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Organisation and location
As the science and knowledge service of the Commission, the mission of the Joint Research Centre is to support EU policies with independent evidence throughout the whole policy cycle.
The JRC is organised into 10 Directorates covering different policy areas. One of them, Directorate F – "Health, Consumers and Reference Materials" is, amongst other services, responsible for the production of reference materials funded by the European Commission.
The European Commission has been funding the production of reference materials since the 1960ies under the BCR-programme. Starting in 1995, these activities were gradually taken over by the IRMM (Institute for Reference Materials and Measurements), one of the institutes of the JRC, and since 2002 the IRMM was solely responsible for the CRM production funded by the European Commission. A re-organisation in 2016 brought, as far as CRMs are concerned, a name change from IRMM to Directorate F - Health, Consumers and Refererence Materials but the staff and procedures for RM production remained the same. This means the current work on CRMs is the direct continuation of the activities first of the European Commission’ss BCR- programme and of the JRC-IRMM (read more about the history of EU-funded reference materials production on a dedicated page).

The work on reference materials (RMs), including certified reference materials (CRMs), is conducted at the Geel site of the JRC, located 60 km north-east of Brussels, Belgium. Here, we have dedicated facilities for the processing and storage of reference materials as well state of the art analytical laboratory facilities. Our scientific staff co-ordinate the development of reference materials and maintain close collaborations with concerned international organisations and networks.

RM production process
Many EU policies are based on measurement results, sometimes in the inception phase to identify specific issues that require regulation, but more often in the implementation phase to monitor compliance and progress. Certified reference materials are one important tool to ensure the quality of measurement results. They are crucial as anchor points for the calibration of measurements in complex natural and man-made systems and for the benchmarking of and within control and reference laboratories.
Being part of the European Commission, the JRC develops reference materials in line with the needs of EU policies. New reference material developments will be focused on scientifically cutting-edge materials with new measurand/matrix combinations and material properties as close as feasible to the real-world samples to be controlled by EU member state authorities.
The main areas cover biotechnologies and molecular biosciences, health, the environment and energy, advanced engineered nanomaterials, safe and high-quality food, and nuclear safeguards,
Production of a reference material is a multi-step process, including procurement of raw material, processing the raw material into its final (RM) form, assessment of homogeneity, assessment of stability during transport and storage, characterisation of property values to be assigned and finally to issue a certificate (for certified reference materials) or a product information sheet (for non-certified reference materials). In the characterisation study, in particular, we work closely together with external laboratories (click here to get information on how to participate in these studies) of demonstrated competence. In this way, we can ensure that each material is characterised independently by multiple methods, which ensures certification of correct values. Before release, each CRM undergoes a peer-review process, conducted by scientific experts within the JRC and also by a panel of external experts.
Each CRM is accompanied by a detailed certification report, which is available as free downloads in the "Downloads" section of each CRM in this catalogue.

Quality management and accreditation
The Directorate F holds accreditation for the production or reference materials according to ISO Guide 34 – General requirements for the competence of reference material producers (which is the equivalent of ISO/IEC 17025 for reference material producers), as well as . ISO/IEC 17025 for testing activities and ISO 17043 for the organisation of proficiency testing.
Certificates and scopes of the accreditations to ISO 17034, IS 17025 and ISO 17043.

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