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The European Metrology Research Programme (EMRP)

The European Metrology Research Programme (EMRP)

August 7, 2013 (HE79).  Metrology – the science of correct measurement – is an essential cornerstone of our industrialized society which is based on the division of labour. The role and the further development of metrology is of extraordinary strategic importance for Europe. This is also reflected in the fact that a coordinated European Metrology Research Programme (EMRP) was launched with the support of the European Union – first within the scope of the 7th EU Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development, subsequently as a measure under  Article 185 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

National metrology institutes from 23 European partner countries have joined together to form the "European Metrology Research Programme" (EMRP) under the auspices of EURAMET (European Association of National Metrology Institutes). The metrological institutes acting under this umbrella contribute jointly, through cross-border research and development, to solving the great challenges we are currently faced with – for example, efficient energy and resource management and climate change. The European Metrology Research Programme has a term of seven years and a budget of 400 million euros – half of which is contributed by the participating countries themselves, the other half by the EU. Every year, decisions on new research projects are made which are based on the vote of an international group of experts. The preceding programme, iMERA-Plus (abbreviation of: "implementing Metrology in the European Research Area"), which ran between 2007 and 2011, already had a funding volume of 64.6 million euros. With this strategy of conducting joint research, fields of interest that are particularly relevant for Europe can be investigated in a subject-specific way. This kind of research contributes significantly to overcoming the fragmentation of the funding within the European research landscape and to exploiting synergies.

Each research project has a term of three years. The contents of the projects are chosen according to Targeted Programmes (TPs), so that the research is conducted in a focused way and considerable progress is attained. On the basis of annual programme calls, the projects to be funded are determined for individual subjects. All projects are realized in close cooperation with the interested parties, among others from industry, from associations, and from organizations and institutions that are relevant for the fields of the environment or health. The network of partners from the participating member states makes it possible to provide the critical mass which is necessary to achieve, within the scope of excellent research, comprehensive progress in innovations.

Superconducting electronic components are used as tools for sensitive and precise measurements in several areas of metrology and hence, the development and application of superconducting sensors is an issue in several projects of the iMERA-Plus and the EMRP programmes. Just to give a few examples, in the framework of the project   „Nanomagnetism and Spintronics” nanoSQUID systems have been developed for ultrasensitive magnetic moment detection. Cryogenic current comparators (CCCs) equipped with SQUIDs have been used in the project „Enabling ultimate metrological quantum Hall effect (QHE) devices“. Those CCCs are also key instruments in the project „Quantum ampere: Realisation of the new SI ampere“. The currently running project „Metrology with/for NEMS“ is focused on the development of micro and nano mechanical resonators where SQUID based readout techniques play an important role. Even in other projects, superconducting devices such as Transition Edge Sensors (TES) and SQUID-based noise thermometers are applied to metrological tasks or their traceability is considered. You will find more details of the programme and the projects on the EURAMET website Furthermore, you can get there information about the calls even in the follow-up programme EMPIR and conditions of participation. Via the EURAMET website you can also reach the Programme’s Newsletter; its eight issue appeared recently, see

Corinna Kroner, PTB
Thomas Schurig, PTB