The main purpose with the EURL and its NRL network is to contribute to the improvement and harmonisation of methods of analysis, test or diagnosis to be used by official laboratories.
The EURL is responsible for tasks such as:
- Provide national reference laboratories with details and guidance on the methods of laboratory analysis, testing or diagnosis, including reference methods.
- Coordinate regular inter-laboratory comparative testing or proficiency tests and ensuring follow-up of such comparative testing or proficiency tests and informing the Commission and the Member States of the results.
- Establishing and maintaining reference collections and have up-to-date lists of available reference substances and reagents and of manufacturers and suppliers of such substances and reagents.
- Provide reference materials to NRLs.
- Provide information on national, EU and international research activities to NRLs.Coordinating the application of new methods of laboratory analysis, and informing NRLs of advances in this field.
- Conducting training courses for staff from national reference laboratories and, if needed, from other official laboratories, as well as of experts from third countries.
- Provide scientific and technical assistance to the Commission, collaborate with their agencies (EFSA, ECDC and EMA) and collaborate with laboratories in third countries.
- Assist in the diagnosis of outbreaks in Member States by carrying out confirmatory diagnosis and cooperate with other EURLs and with the Commission to develop methods of analysis of high standards. For the moment we participate in the EURL working group for next generation sequencing (NGS).
- European Union reference laboratories shall publish the list of the national reference laboratories designated by the Member States.
The NRLs are responsible for tasks such as:
- National reference laboratories shall, in their area of competence:
- Collaborate with the EURL, and participate in training courses and in inter-laboratory comparative tests organised by these laboratories;
- Coordinate the activities of official laboratories with a view of harmonising and improving the methods of laboratory analysis.
- Organise inter-laboratory comparative testing or proficiency tests between official laboratories,
- Ensure the dissemination to the competent authorities and official laboratories of information that the EURL supplies.
- Provide within the scope of their mission scientific and technical assistance to the competent authorities for the implementation of Multi-annual national control plans and of coordinated control programmes (EU2017/625 article 112).
- Where relevant, validate the reagents and lots of reagents, establish and maintain up-to-date lists of available reference substances and reagents and of manufacturers and suppliers of such substances and reagents.
- Where necessary, conduct training courses for the staff of official laboratories and assist actively the Member State having designated them in the diagnosis of outbreaks of foodborne diseases.