2825 Challenges for Reliable Measurements Across the Boundaries Physics-Chemistry-Biology

Friday, February 18, 2011: 11:00 AM
159AB (Washington Convention Center )
Hendrik Emons , European Commission, JRC Institute for Reference Materials and Measurements, Geel, Belgium
The increased understanding of the complexity of nature including humans, the identification and handling of societal challenges including globalisation, and the advancement of technologies require sound information which is based to a large extent on measurement data. Therefore, the design, execution and evaluation of measurements are increasingly determined by the potential decision relevance of their results. Consequently, sector-specific concepts based on traditional scientific (and often also country-specific regulatory) boundaries have to be substituted by multi- and interdisciplinary approaches with global relevance and applicability.

Both scientific and regulatory developments, such as moving quantitative biology also to the molecular scale or replacing the prescription of specific measurement methods for legislative controls by minimum performance characteristics of acceptable control methods, require the advancement of measurement science and the provision of new metrological tools. Among the most crucial ones are globally harmonized and accepted reference measurement systems allowing the long-term and worldwide comparability of measurement results. Their development and implementation seem to be relatively simple for parameters such as time or length, even if the latter one faces significant challenges in the nanosciences, but are certainly very challenging for human health markers, environmental quality parameters etc.

The presentation will be directed to recent progress of and further demands on the benchmarking of measurements across scientific and geographical boundaries. The need for the identification and scientifically sound definition of crucial measurands, especially for parameters used to describe critical chemical or biological 'activities', will be highlighted. Possibilities for the dissemination of metrological traceability for decision-relevant measurement results and the reliable estimation of their uncertainties will be discussed for laboratory medicine, food control and trading of genetically modified products. Moreover, challenges for research towards measurement benchmarks which are adequately reflecting the increasing level of the considered structural and/or functional complexity of test samples will be outlined.

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