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The Measure of our Success 2022

We help the UK to be safer, healthier, greener and more prosperous

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Underpinning future emissions monitoring

We are developing and improving new and existing measurement infrastructure to provide the essential capability for monitoring the sources and sinks of greenhouse gases in the UK. NPL is leading a £5 million programme which will build a more detailed measurement of greenhouse gas emissions, which is crucial for demonstrating progress towards net zero.

Read our emissions monitoring news story

TRUTHS mission receives funding at 2022 European Space Agency Council of Ministers meeting

TRUTHS, the NPL conceived climate mission, which aims to facilitate improved understanding of changes in the Earth’s climate, becomes a founding element of a future ‘international climate and calibration observatory’ in space alongside NASA’s CLARREO pathfinder mission. This new generation of explicitly designed SI-Traceable Satellites (SITSats) look to help enable a new age in climate quality observations of the Earth.

Read our Earth observation news story

Sam Gnaniah working in the Advanced Engineering Materials lab Sam Gnaniah working in the Advanced Engineering Materials lab

Validating satellite measurements of the ocean’s temperature

NPL has successfully piloted an international comparison to underpin climate-critical sea surface temperature measurements which will ensure satellite measurements of the ocean’s temperature are validated through internationally consistent measurements and ensure trust in the satellite observations.  

Read our satellite observation news story

Improving yield estimates in bifacial photovoltaics and boosting expertise with RINA Tech UK

NPL partnered with RINA Tech UK to develop uncertainty calculation tools to assess the risks associated with bi-facial photovoltaics (BFPV) for solar farm sites. This has generated a new methodology for risk forecasting, which has been standardised so that any site can use the same process. The work shows that by using BFPV a medium-sized 50 MWp solar farm could save up to £100,000 per year in costs and facilitate around £0.3-1 billion of new BFPV systems.

Read our photovoltaics case study

NPL staff worker working in lab NPL staff worker working in lab

Accelerating the production of composites to decarbonise aviation with TISICS

NPL used Tip Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (TERS) to investigate nanoscale changes in composition during the production of metal composites by TISICS. This allowed them to adapt their process and increase production rate by 20%. This will reduce manufacturing costs, allowing TISICS to provide materials for greener aircraft, spacecraft and vehicles, and help industry move towards net zero.

“Working with NPL ensures we underpin the engineering of our products with the science necessary for flight qualification requirements. Adoption of innovative technologies that exist today will allow global connectivity to continue without increasing harmful emissions and accelerate aviation towards a net zero future.” - Stephen Kyle-Henney - Managing Director, TISICS

Read our composites case study

Improving quality assurance of space mission data with Telespazio UK

NPL has developed an assessment framework to provide quality assurance for the earth observation data generated from commercial satellite missions. Enabling commercial vendors to develop the evidence to build confidence in their data. NPL is working in collaboration with Telespazio UK to develop the framework which is being adopted internationally, and is now being trialled by NASA.

Via this assessment framework, NPL and Telespazio are working to ensure space agencies can take full advantage of the increased range of available data from non-ESA operated missions and perform early data assessments to ensure data products are consistently fit for purpose. 

Read our earth observation data news story

Piero Miloro in the Ultrasound & Underwater Acoustic labs Piero Miloro in the Ultrasound & Underwater Acoustic labs

Visualising greenhouse gas emissions and supporting reduction measures with QLM

NPL helped QLM quantify laser behaviour to advance its portable system for emissions monitoring at industrial facilities, reducing their time to market by 6-12 months. QLM can now offer an affordable and scalable solution for measuring greenhouse gas emissions, backed by trustworthy data. This will enable them to encourage a wide range of industries to use their new portable equipment to monitor CO2 and support their emission reduction measures.

Read our greenhouse gas emissions case study

Supporting the NHS

NPL provided services to 52 NHS trusts and cancer centres in 2022. Over 98% of the jobs delivered for these were related to assuring safe and accurate delivery of radiotherapy through access to NPL's radioactivity standards and expertise in calibration.

Leaders and aspiring leaders in healthcare science

NPL people NPL people

Cancer Grand Challenge: Mapping cancer

In its penultimate year the ROSETTA Cancer Grand Challenge consortium, led by NPL's Professor Josephine Bunch, continued to build on previous research identifying phenotypic features of tumours and the localised tumour environment for breast, glioblastoma, colorectal and pancreatic cancers. These insights to tumour metabolism have the potential to deliver new targets for the diagnosis, treatment and understanding prognosis in key cancers. Highlights of the teams work over the past 6 years include:

  • Determination of three metabolic sub types of Glioblastoma (GBM), showing territories that are sufficiently large as to be imaging in the clinic using 2H MRI
  • Identifying vitamin B5 as a targetable biomarker of increased oxidative metabolism associated with increased MYC gene amplified tumours in breast
  • Demonstration of real-time diagnosis of PIK3CA mutant breast tumours using the iKnife technology (Koundouros et al., Cell, 2020)
  • Identifying the amino acid transporter SLC7A5 as a new target for both KRAS mutant colorectal cancer and pancreatic cancer (Najumudeen et al, Nat. Genetics, 2021) and the methionine cycle as a vulnerability in colorectal cancer (Vande Voorde et al, Nat. Metabolism, 2023)
  • Investigating metabolic mechanisms in drug resistance, showing sub-type stratification - including BRAF, HRAS, KRAS, PIK3CA and NRAS mutations
  • Innovating new technologies for patient screening, ex vivo analysis and surgical interventions.

The ROSETTA consortium has shown that they can map metabolic networks of tumours and the tumour microenvironment to correlate with underlying genetic alterations. In summary, Rosetta has provided compelling evidence that metabolic imaging can be used to segment and therapeutically target cancer.

Cancer Grand Challenges Rosetta Project

Characterising hydrogels for personalised cancer treatment with PearBio

NPL used scanning electron microscopy and rheology to characterise and provide structural information on PearBio’s novel hydrogels which can be used as cell scaffolds for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. The results contributed to an FDA pre-submission towards the accreditation of the PearBio platform and clinical workflow.  

“Overall, the projected carried out with NPL helped the advancement of our technology towards our goal and commitment of stopping the spread of cancer." - Gaston Primo- Scientist at PearBio

Read our characterising hydrogels case study

NPL staff in lab

Significantly improving breast cancer outcomes

An innovative ultrasonic detection technique, which will aid earlier diagnosis and treatment of cancer and help manufacturers develop better products, has been demonstrated with the first in-person measurements of breast tissue. In comparison to X-ray mammography, this new technology is less invasive, more comfortable and completely safe as it eliminates risks associated with exposure to ionising radiation.

Read our innovative ultrasonic news story

Awarded for impact in the field of surface analysis

Gustavo TrindadeGustavo Trindade, Senior Research Scientist was awarded the Vickerman Prize by the UK Surface Analysis Forum for his work in the National Centre of Excellence in Mass Spectrometry Imaging and OrbiSIMS metrology which is anticipated to have a major impact in the field of surface analysis.

Read more about our impact in surface analysis

New subcellular imaging to support pharmaceutical innovation

NPL has developed a new NanoSIMS imaging technique to reduce attrition in drug development. This enables drug developers to pinpoint which drugs permeate the blood-brain barrier more efficiently. This will help to speed up the development of more feasible drugs and enable resources to be directed to the most promising candidates, reducing costs and speeding up the process.

Read our NanoSIMS imaging case study

Caterina Minelli of Surface Technology group 'Filling the Hydro SV cuvette, a low volume accessory for the Mastersizer 3000 laser diffraction instrument Caterina Minelli of Surface Technology group 'Filling the Hydro SV cuvette, a low volume accessory for the Mastersizer 3000 laser diffraction instrument

UK Telecoms Lab to be operated by NPL

NPL will lead the state-of-the-art UK Telecoms Lab (UKTL) on behalf of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). UKTL will provide independent test and evaluation capability and enhance confidence in the resilience and security of telecommunication systems that will be deployed in the UK. Recruitment is already underway providing 20 skilled local jobs in Solihull and the surrounding areas.

UK Telecoms Lab Logo

Read about the state-of-the-art UK Telecoms Lab (UKTL)

Marco Schioppo received the young scientist award for contributions to ultrastable lasers

Marco Schioppo

Marco Schioppo, Senior Research Scientist received the Executive Committee of the European Frequency and Time Forum (EFTF) Young Scientist Award, for his contributions to ultrastable lasers and measurement precision in optical frequency metrology, which have impacted the characterisation of optical atomic clocks.

Read more about Marco Schioppo

Podcast: What does time mean for business?

Leon Lobo, Head of the National Timing Centre, and Ali Ashkhasi, Senior Research Scientist, spoke on the Telehouse: Making Connections podcast. They discussed the role of time-as-a-service, how businesses can leverage this and how organisations are synchronising and accurately timestamping events.

Leon Lobo and Ali Ashkhasi discussing time-as-a-service with Nick Layzell in podcast studio

Listen to the podcast

Learn how resilient time will enable the evolution of the digital infrastructure for the UK

NTC released The Introduction to Time and Frequency Metrology training course to address the skills gap within the industry and assist new career entrants develop time and frequency knowledge. The course attracted more than 400 enrolments improving skills and expertise for UK industry.

Yellow buoy with panels on side which look like solar panels on the back of a vehicle with the sea on a sunny day in the background Yellow buoy with panels on side which look like solar panels on the back of a vehicle with the sea on a sunny day in the background

Pioneering reliable 5G infrastructure at sea with JET Connectivity

Improving the communications infrastructure and enabling high-speed 5G connectivity at sea is vital for the collection and transmission of data required by the marine industry. NPL is collaborating with JET Connectivity to develop high-speed 5G connectivity at sea to improve the communications infrastructure particularly in areas that currently have no GNSS coverage. This will help develop reliable connectivity for offshore teams and enable real-time information.   

Read our 5G connectivity news story


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