Conferences, meetings, symposia: as time goes by, there are more and more meetings aimed at the analytical chemist. Some are clearly designed to inform and stimulate the exchange of views; others have a clear commercial undertone.
This blog is about one international scientific symposium which, – despite enormous leaps forward in analytical methodology and instrumentation, changes in accreditation of laboratories and reference materials, and a complete revolution in communication and media publishing, – has steadily grown and evolved for more than 30 years since the very first meeting back in 1983. It is the International Symposium on Biological and Environmental Reference materials, popularly known as “BERM”.
BERM is a symposium with its origins in biological and environmental chemical metrology, and has evolved and extended its reach over a 32-year lifespan, now touching almost every field of chemical measurement. Certified Reference Materials (CRMs) have always been at the heart of the symposium; in particular, their preparation, use and availability. More recently, the scope of the meeting was extended to cover related topics such as Quality Control Materials (QCM), Proficiency Testing (PT) and Accreditation.
This year, BERM-14 returns the symposium to the United States after an eight year absence, so there will be much to talk about. The world of reference materials, standards and laboratory accreditation is changing rapidly, with even more changes expected over the next three years that will have a significant impact on the use of reference materials and the producer community, including:
• Migration of ISO Guide 34 into a Standard
• The IUPAC’s critical review of fundamental definitions, including the Mole
• The full revision of ISO/IEC 17025:2005
At the same time, the demand for certified reference materials has never been greater; so there is much unfulfilled demand, especially in new areas of measurement science. As such, BERM-14 has created a full scientific program built around some familiar – and some less familiar – topics:
• New CRM developments (i.e., new materials, matrices, and analytes).
• CRMs to support “omics” measurements, e.g., proteomics, metabolomics, genomics, and petroleomics.
• CRMs for characterization of nanoparticles and nanoparticles in environmental and biological matrices.
• New areas for CRM development, e.g., microbiology, advanced materials, qualitative analysis (chemical/biological identifications).
• New approaches to CRM development, with emphasis on approaches for selecting and preparing candidate CRMs.
• Approaches to chemical purity assessment for CRMs.
• New analytical methods as applied to CRM certification.
• Validation of new analytical techniques and methods using CRMs; novel uses of CRMs.
• Significant applications and impact of CRMs in national and international measurement programs.
• Role of CRMs in Proficiency Testing and Laboratory Accreditation.
BERM meetings always set the scene for the next two or three years; BERM-14 will not be different. It’s a conference designed for those involved with, or interested in, any aspect of measurement – chemical, biochemical, pharmaceutical, clinical and microbiological – indeed, almost any aspect of metrology that isn’t physical.
The event dates and location to pencil into your calendar are:
October 11-15, 2015 at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center, National Harbor, Maryland, USA.
Contributed by Peter Jenks, BSc, FRSC; member of the BERM-14 Scientific Committee and Organizing CommitteeKeywords: BERM, industry events, Sigma Aldrich