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Dr Bruce Warrington

Dr Bruce Warrington is Australia’s Chief Metrologist and Chief Executive Officer of the National Measurement Institute (NMI). His work and the work of the NMI has positively impacted the lives of Australians daily and continues to influence standards locally and internationally.

Bruce Warrington is Australia’s Chief Metrologist and Chief Executive Officer of the National Measurement Institute (NMI).

Growing up in New Zealand, Dr Warrington’s studies eventually led him to the UK where he read Atomic Physics at Oxford University. He moved to Australia  to work at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), researching and developing atomic clocks. It’s during this time Dr Warrington first became acquainted with standards and their role in society.

From CSIRO, Dr Warrington moved into NMI when it was formed in 2004, taking on the role of Chief Metrologist in 2017 and the position of CEO in 2018.

Part of the Department of Industry, Science and Resources, NMI is the Australian Government’s national authority on measurement. The Institute develops and maintains national measurement standards, delivers world-class measurement products and advice, and administers the regulatory framework for measurement.

“Similar to Australian Standards, people rely on measurement every single day without often realising it. When they fill up at the petrol pump, buy food at the supermarket, or use electricity at home, measurement is there ensuring consistency and safety,” explained Dr Warrington.

Measurement standards and Australian Standards work together and strengthen each other, and NMI and Dr Warrington work in parallel with Standards Australia to ensure appropriate metrics and guidelines are implemented.

“The standards we work on supply people with a level of confidence. I see our role as ‘standards keepers’, working to ensure they not only reflect the needs of local communities but also exist efficiently in the real world. Both standards documents and standards of measurement must be able to help people in tangible ways,” Dr Warrington continued.

Some of the work of NMI that Dr Warrington is most proud of includes:

  • Using NMI’s measurement expertise to respond to COVID-19, from analysing hand sanitiser to testing face masks to developing a world-leading genetic reference standard for the virus itself. This standard has been used to support businesses developing new testing methods and validate testing for the virus in wastewater across the country.
  • Working alongside Standards Australia, the National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA) and the Joint Accreditation System of Australia and New Zealand (JAS-ANZ) to provide advice, test methods, accredited laboratories, and certifiers to assist with the design, manufacture, and testing of medical personal protective equipment.
  • Developing options to reform and streamline Australia’s measurement law, supporting faster and greater use of new technologies while delivering businesses and consumers the confidence they need.

“I am truly humbled to receive a Standards Hero nomination and would like to use this platform to shine a light on the important work NMI does and the vital standards we work on in tandem with Standards Australia and other partners. I’m immensely proud of the work that we have developed together and look forward to continuing these relationships into the future,” concluded Dr Warrington.

“It is easy to see why Bruce and NMI are being recognised in our Standards Heroes ‘safety’ category. Together, they have positively impacted and benefited Australian lives for almost 20 years and their work in measurement and testing is world leading. Standards Australia looks forward to working together for many years to come,” said Adrian O’Connell, Chief Executive Officer at Standards Australia.