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International think tank assists NIM’s development

The 6th Meeting of the International Advisory Board (IAB) of the National Institute of Metrology, China (NIM) came to a successful conclusion on August 29 in Beijing. All 6 members of the Board attended the 3-day event to give advisory opinions from international perspective concerning the institute’s present facts and capability. The board members include Dr. Barry Inglis, President of the International Committee for Weights and Measures (CIPM); Dr. Michael Kuehne, Ex-Director of International Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM); Dr. Terry Quinn, Honorary Director of BIPM; Dr. Hratch Semerjian, Ex-Deputy-Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the US; Dr. Ernst O. Goebel, Ex-President of The Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB), Germany, and Dr. Jun Ye, Fellow of the National Academy of Science (NAS) of the US, Fellow of JILA, Joint Laboratory of NIST and University of Colorado Boulder. Among them, Dr. Terry Quinn was awarded the 2014 “Friendship Award” of the People's Republic of China for his over 40 years support and contribution to China’s metrology development. Dr. Jun Ye, a world-renowned Chinese-American physicist dedicated to making “the world best clock”, has rendered NIM considerable support in developing the strontium optical lattice clock over years. 

NIM Director Fang Xiang, together with all other members of the director board, 2 Academicians of Chinese Academy of Engineering, and Heads of related research divisions and administrative departments took part in the meeting and related activities.

Mr. Fang Xiang addressed the opening meeting on the first day of the event. He summarized the development of NIM during the last 5 years since the establishment of the IAB, and listed the prioritized tasks planned to be taken on in the near future. The two sides then had a brief discussion about NIM’s strategic planning, customer needs assessment, and prioritization of research programs for the upcoming 13th “Five-Year” period (2016-2020).

The guests then received NIM updates from the institute’s Vice-Director Duan Yuning, covering NIM’s key developments and technical highlights in 2013~2014, and a summary of NIM’s implementation of IAB recommendations over the past 5 years. In the meantime, the board members had an in-depth discussion of the most concerned issues with the host.

During the 3-day activity, the board members paid special visit to laboratories to gain further insight of NIM’s research activities. They met with 3 “Innovation Teams” of NIM, who have been conducting research on the cesium fountain clock and the strontium optical lattice clock, the Boltzmann constant determination, and the isotopic and inorganic mass spectrometry, respectively. The Board had discussions with each of the team and provided them with consultative opinions.

In addition, NIM held a seminar where each IAB member delivered an academic report on specialized topics, including “The Current Situation of CIPM and BIPM” ,”Making the Best Clocks”, etc.. Over 150 staff members from research divisions and administrative departments attended the seminar, some of which had a face-to-face discussion with the reporters.

On August 29, NIM held the final consultation meeting with the board. The board acknowledged the leadership provided by NIM Ex-Director Zhang Yukuan over the last 7 years, putting NIM on a solid foundation and increasing the institute’s national and international reputation. They also held high opinion of the new appointment of NIM’s Director, Mr. Fang Xiang, who brings broad experience in metrology as well as standardization. They summarized the noticeable progress NIM made in laying continued emphasis on staff development, increasing outreach to industrial enterprises and other laboratories, and highly appreciated “the important contribution for world metrology” of NIM in the areas of Boltzmann constant measurement, molar mass determination of enriched silicon, and the significant progress in developing the optical lattice clock. The board also made constructive and targeted recommendations for NIM in human resource development, scientific projects prioritization and selection, management mechanism reconstruction and innovation, strategic planning and international cooperation.

The IAB of NIM was established in 2009. It is a platform to take advantage of the wisdom and experiences of international top-level metrology experts, to have an overall and in-time view of the trend of world metrology development and to learn the effective managements and mechanisms of international metrology organizations and world advanced national metrology institutes.

(Chen Hanghang,General Administrative Office of NIM, chenhh@nim.ac.cn)