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Proficiency testing services

The National Measurement Institute is an internationally recognised proficiency testing (PT) provider for chemical and gas measurements. PT is a valuable external quality control tool for laboratories. 

We evaluate your laboratory’s performance against pre-established criteria, using inter-laboratory comparisons.

We provide independent evidence to determine the validity of your measurements, and to help improve your overall performance. This includes:

  • offering studies for a wide range of tests and matrices combinations
  • performing rigorous statistical analysis on submitted results
  • providing detailed reports and tailored feedback to participating laboratories

What you can expect from participating in our PT studies 

By participating in our studies, you can:

  • fulfil the ISO/IEC 17025 requirements for your laboratory
  • improve your laboratory’s performance in terms of the accuracy of chemical and gas measurements
  • evaluate and compare methods and procedures used in chemical and gas measurements 
  • identify problems with equipment, sample preparation or data processing procedures
  • identify training needs
  • instil confidence in staff, management and external users of your laboratory service
  • assess the practical application of measurement uncertainty
  • use PT samples for method validation or as control samples in your daily routine analyses

2021 proficiency testing schedule 

We have scheduled the following tests for chemical and gas proficiency testing.

February

March

  • AQA 21-02 Illicit Drugs - Amphetamine-type Stimulants
  • AQA 21-03 Pesticides in Soil
  • AQA 21-04 Hydrocarbons/PAHs in Soil

April

May

  • AQA 21-06 Pesticides in Fruit and Vegetables

May/June

  • AQA 21-07 PFAS in Soil and Water
  • AQA 21-08 PFAS in Biota/Food

June

  • AQA 21-09a/ AQA 21-10b Water Characteristics (Trade Waste and River Water)

July

  • AQA 21-11 Illicit Drugs – Heroin

August

September

  • AQA 21-14 Metals, Nutrients and Anions in Soil

September/October

  • AQA 21-15 Clandestine Laboratory

October

  • AQA 21-16 Pesticides in Water
  • AQA 21-17 Hydrocarbons/PAHs in Water

November

  • AQA 21-18a/ AQA 21-19b Sea Water and Low Salinity Sea Water Characteristics
  • AQA 21-20 Illicit Drugs - Cocaine

TBA

  • AQA 21-21 NMI Special Study - TBA

*The matrix to be advised later

Gas proficiency testing

We provide gas PT services in areas of strategic importance to Australia. Our PT samples are based on unique gas compositions with studies examining:

  • pipeline natural gas from South-Eastern Australia
  • LNG (from the North West Shelf and from processed coal seam gas)
  • coal mine safety

Participating isn’t just important for laboratories. It also provides confidence during custody transfers for refineries and pipeline operators. 

We also offer preparative PT studies for the specialty gas industry.

We aim to coordinate a new area of study each year based on participants’ requests. Email gas@measurement.gov.au to suggest a new gas mixture to add to our testing schedule.

Chemical proficiency testing 

We provide PT for a range of sectors including environment, agriculture, food and law enforcement. 

We select the analytes and matrices for our PT studies based on participants’ needs and requests. A study can include up to 60 analytes at both high and low levels. 

Our programs are accredited to ISO 17043 cover a wide range of tests:

  • illicit drugs 
  • organic contaminants including pesticides and hydrocarbons
  • dissolved, total and acid extractable metals 
  • physical properties
  • inorganic non-metallic constituents 
  • photosynthetic pigments
  • agricultural soil properties like colwell-p

We aim to coordinate a new area of study each year based on participants’ requests. Email proficiency@measurement.gov.au to suggest a new matrix or analyte to add to our testing schedule.

How it works

  • We prepare, homogenise and characterise the test samples.
  • We use reference methods to provide assigned reference values traceable to the International System of Units for selected challenging analytes.
  • We collate, statistically analyse and interpret the results returned by participants.
  • We prepare a comprehensive report and distribute it to participants. 
  • We provide advice and educational feedback.
  • We send performance summary reports and longer-term historical reports to each participant.

Before applying, read the:

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Last updated: 22 January 2021

Content ID: 64528