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Measurement standards

Australia’s measurement system must be able to adapt to, service and enhance the productivity and growth of Australian industries.

Standards and conformance

The National Measurement Institute (NMI) is part of Australia's standards and conformance infrastructure. They provide advice on measurement to the other members:

Australia's Standards and Conformance Infrastructure: An Essential Foundation explains the role each organisation holds in the measurement framework.


The NMI contributes to the continuing development of physical, chemical and biological measurement standards and techniques. These improvements keep pace with advances in science and technology and the increasing demands of industry for greater accuracy in measurement.

Governments also require a broader range of measurements to fulfil their regulatory needs for food safety, the environment and trade.

The NMI:

  • participates in international collaborations to improve how to define the kilogram, the accuracy of time and frequency measurements, and the standard of direct voltage
  • develops leading-edge approaches to improve the accuracy of DNA and RNA measurements for clinical diagnostics
  • improves the accuracy of measuring performance-enhancing drugs in athletes by developing detection methods and chemical reference materials
  • improves the accuracy of physical measurement standards and techniques to further develop new technology and products
  • researches emerging areas such as food allergens, genetically modified organisms, designer illicit drugs, newly identified pollutants, and greenhouse gases.

Collaborative partnerships

The NMI works with:

  • other members of the Cooperative Research Centre for Contamination Assessment and Remediation of the Environment to solve significant environmental issues
  • the metrology institutes of Japan and the USA to improve the accuracy and reliability of quantum standards for direct (dc) and alternating (ac) voltage
  • international metrology institutes on new, highly accurate methods and instruments for measuring the dimensions of nanoparticles
  • law enforcement agencies to restrict the illicit drug trade in Australia.

Future-proofing measurement standards

NMI conducts leading-edge research that anticipates new measurement technologies and applications. This research supports Australian Government initiatives such as energy efficiency and resource management.

The NMI supports growth areas by researching:

  • nanoparticles to help industry and regulators understand and manage potential risks
  • measurement solutions in environment, health and energy sectors
  • how to improve measuring the quality and volume of water.

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