Participation in QUASIMEME has been shown to improve the performance of laboratories.
The European Union (EU) supported the QUASIMEME project between 1992 and 1996. Its aim was to develop a holistic quality assurance programme for marine environmental monitoring information in Europe. As a result of this pioneering project a marine network and laboratory performance studies have been established for most of the determinants measured in the marine environmental programmes for both monitoring and research purposes. The EU funded Quasimeme project proved that laboratories which followed on a regular basis the learning programmes and the laboratory testing schemes improved the quality of their data. The information exchange encouraged by this scheme and the opportunity to verify the laboratory performance was clearly of significant value to those who participated. The advantage of this initial project was that the studies were centrally financed. However, this approach only enabled a limited number of institutes to benefit from this support. After the end of the EU funding in 1995, the QUASIMEME scheme continued on subscription basis. Now it is possible for any laboratory worldwide to participate.
The subscription scheme began in 1996 and has included the existing matrix-determinant combinations from the EU QUASIMEME 92-96 programme with additional measurements as needed for national and international marine QA programmes. New determinants are added if there is a demand for them. In addition, workshops and development exercises with the framework of the scheme are organised.
The QUASIMEME project has been hosted from its inception in 1992 to April 1, 2005, by the Fisheries Research Institute in Aberdeen, United Kingdom. Wageningen University and Research (WUR) has taken over the responsibility for the QUASIMEME project on April 1, 2005. Three groups of WUR cooperate: the Centre for Water and Climate of Alterra, the Netherlands Institute for Fisheries Research (RIVO), and the Wageningen Evaluating Programmes for Analytical Laboratories the Soil Chemistry and Chemical Soil Quality group. Alterra acts as coordinator. In the periode between April 1, 2005 and April 1, 2006, the Fisheries Research Institute in Aberdeen cooperates so as to ensure a smooth transition of the scheme from the Aberdeen, United Kingdom to Wageningen, the Netherlands.