School of Life Sciences


Sussex Professor presents at international Eurachem workshop

Professor Michael Ramsey presented at the international workshop

Professor Michael Ramsey recently presented at an international workshop which considered the measurement of uncertainty arising from primary sampling.

Over 130 participants from 37 different countries were in attendance at the two-day event which took place 19 – 20 November in Berlin.

Presentations, discussions and poster sessions were on the agenda, with an aim to assess current processes for evaluating uncertainty from sampling and to consider new methods and future directions.

Key to the discussions were new provisions provided in the recently revised Eurachem Guide Measurement uncertainty arising from sampling.

This guide was recently published by an international team of scientists led by Professor Ramsey.

Professor Ramsey said: “The Eurachem workshop was excellent; there were lots of interesting presentations and stimulating discussions on many different aspects of uncertainty of chemical measurements. It was a fantastic opportunity to explore and receive feedback on the new Guidance.”

At the workshop Professor Ramsey explained the need for ‘uncertainty factors’ as a simple way of expressing uncertainty for highly asymmetric cases.

He said: “One of the novel aspects of the new Eurachem Guidance is to express the uncertainty of a measurement value using an ‘uncertainty factor’. In this new approach, you multiply and divide the measurement value by the ‘uncertainty factor’, rather than adding and subtracting the traditional ‘uncertainty’ from the measurement value, to get the range within which the true value might be.

“At the workshop I described an example of a measured lead contamination of 300 mg/kg in a very heterogeneous soil at a former landfill site in West London. The traditional approach, with an uncertainty of 251 mg/kg, would have the true value of the lead concentration lying between 49 and 551 mg kg. The estimated uncertainty factor (2.62) extends this range to 115 to 784 mg/kg (i.e. 300/ 2.62 and 300 x 2.62).

“This new approach therefore helps us to better describe the possibility of higher levels of contamination in soils, but also in other situations such as in foods, waters and gases.”

The Eurachem Worskop – ‘Uncertainty from sampling and analysis for accredited laboratories’ was hosted by BAM at BAM Headquarters in Berlin.

For more information, visit the Eurachem website.

Back to news list

By: Jessica Gowers
Last updated: Thursday, 5 December 2019