Aims and Scope of the European Centre for Mathematics and Statistics in Metrology


Markus Bär1, Clemens Elster1, Alistair Forbes2, Nicolas Fischer3, Clare Matthews2, Leslie Pendrill4
1Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB), Braunschweig & Berlin, Germany
2National Physical Laboratory (NPL), Hampton Road, Teddington, Middlesex TW11 0LW, UK
3Laboratoire national de métrologie et d'essais (LNE), 1 rue Gaston Boissier, 75724 Paris cedex 15, France
4Sveriges Tekniska Forskningsinstitut (SP), Brinellgatan 4, SE-504 62 Borås, Sweden




This project aims at a substantial extension of the mathematical infrastructure for metrology in Europe. Collaboration between European NMIs with mathematical and statistical expertise is essential to ensure wide take-up of the project outputs and to maintain Europe’s current leading role in mathematics for metrology. The established  MATHMET – A European Centre for Mathematics and Statistics in Metrologyis based on the following concept paper and  is currently carried by four NMIs that were also key members of the NEW04 JRP-Consortium. MATHMET will  disseminate results internationally through its webpage,  via a conference series (next event in November 2016), through sessions to other metrology conference (Metrologie Congress, IMEKO events) and dedicated topical workshops. It will also establish joint research projects. It is open for application of further European NMIs for membership. The MATHMET European Centre for Mathematics and Statistics in Metrology was established in its final form in January 2016. For more information consult Opens external link in new

Backround and Need

Already today, mathematical and statistical methods are integral parts of many measurement procedures. The next generation of metrology systems will rely on further advances in applied mathematics, statistics, numerical computation and the underpinning ICT. It is necessary, e.g., to develop reliable mathematical models and to enhance the capabilities for statistical data analysis. It will also become increasingly important to develop appropriate models and statistical approaches to obtain reliable measurement uncertainty budgets and to ensure the integrity of the measurement processes for complex systems. Standard approaches fail to describe such systems and therefore more general concepts and guidance are required to deal with these challenges.
Improvement of modern metrology therefore requires expert knowledge in mathematical and statistical methods and access to related state-of-the-art computational tools. No single European NMI can supply all the required expert knowledge on its own. Many applications of mathematics and statistics in metrology comprise key tasks like uncertainty evaluation, analysis of key comparisons, conformity assessment and decision making, or determination of fundamental constants, that require an international consensus and harmonization of methods. While basic guidelines, e. g. on uncertainty, are devised and disseminated by committees like the JCGM Working Group 1 at the BIPM, guidance is lacking for many new applications and emerging fields in metrology. These fields require active collaborative research between NMIs prior to developing documentary standards that capture best practice.
The Centre will build on existing collaborations of mathematicians & statisticians in metrology organisations, e. g. in the EURAMET Focus Group “Mathematical tools and software for metrology” and in the IMEKO TC 21 “Mathematical tools for measurement” and through an increasing number of math-related research collaborations within European research projects, in particular EMRP NEW 04 “Novel mathematical and statistical for uncertainty evaluation”, EMRP NEW 06 “Traceability for computationally expensive metrology applications” , EMRP IND 09 “Traceable dynamical measurements of mechanical quantities” and EMRP ENG63 “Sensor network metrology for the determination of electrical grid characteristics”.



Goals of the Centre

The Centre will provide a (unified) voice for mathematical and statistical groups as well as individual researchers in the participating NMIs. In particular, the Centre will:

  • Support European NMIs, international organisations, standardisation bodies and industries in mathematical and statistical topics related tasks in metrology.
  • Foster harmonised European positions with respect to important issues for which mathematics and statistics are important, for example in the development and recommendation of methods for the evaluation of uncertainties or for the analysis of key comparison data.
  • Increase the critical mass and impact of mathematics- and statistics-based research at European NMIs and promote corresponding with academia and NMIs at an international level (NIST, NMIJ, INMETRO,etc.).
  • Track and provide coordinated response to funding opportunities and have a central role in managing future projects in mathematics for metrology in Europe.
  • Provide a single point of reference for NMIs, industry, EURAMET and its bodies etc.

Coordinate knowledge transfer activities (e.g. workshops) and facilitate collaboration through secondments from NMIs to the Centre as well as across different European NMIs.



Activities of the Centre

The Centre will undertake collaborative research activities between NMIs, establish services for NMIs, carry out case studies, design and offer software, supply reference data sets and provide training courses through collaborative projects. The research undertaken by the Centre will be disseminated through the organization of a workshop series, an open access journal, and internet-based activities. The Centre will be engaged in winning third-party funding for its activities, and it will provide consulting, reviews, good-practice guides and reports on specific mathematics- and statistics-related issues in metrology. The Centre will also support mathematical research activities in EMRP and EMPIR projects and may coordinate the resulting dissemination, knowledge transfer and impact activities. The Centre may also be developed into a place for extended visits and joint work on externally funded projects and selected topics (“Centre projects”).



Organisation of the Centre

The centre shall act with support from European NMIs by allocation of resources and temporary secondments and it may have one or more offices. It is expected that the Centre staff will initially comprise a Centre Manager, one or more scientists with appropriate expertise and a secretary. It shall be ensured that the Centre can coordinate third-party funded research projects, organize knowledge transfer activities and secondments from European NMIs. Further NMIs (beyond those that found the centre) may join in at a later stage. That process will start with signing a memorandum of understanding that describes the goals of the centre and its initial form of organization. The details of the Centre´s organization will be specified in the memorandum of understanding. The Centre shall have strong links and/ or be integrated in corresponding EURAMET activities and bodies. Activities will be coordinated by a steering committee that may be supported by a stakeholder committee in a later stage.