Recent news

New Eurachem Chairs and Secretariat appointed

GA2020 iconEurachemChairs3 80 has successfully concluded its first fully online General Assembly, ably hosted by Eurachem Romania. One of the main items of business at the General Assembly was the appointment of officers, including the new Chair and Vice Chair, following completion of the 2018-20 Chair's two year term.

GA 2020 scr 120For the first time, on 27-28 May 2020, the Eurachem General Assembly was held as an on-line meeting, successfully organised and facilitated by Eurachem-Romania. Although Eurachem members and liaisons could not meet in person, Eurachem activities continue. According to the Eurachem rules, the Chairs and Secretariat change every two years. The 36th General Assembly therefore saw the Chair, Marina Patriarca (Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Italy) hand over to the Vice-Chair, Vicki Barwick (LGC, UK) for her two-year term as Eurachem Chair. At the same time, following a vote by correspondence, Isabelle Vercruysse (Belab, Belgium) was elected as the new Vice-Chair. The Eurachem Secretariat, which has been very ably held by Francesca Rolle (Istituto Nazionale di Ricerca Metrologica, Italy) for the past two years, has been handed over to Elena Sanchez (LGC, UK).

The new team of Vicki Barwick as Chair, Isabelle Vercruysse as Vice-Chair and Marina Patriarca as Past-Chair, will co-ordinate the work of Eurachem and the Eurachem Executive Committee for the next two years. The main challenge ahead will be to continue to support analytical laboratories in ensuring the quality and metrological traceability of their results, as well as meeting accreditation and regulatory requirements, at a time of great uncertainty globally. However, as the ‘virtual’ General Assembly has demonstrated, Eurachem can and will find new (and potentially better) ways of working together to meet these aims.

Vicki Barwick, Chair, Eurachem

VB 2020 300x330After graduating with a degree in Chemistry from the University of Nottingham (UK) in 1990, Vicki joined LGC (then known as the Laboratory of the Government Chemist) as an analytical chemist. In this role she was responsible for the chemical analysis of consumer goods (including cosmetics, toys and childcare items) to ensure product safety. In 1995 she joined a team working on the government-sponsored Valid Analytical Measurement programme. A particular interest around that time was the development of approaches for evaluating measurement uncertainty in chemical measurement. One of the outputs of this work was a training course on uncertainty estimation, targeted at analytical chemists. This led to the development of a programme of courses on analytical quality which has been running for over 20 years. Vicki is currently the head of the commercial training team at LGC and is responsible for the management, development and delivery of training courses on analytical quality assurance including method validation, measurement uncertainty and statistics.

Vicki has been actively involved with Eurachem since 2005. She has been Chair of the Education and Training Working Group since 2010 and a member of the Method Validation Working Group since 2012.

Vicki said “This is a great honour for me. I have learnt a lot through my participation in Eurachem during the last 15 years and I hope that I will be able to give something back through being an effective Chair. I am also proud to be part of the first all-female group of Chairs. I would like to thank Marina and Francesca for all their hard work during their time as Chair and Secretary, and I look forward to working with Isabelle and Marina to ensure Eurachem continues to achieve its aims over the next two years.”


Isabelle Vercruysse, Vice-Chair, Eurachem

IV 2020 300x330After graduating as a Pharmacist from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (B) in 1989, Isabelle obtained her PhD degree in Pharmaceutical Science in 1995 at the department of Prof D.L. Massart (Analytical Chemistry) and Prof A. Dupont (Pharmacology). Since 1995 she has worked as a quality manager and technical director, overseeing ISO 17025 accredited bacteriological and chemical control of water used by food companies, hospitals, public swimming pools, and homes for the elderly, in accordance with Flemish Federal legislation.

Since 2012, Isabelle has been president of BELAB, the association of Belgian laboratories. This organisation comprises laboratories from public, university and private organisations, and is active in various sectors. The association aims to unite Belgian laboratories in dealing with the common problems related to analyses and accreditation in measuring, testing, calibration and research. BELAB has liaisons with Belac, the Belgian accreditation authority through the National Board and Commission of Coordination of Belac and with the Flemisch government as advisery board at the level of education, health and environment.

In 2006, Isabelle joined Eurachem as the representative of Belgium. She contributes to the Eurachem Working Group on Method Validation. She was elected to the Executive Committee in 2015. In 2016 she organized, together with BELAB, the Eurachem week in Gent (B) including the workshop on “Method validation in analytical science”, and has worked on several Eurachem guides.

Isabelle said “Since the very first beginning I felt Eurachem was more than a society of collaborating scientists. The quality, dynamism and engagement of the Eurachem family is contagious. It feels good to be elected as vice chair and to get the possibility to continue the work of the former group of chairs. Together with Vicki and Marina, we will face the post corona era and strengthen the international cooperation of our members and liaisons. Like an African proverb tells us: “if you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together”.

Marina Patriarca, Past-Chair, Eurachem

MP 2020 300x330Marina holds the position of Senior Scientist at the National Institute of Health, where she has worked since 1981. Certification of reference materials happened to be the first project she became involved with, followed by a pioneer national external quality assessment scheme (EQAS) in support of the EC campaign for monitoring exposure of the general population to lead added to gasoline. Maybe a destiny had been forged?

In 1992 (trying to escape metrology…) Marina took a sabbatical period at the Department of Biochemistry of Glasgow University (Scotland, UK), to learn about the new technique “ICP-MS”, which she then applied to study nickel metabolism in humans with a stable isotope as tracer, keeping a close eye on the validation of the analytical methods!

Back home, Marina joined a network of EQAS organisers in the area of contaminants in biological specimens, aimed to harmonise methodologies and evaluation criteria. Over the years, the diet emerged as the main source of exposure to potentially harmful contaminants, shifting her activities toward food safety. Marina is currently the head of the National Reference Laboratory for metals and nitrogenous compounds in food, part of the EU network aimed to ensure the comparability of measurement results in official food control testing.

Marina strongly believes in the importance of continuously disseminating knowledge. She is an author of more than 100 scientific publications and a member of the Atomic Spectrometry Updates Board. She was part of the Editorial Board of the TrainMiC (Training in Metrology) project from 2006 to 2011 and carries out national and international training activities related to the quality of analytical results.

Marina has been a delegate to the GA since 2005 and was elected to the Executive Committee in 2009. She contributes to the Eurachem Working Groups on Education & Training, Method Validation and Proficiency Testing and chairs the Reference materials Working Group. She served as Vice-Chair from 2016 to 2018 and as the Eurachem Chair for the last two years.

Marina said: “Serving as Chair of Eurachem was a challenging experience, with a steep learning curve! But, thanks to the continuous support of Francesca, as the Secretary, and advice from David and Vicki, as Past and Vice Chair, also enjoyable and fulfilling! I encourage all of our delegates, young ones (and women especially!), to consider not only what Eurachem can give you, but also that each of you has skills, experience and potential that can be exploited to serve the Eurachem community - and don’t worry, if you cannot sing as Italians sometimes do…


Note: This article was updated on 2020-07-31 to reflect a change in individual circumstances since publication.