By Dhel Nazario
A Filipina scientist from the Metrology in Chemistry (MiC) Laboratory of the National Metrology Laboratory (NML-ITDI) won the 2019 Developing Economies National Metrology Institute (DEN) Award, making her the first Filipino recipient of the accolade.
Dr. Benilda S. Ebarvia bested entries from 16 other countries –Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, North Korea, Pakistan, Zimbabwe, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam.
Dr. Toshiyuki Takatsuji, of the National Metrology Institute (NMI) of Japan and chair of the Asia Pacific Metrology Program (APMP), gave the award in a recent ceremony held in at Le Montage in Sydney, Australia.
APMP established the DEN Award in November, 2010 to highlight contributions from and to recognize outstanding achievements of an individual from APMP’s 17 member economies in advancing metrology efforts in their country and or within the Asia Pacific Region.
It gives the award to only one individual every year, with APMP reserving the right to declare no winner within an award year.
Dr. Ebarvia received the award for having played a key role in establishing the Metrology in Chemistry (MiC) at NML-ITDI and raising funds for its operations, including raising awareness of metrology among stakeholders in the country.
However, she is best represented by her work on developing the first Reference Materials (RMs) in the Philippines which are used to confirm methods and to assess accuracy of measurement results. These are then used by measurement laboratories to analyze, for example, content of properties in foodstuffs.
These are useful also in proving what makes up a particular food, its micronutrients, or the extent of its authenticity. Further, Dr. Ebarvia’s RM work supports results of measurement laboratories to ensure that local commodities can pass stringent international trade standards on food quality and control.