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World Metrology Day 2020

Measurements for global trade

NPL supports trade, industry and commerce

The current global pandemic reminds us of the vital role that metrology plays in supporting global measurement systems and helping society function. Never has it been so important to be able to trust temperature measurements or ensure that oxygen supplies are the correct purity. At this time NPL is focused on using our expertise and knowledge to tackle the multitude of challenges that COVID-19 has presented and helping society respond and recover.

Providing vital services

Despite the lock down of so much of ‘normal’ life, NPL’s work has been ongoing. We have been providing timing services on behalf of the government, for example for reliable high-speed financial trading. We have also been supporting healthcare services and the medical supply chain with calibration, quality assurance, product certification and more. Our critical support to the nuclear industry and for environmental monitoring has also been continuing.

Supporting the economic recovery

The current situation is an important reminder of how vital our ‘usual’ metrology services are in keeping countries running – from calibration services to tricky measurement challenges.The pandemic has spurred us on to be innovative and creative so that we can lead the world in providing confidence in solutions to new measurement problems, such as COVID-19 virus or antibody testing. We are now working with government to provide the support that UK industry needs to recover.

Find out about Covid-19 support

Enabling global trade

NPL is the UK’s National Metrology Institute and is active all over the UK.

Over the last three years we have worked with more than 1,200 international customers in more than 80 countries, shown by the shaded areas on this map. 

We chair more than 100 committees and participate in nearly 300, including those organised by BSI, ISO, CIPM, CEN and Euramet. 

World map

An important time for metrology

Dr Pete Thompson, NPL’s Chief Executive Officer, explains why measurement science is vital to so many technical challenges.


Measurement at home

Our weekly challenges are a chance for everyone to have some fun and learn about the science of measurement. This week's Measurement at Home   challenge is to invent a useful or crazy unit to measure something that is important to you.

Can you dream up a new measurement unit?

Supporting the development of the SI

2019 was a landmark year in metrology, with four of the SI units being redefined in terms of constants of nature. NPL was proud to play a key part in this process and is now working to continuously improve the realisation and dissemination of the SI units. To do this we work in close collaboration with other National Metrology Institutes, as well as leading researchers in this area.

Being part of an international community with a common purpose to get these things right, and ensure the accuracy and confidence in measurements is a really great part of the job.

Richard Brown - Head of Metrology

Read Richard Brown’s article celebrating World Metrology Day

Find out more about NPL’s current research into the SI units

Find out more about World Metrology Day

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