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The National Metrology Institute (NMI) at RISE

RISE is Sweden's NMI (National Metrology Institute) and, according to the Swedish constitution, is responsible for the central measurement quantities in the International System of Units, SI.


The Swedish metrology system was created in 1972 after an IVA investigation and came to consist of two types of metrology organization, the metrology institutes maintaining the national measurement standards and an authorized accreditation organization (Sweden was with this decision by the Swedish Parliament one of the first countries in the world to establish an official authorization, today accreditation scheme).

Initially, several originations and institutes like SP, FOA, FFV and SSI

were designated as national laboratories, each for different areas of quantities. However, the decentralized organization proved to be unable to maintain strong enough research environments to keep up with technological development and needs that became more complex and with an increasingly common quantum physical basis. Since 1995 RISE has hosted the national laboratories of measurement standards for the most common physical quantities and the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority, SSM for those in ionizing radiation.

In international contexts, RISE is today referred to as the "National Metrology Institute" (NMI) and SSM as the "Designated Institute" (DI).

In the vast majority of countries, national metrology is directly linked to a ministry, and this was also the case for SP's assignment as an NMI until 2009, with the Ministry of Enterprise and Innovation as principal. The Ministry also had a Metrology Advisory Board as support. The operation of SP's national laboratories was regulated by a special agreement between the Swedish state and SP. Since 2009, the funding agency Vinnova finances RISE NMI in accordance with its regulation letter. In support Vinnova has put together an advisory board for metrology consisting of members representing academy, and institutes with extensive experience and competence in metrology.

National metrology activities in Sweden are regulated overall by legislation, SFS 2011: 811 and 2019: 17, on accreditation and technical control and in the tenth section on “Riksmätplatser” (i.e. national laboratories of standards) it is stated:

A “Riksmätplats” shall maintain a high standard with standards of sufficient scope and relevance. Traceability of measurement standards shall be ensured and developed through international comparisons as well as research and development efforts.

Our mission

According to the regulation, measurement standards are measurement references that have documented traceability to SI. The activity is based on SI and consists mainly of two functions, further development of standards or references and international comparisons for traceability. The further development is linked to research and to international cooperation. It can take place more or less actively, depending on the level of the physical area or significance for the Swedish society. At a higher level, primary realization, the cost and risk-taking are higher, for example in the transition from one type of standard to another. At a higher level, there are also synergies in the form of higher competence for other types of metrological services that contribute to growth.

SFS 2019: 16 on “Riksmätplatser” states which bodies are “Riksmätplats” in Sweden and it lists 36 size areas for which RISE (32) and SSM (4) host the national measurement standards. The regulation does not specify measurement areas and associated measurement uncertainties due to the fact that these change over time in step with technological development and needs. Dimensions with associated measurement areas and measurement uncertainties are reported in a public international database after an independent review

RISE is the signatory to the MRA from 1999, which is a complement to the Meter Convention. RISE is also the signatory for the Swedish membership in the cooperation organization EURAMET. For both the MRA and EURAMET, the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority, SSM, act as the Designated Institute, DI and both these metrology organizations can thus operate internationally to show equivalence and achieve acceptance in international metrology cooperation.

In addition to initiating and coordinating comparative measurements (e.g. key comparisons), the regional metrology organizations (RMO) act as hubs for collaboration. The European he RMO, EURAMET, work with comparative measurements and reviews. Technical work is carried out in the twelve technical committees that make up the technical framework of EURAMET. RISE actively participates in all twelve technical committees.

The starting point for the operation of our nation laboratory of standards is traceability to the SI units and is in fact not application-controlled due to the fact that a measurement quantity occurs in several areas or applications (measurement of e.g. temperature cannot be linked to any specific industry or application).

calibration services and/or in the development of new measurement technology. The common denominator is applications with a pronounced need for measurements with measurement uncertainty that are known in relation to SI. The operation of our laboratories is generic in several respects and despite the fact that it is not application-driven, competence and resources can be particularly important for a specific application or industry. The business is characterized by long-term, ten years or more, and an inevitable requirement is international acceptance and recognition and it is regulated and delimited by the previously mentioned MRA.

Our activities are conducted within the framework of a management system, SS-EN ISO / IEC 17025: 2018, where SWEDAC carries out regular system and technical inspections, the latter by using international technical experts as assessors.

Unlike the metrology institutes in most other countries, the metrology at RISE is an integral part of a polytechnic research institute with a pronounced greater proximity to the business community's need for quality-assured measurement technology.