NMS Roadmaps


The National Measurement System (NMS) provides the UK with an infrastructure of laboratories that deliver world-class measurement science and technology and provide traceable and increasingly accurate standards of measurement.

The NMS is delivered through the National Measurement Office (NMO) an executive agency of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). There are 9 programmes which are delivered by 5 National Measurement Institutes (NMIs):

The NMS publicly funded science programmes are currently maintained at £60m per year and research is formulated in line with the NMS strategy 2011-2015. The strategy sets out the framework to deliver leadership in measurement through growth and innovation.

The technical science programmes have roadmaps indicating the strategic direction of the science themes within the programmes. The roadmaps can be accessed from this webpage.

Purpose and structure of the roadmaps

The roadmaps are intended to provide a strategic overview of the NMS and to describe a number of scientific and capability developments which need to be achieved by it. The roadmaps are intended to be presented in such a way that an intermittent user can rapidly assimilate the intent of the NMS Programme strategy, and to provide a useful tool for programme formulation.

The roadmap structure consists of four streams running horizontally plus the Drivers and Challenges for the theme residing at the top of the roadmap. The Drivers and Challenges show the external influences on the programme and these can be specifically tailored to relevant parts of the NMS strategy. Each roadmap runs along a minimum timeline of around 10 years but shorter or longer time slices can be generated for different purposes e.g. a 3 year funding window. A short description of the purpose of each stream is:

Targets stream
The delivery date of a capability, standard or service in relation to the national challenges. Adding / linking information to steps is intended to show how the NMS input has contributed to this target i.e. a legitimate national challenge target is “CCS deployed commercially” but the NMS role is to deliver the metrology supporting the infrastructure only as part of the larger challenge.
Deliverables stream
This stream accommodates the variety of deliverables from the NMS, which might be standards, good practice guides, measurement capability or measurement services. The purpose of linking additional information in this stream is to allow a better understanding of the impact from the programmes. Therefore, where the programme outputs are meaningful, the deliverables will be linked to a deliverable step.
Technologies stream
Steps in this stream will contain a short description of the NMI metrology capability being developed and list, in the step information the possible projects linked to this.
Enabling science stream
This stream represents the know-how that needs to be acquired, and that is generally not usable on its own until applied within a technology. Additional information should state state the current know-how and its limitations in order to understand the innovation step in the technologies stream above it. This is probably where the main source for publications will come from in the NMS.

Viewing the roadmaps

The roadmaps have embedded functionality that can only be viewed using Internet Explorer. Enabled functionality includes: hyperlinks between roadmaps so that related roadmaps can be directly opened; the adding of supplementary documents to individual roadmap steps to give further context to the NMS and its outputs; and allows users to download a PDF of the roadmap for printing purposes.

Steps are being taken to remove the dependence on Internet Explorer for viewing the added functionality of the roadmaps however; in the meantime the folder entitled “PDFs of NMS roadmaps” contains copies of all current NMS roadmaps.

View Roadmaps


Chemical and Biological Metrology

Electromagnetic Metrology
Quantum Electrical Metrology
Time & Frequency



Advanced Engineered Materials
Materials Processing and Performance
Magnetic Materials
Mathematics and Modelling

Optical, Gas and Particle Metrology

Surface, Chemical and Biophysics Metrology