurement matters  

NPL, the UK’s National Metrology Institute, has identified key technological advances and investigated the measurements required for society to adopt them with confidence. Measurement science ensures the safety, reliability and robustness of new technology. NPL continuously studies trends in technology, explores their implications and prepares for probable future outcomes.

Contact us

Technology and Measurement Foresighting booklet

Technology and Measurement Foresighting

NPL's wide-ranging review of society and technology: 

  • identify major trends in the future of society and industry 

  • analyse which technologies will be vital to enable them 

  • explore their implications on metrology- the science of measurement  

As the UK's National Metrology Institute, NPL has a unique perspective on technology change and has a key role to play in enabling these changes.

Drivers of change

Drivers of change are the pressures that make society evolve or industry develop. They may include legislation, environmental considerations, changes in human behaviour, cultural differences or financial factors. Technology and Measurement Foresighting identified three drivers of change:

  1. Wellbeing  
  2. Enterprise  
  3. Sustainability  

These three drivers are seen in every industry and country, and will impact all of us. We used these drivers to analyse industries and highlight which technologies are key for the future.  

Discover more about Key technology trends


COVID-19: a new driver?

As the Technology and Measurement Foresighting project drew to a close, the coronavirus caused drastic changes in our society. Was this a new driver or did we predict a global pandemic? 

Discover more about the Impact of COVID-19 


NPL developed visions for six example industries to give insights into possible developments in the 2030s. There are many technical advances, which may have multiple applications across multiple industries and may be ubiquitous in the future.

Metrology enables technology

Technology changes make constant demands on metrology and measurement systems. In order to have confidence in emerging technology, encourage widespread adoption and safe roll out we need to develop the measurement infrastructure in parallel with these advances.

Technology and Measurement Foresighting has determined that metrology in the 2030s will have three key priorities:  

  1. Metrology to support a digitally enabled global measurement infrastructure
  2. Metrology to improve understanding of complex systems
  3. Metrology to give confidence in decision making

Discover more about The future of metrology

Other information

These links provide more detail on Technology and Measurement Foresighting.

Work with us

Our research and measurement solutions support innovation and product development. We work with companies to deliver business advantage and commercial success.
Contact our Customer Services team on +44 20 8943 7070