World Metrology Day 2021 Measurement for Health


World Metrology Day is an annual commemoration of the signature of the Metre Convention on 20 May 1875 by representatives of seventeen nations. The Convention sets the framework for global collaboration in the science of measurement and in its industrial, commercial and societal applications.

The science of measurement, known as metrology, is concerned about the accuracy and traceability of measurements, and ensuring public confidence in official measurements. It plays a central role in scientific discovery and innovation, industrial manufacturing and international trade, in improving the quality of life and in protecting the global environment.

Today, national metrology institutes continually advance measurement science by developing and validating new measurement techniques, to ensure the reliability and comparability of measurement results worldwide. The theme for World Metrology Day 2021 is Measurement for Health. This theme was chosen to create awareness of the important role measurement plays in health, and thus in the wellbeing of every one of us.

How is Measurement Relevant to Our Health?

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Healthcare related calibration services include thermometers, thermal imagers, gas sensors/detectors, accelerometers, sound level meters, light, UV, electrical measurements, time and frequency standards and so on. These instruments form the building blocks of medical and healthcare devices, be it in measuring temperature, regulations for noise or light, diagnostic equipment like pulse oximeters or spectrophotometers for the detection of jaundice, and in clinical tests and research, or making decisions on the quality of air for smart home purifiers. All these devices can only give meaningful and accurate measurement results if they are properly maintained and calibrated. With all these important measurements running in the background every day, you can consider the impact of all these measurements the next time you go to school or office, visit the doctor, or just head out for a run!

What are the Roles of Metrology Institutes?

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A*STAR’s National Metrology Centre (NMC) is the national metrology institute of Singapore, dedicated to advancing measurement science for an innovative and competitive economy. NMC establishes and maintains measurement standards at the highest level of accuracy in Singapore, which are recognised worldwide through the Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) on measurement as being traceable to the International System of Units (SI) under the Metre Convention.

As the national measurement authority, NMC provides a wide range of measurement and calibration services in electrical, mechanical, optical, temperature, acoustics, time and gas metrology, which are traceable to the SI. As a signatory of the Global MRA, NMC can issue a report with the CIPM MRA logo, which is recognised throughout the member countries, for many calibration services.

Beyond calibration services, NMC helps companies to develop measurement capabilities and solutions. NMC conducts training courses, consultancy and proficiency tests (PT) to upgrade skills and competency in measurements with the Measurement Assurance Programme (MAP). NMC also participates in industry collaboration research and service projects to design and set-up new measurement lab and procedures, develop measurement solutions to improve production processes and product/service development, validate performance and specification of new products and develop new traceable measurement methods and standards.

NMC has designated the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) for chemical metrology in the areas of food, healthcare, medical science, pharmaceutical & health products and forensics. HSA provides metrological services in these areas, such as higher order measurement methods, calibration and measurement services, value assignments, certified reference materials (CRMs) and PT programmes, as well as training courses.

In the healthcare area, HSA offers External Quality Assessment (EQA) programmes focussing on clinical markers of chronic diseases affecting the majority of Singapore population, such as diabetes and lipid disorder. HSA also produces several pure substance and matrix CRMs that can be used as calibration standards as well as quality control materials by clinical laboratories.

Through these metrological services, NMC and HSA support the national metrology infrastructure, ensuring that measurements made in Singapore are reliable and fit for their intended purposes; and are equivalent to measurements made in other countries to meet regulatory and treaty requirements.

Find out more about the research by NMC and HSA


[1] World Metrology Day 2021.; Accessed 12 Apr 2021.

Article contributed by Connor Peh, Scientist, NMC, Ng Tong Jin, Senior Manager, NMC and Fransiska Dewi, Senior Analytical Scientist, HSA.