Measurement Science & Technology

Measurement Science and Technology is critical to the chemistry and processes that industry relies on for generating innovative solutions.

The Challenge

Demand for better measurement techniques continues to grow at an accelerating pace. From DNA profiling to nanoscale characterisation, it is vital that the UK plays a pivotal role in the continued development and implementation of these new methodologies. New and effective methods of Measurement Science and Technology (MST) will be critical to important and emerging business and societal themes such as:

• Pharmaceuticals and healthcare
• Biotechnology
    • Regenerative medicine and tissue engineering
    • Industrial biotechnology: Development of new products & processes (inc. biofuels)
• Public health and the environment
• Security and forensics
• Nanotechnology
• Sustainable food supply
• High throughput technologies

Technical capability and approach

Measurement techniques are equally important to the understanding and control of processes and to the identification and characterisation of a product to achieve an improved or desired effect. A greater emphasis on the use of Measurement Science & Technology as a problem-solver and enabler for new business opportunities requires a new multi-disciplinary approach. The key challenges identified are:

• Evaluating the impact of MST through the value chain
• Encouraging industry investment
• Promoting the ‘value-added’ of MST
• Improving access for SMEs to facilities and expertise
• Providing the right skills and training for a rewarding and sustainable career

The importance of MST to business is often not fully realised but, as described above, it offers commercial opportunity across the spectrum from the provision of measurement service, through to the benefits obtained by its use. Opportunity exists from the use of existing technology to improvement of product and processes, though to the development of new devices, such as “point-of-care” sensors, and new technologies.


What we do

Measurement Science & Technology plays a central role in supporting UK industry and research with an estimated £7 billion turnover in the UK, and over 200,000 scientists employed in the field including some of the UK’s leading scientists. There are over 1700 accredited laboratories and 11,000 sites with analytical laboratories in the UK.

There are areas of excellence across UK academia and within industry either as an in-house capability or outsourced to a growing and important sector of service providers. This includes a range of advanced physical techniques including imaging, near infra-red (NIR) sensing, DNA analysis, thermal analysis, rapid chromatography, mass spectrometry, electrophoresis and nano-scale probes. These new technologies support the growth of new and emerging industries such as renewable energy, forensic science and nanomaterials..

How we can Assist

Chemistry Innovation has set an immediate priority to identify key stakeholders and develop strong leadership within the Measurement Science & Technology (MST) community.

There is a clear need to:

• Understand key stakeholder positions across both industry and academia.
• Generate engagement, networking and joined up thinking to accelerate and promote knowledge transfer between the MST community and its users, particularly around new techniques and applications.
• Raise awareness of the value of MST through case studies and education .

Key Activities

• A key priority of the KTN is to high light Opportunities for MST across the value chain of key sectors.
• Communication of opportunities and challenges across the sector
• Engagement with community and funding organisations
• Develop a multi-disciplinary approach to MST with focus on skills and training.
• Assessment of impact of MST across the value chain has been completed for Biofuels (report - Sept 2008).  An event was run (May 2010), in conjunction with the Technology Strategy Board, to assess the remaining challenges for bio fuels and highlight the future collaborative funding requirements needed to overcome these challenges.  Further detail can be found here

• Assessment of impact of MST across the value chain for Pharma. The initial activity is complete and a white paper is under preparation
• Enabling activity to facilitate work on consortium building to meet funding proposals
• Assessment of skills needs for the MST community

Position Paper
Further detail on the key activities and current work are given in the 2010 MST Position Paper

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A little about Measurement Science & Technology

A group to address the UK’s pivotal role in the continued development and implementation of methodologies in Measurement Science and Technology