CIAT will participate in Proficiency Tests from the National Metrology Institute

CIAT will participate in Proficiency Tests from the National Metrology Institute

The Analytical Services Laboratory (LSA, its Spanish initials), which is part of the Agroecosystems and Sustainable Landscapes (ASL) area at CIAT, was listed as eligible for funding to participate in Proficiency Tests carried out by the Colombian National Metrology Institute (INM).

Proficiency Tests (PT) are quality assurance tools that allow laboratories to compare their performance with others, identify trends, and thus take any preventive and corrective action necessary to ensure their technical competence and continuous improvement.

These PTs are conducted within the framework of the Global Quality and Standards Programme (GQSP) in Colombia (, sponsored by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). A part of the program, CIAT’s laboratory has worked collaboratively with INM gathering information through interviews and surveys on the prioritization criteria and metrology needs at the national level, and this information will form the basis to implement activities that will enable innovation and support the economic, scientific and technological development of the country.

This mission is crucial for the quality infrastructure and for the range of services offered for the benefit of national economy in global markets. Services such as Conformity Assessment are based upon demonstrating the technical capability with an adequate confidence level and PTs serve as validated mechanisms for this kind of demonstration.

“We have been working closely with INM and participating in UNIDO’s GQSP, which seeks to improve the measuring capacity of laboratories in the country, to ensure trustworthy results and meet measurement needs of the different sectors of national production. Some days ago, we received an invitation to take part in the PTs, for which we were selected, which means that the Analytical Services Laboratory, along with others, will participate in the inter-lab comparison with certified reference materials (CRMs) developed by INM”, pointed out Orlando Idárraga, Quality Coordinator of the ASL laboratories at CIAT.

Similarly, the laboratory staff will continue working with INM to gather information useful for the creation of a training program for laboratories by GQSP and for the identification of human capital gaps for the laboratory sector, within the framework of the actions included in CONPES 3957 “National Laboratory Policy: Priorities to improve compliance with quality standards”.

A Quality Team

The Analytical Services Laboratory (LSA) has been a key support for the teams working at the Center’s Headquarters. While internal users are the reason the laboratory was created, their service portfolio is also available for external users.

The laboratory performs analyses to determine macronutrient and micronutrient content, with the purpose of identifying chemical compound deficiencies affecting plant growth and development. Moreover, the laboratory provides tools to make a complete diagnosis of soil fertility, environmental services, such as carbon storage, and the ICP analysis to detect contamination with heavy metals like cadmium, lead, or the availability of micronutrients, e.g., Fe and Zn.

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