Conformity assessment refers to specifications of product quality characteristics often given in harmonised written (norms) standards or equivalent normative documents and with regard to EU legislation. Quality-assured measurement enters essentially in the development of both generic standards and sector-specific standards. In such documents reference is however sometimes made to unrealistic and ambiguous measurement specifications and unclear requirements. On the other hand, industry and society place increasingly exacting demands on measurement in terms of complexity and accuracy, including meeting ‘grand challenges’ such as in energy & the environment, health & safety as well as with the emergence of new technologies such as nano- and biotechnology.
A major role would be to provide policy support in the context of conformity assessment, particularly in a proactive way, drawing attention of policy makers to upcoming issues and becoming more involved in early, agenda-setting part of policy cycle. This includes identifying future problems, opportunities and needs of society, including technology watch activities which pick up signals from scientific community and use horizon scanning procedures based on current state of knowledge from science & technology.
Significant contributions are needed to pre-normative research, in developing the necessary metrological aspects at all steps in product development – from initial product design and specification, through metrological design, procurement and actual measurement, to final product conformity assessment and marketing.