Summary Report of the Evaluation of the Metrology Research Centre (METRO)

Status: Active
Effective date: June 24, 2021
Prepared by: Office of Audit and Evaluation, National Research Council Canada
Approval: NRC's President
Cat. No.: NR16‑365/1‑2021E‑PDF
ISBN: 978‑0‑660‑39670‑5
Alternate format: Summary Report - Evaluation of the Metrology Research Centre (PDF, 246 KB)

METRO's Budget (2014‑15 to 2019‑20)

Direct Program Expenses: $150 Million

Earned Revenues: $45 Million

METRO's Resources (as of 31 Mar, 2020)

Staff: 176 full‑time equivalents

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion: Fairly good representation of all groups, although women are underrepresented in the Researcher category.

METRO is Canada's National Measurement Institute (NMI). In this capacity, it collaborates across the global innovation system to provide metrology research and services that help transform ideas into market‑ready technologies that benefit Canadian society, the economy and the environment. METRO has three main goals:

Advance scientific excellence: Join list of top‑5 NMIs, and attract and retain the best and brightest while striving for an equitable, inclusive and diverse workforce.

Deliver policy solutions: Allow Canadian policy makers to have foresight on emerging needs requiring metrology and standardization (e.g. transport, advanced manufacturing). Metrology underpins and contributes to new suites of programs.

Support business innovation: Contribute to a robust Canadian measurement system, and have influence in key discussions / decisions nationally / globally to enhance the penetration of Canadian goods into international markets.


The evaluation found that METRO is demonstrating scientific excellence, contributing to government policy solutions, and supporting business innovation. METRO is engaging with national and international stakeholders and has the expertise to meet stakeholder needs and shift focus as required to address changing needs and priorities.

  • 59% of clients developed new or improved products and processes, thanks to working with METRO
  • METRO's contribution to the redefinition of the kilogram helped the international scientific community achieve a more accurate definition of the kilogram
  • METRO has been integral to Canada's response to the COVID‑19 pandemic

Opportunities to Strengthen Metro's Position

Metrics: METRO is tracking performance measures, but there were some difficulties or delays during the evaluation to obtain specific data and align them to identified targets. METRO also has a stated objective of being a "top‑five" NMI, but international comparison is difficult. METRO is currently developing a new management toolkit, which provides an opportunity to improve their approach to collect performance data and determine an appropriate way to rank itself against other NMIs.

Engagement: METRO has undertaken various initiatives that support client engagement, such as the implementation of an advisory board and participation in programs. However, many external stakeholders have limited knowledge of the breadth of services the research centre provides; therefore, strategic additional client engagement would be an asset for METRO.

Resources: METRO staff are concerned about loss of knowledge as a result of retirements and attrition, and aging infrastructure. There is an opportunity for METRO to increase its partnerships with other organizations in order to access needed competencies, equipment and facilities.


The evaluation assessed METRO's relevance and performance for the period of 2014‑15 to 2019‑20. It was carried out by the NRC's Evaluation team and drew on the following methods: bibliometric study, data analysis, document and literature review, client survey, internal and external interviews, case studies, COVID‑19 case study, and a special study on comparative measures for scientific excellence.

The full evaluation report, including the management response and action plan, is available on the NRC's website.