NPL re-launches to address global challenges and accelerate UK industry

In 1902, the future King George V opened NPL, declaring that it would “bring scientific knowledge to bear practically upon our everyday industrial and commercial life. ” It was a grand vision, seeking to translate scientific discoveries into economic growth, skilled employment and improved quality of life.

Today we are renewing this vision and re-launching NPL to cultivate growth across areas the UK will most benefit from in the future: advanced manufacturing, digital, energy and environment, and life sciences and health.

We will draw on our century of expertise and world-class facilities to develop new technologies, standards and skills in industries of the future, from Industry 4.0 to the hydrogen economy.

By re-launching NPL, we will forge a stronger link between lab and market, creating the measurement standards that support new trade and commercial innovation. We will further our pioneering work helping to save lives, protect the environment and enable citizens to feel secure.

NPL is emblematic of the way research can drive economic and social progress. The impact of the science and engineering that we deliver is felt by everyone, everywhere. The first caesium atomic clock, that led to the redefinition of the second 50 years ago this October and whose descendants now underpin GPS and telecommunications, was created here. Packet switching, the forebear of the internet, which allowed the worldwide exchange of data across digital networks; radar, which revolutionised navigation and defence; and a new chip that brings us a step closer to quantum computing – all were developed at NPL.

In the magazine below, you can read about some of the work taking place at NPL’s bases around the UK and our plans for the future, and hopefully be amazed by the quality and impact of what we do.

After a century as the silent partner to industry, helping to deliver now ubiquitous innovations and advances, the next 100 years will see us continue this crucial role, but in the foreground, delivering ever greater impact to the UK.

We will make your impossible possible. I, for one, cannot wait.

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