COLLABORATION

Partnership brings new measure of success to Nexus Leeds

SOURCE: Nexus Leeds
The National Measurement Laboratory is setting up a hub at Nexus Leeds.

Despite its wide use and crucial importance in enforcing, validating and verifying predefined standards of accuracy, reliability, traceability and precision, the science of measurement–or metrology–rarely ever gets promoted as a critical field of work or study.

Yet it is a basic requirement in any science and technology discipline, specifically in engineering and manufacturing, sectors of high economic value to many national GDPs of the world.

In the words of the UK’s National Measurement Laboratory (NML), “Measurement matters, as it affects everything from food and drink to medicine.”

And it does. Metrology spans a wide range of sectors, including advanced therapeutics, diagnostics, safety and security, for example, standardising measurements so that a test result obtained in a London laboratory can be compared directly with one taken from hospitals anywhere else across the world.

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The NML is the UK’s designated institute for chemical and bio-measurement, and the home of the Government Chemist, whose key statutory functions include resolving disputes over analytical measurements, particularly in relation to food regulatory enforcement.

For the NML, maintaining a high level of precision and excellence in its work is of paramount importance. Also critical is the provision and the development of professional training programmes to provide UK industry with the skilled scientists they need.

Collaborations with partners across government, industry and academia help enable this, supporting the regulatory body’s work to develop tomorrow’s metrology engineers, reinforce best practice, and harmonise measurements across the world.

To augment these efforts, the NML recently inked a new, long-term strategic partnership arrangement with Nexus Leeds, Leeds University’s recently-launched £40 million innovation hub.

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In addition to establishing a hub at Nexus Leeds, the agreement includes plans to create a centre of excellence for metrology in clinical sciences for the North of England, based at the university.

It will also provide opportunities for the development of the next generation of metrology engineers in the North, through establishing specialist training qualifications and increased connectivity to industry partners.

“The new partnership will grow and develop opportunities for academics, students and industry across the Leeds City Region and promote the incorporation of high quality measurement science in research and innovation,” UK Government Chemist and Director of NML Professor Julian Braybrook said during a signing ceremony last week.

Professor Lisa Roberts, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research & Innovation, added: “I am very excited about partnering with the National Measurement Laboratory to strengthen and expand research potential within the wider region.”

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Launched in May, the Nexus Leeds innovation hub is built to encourage and facilitate industry-academia collaborations. 

A team of relationship managers at the hub is tasked with guiding these interactions to unlock new ideas and opportunities for members involved, whether that involves developing and testing new products and services, improving business performance, tapping graduate talent for an organisation’s innovation needs or upskilling their workforces, among others.

Its work has seen a large number of corporations, both large and small, through its doors, across a variety of sectors from supermarket retailers seeking innovative ways to reduce food waste to growth-hungry startups in search of grow-on space, mentor support and networking opportunities.