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30 Years of Metrological Cooperation with Eastern Europe

COOMET, the association of Eastern European metrology institutes, is turning 30. Its new Vice President is Frank Lienesch from the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt.

The 30th anniversary of COOMET (Euro-Asian Cooperation of National Metrology Institutions) calls to mind the dissolution of the Soviet Union as well as the reunification of Germany and the integration of the metrological divisions of the Amt für Standardisierung, Messwesen und Warenprüfung (Office for Standardization, Metrology and Quality Control – ASMW) of the former German Democratic Republic (GDR) into the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB). PTB has been a member of COOMET since its first year. Over the years, PTB has actively served as a connecting link between COOMET and EURAMET, the association of EU and EFTA state metrology institutes, and has been providing one of the four COOMET vice presidents. Dr. Frank Lienesch, Head of PTB’s Legal and International Metrology Division, was elected as the new Vice President of COOMET during the general assembly session (of the COOMET Committee) on 15 June.

The founding of COOMET marked the beginning of a new era in metrology after the collapse of the Soviet Union. It took place at the same time that the metrology section of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (COMECON) was being disbanded. A memorandum of understanding (MoU) which was signed by representatives of metrology institutions in Bulgaria, Poland, Romania, the USSR (as it was still called until 21 December 1991) and Czechoslovakia on 12 June 1991 was the basis of COOMET’s establishment. The founding treaty which defines the framework conditions for cooperation among metrology institutes also paved the way toward COOMET’s future as a regional metrology organization within the scope of the CIPM MRA (the Mutual Recognition Arrangement of the International Committee for Weights and Measures). During the same year – namely on 13 November 1991 – PTB joined COOMET. PTB had taken over the metrological divisions of the Amt für Standardisierung, Messwesen und Warenprüfung (ASMW) of the GDR after the reunification of Germany. PTB has therefore played a pivotal role since the very beginning as a connecting link between the two metrological organizations in the East and West – COOMET and EURAMET (which was still called “EUROMET” at that time).

Dr. Frank Lienesch, Head of Division 9, Legal and International Metrology, and new Vice President of COOMET.

Today, COOMET has 15 full members and six associated members which include Turkey and China. PTB is involved in the expert work of COOMET’s technical committees through its participation in comparison measurements, the calibration of the national standards of COOMET member states and peer reviews. Furthermore, PTB has led the technical committee for quality for many years. PTB is a partner of COOMET members both in terms of the helping members achieve the highest scientific levels as well as drawing them to the international system of metrology.

On behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) and the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), PTB supports the activities and further development of COOMET. One focus rests on involving countries in Central Asia and the South Caucasus region as well as Moldova and Ukraine. Through its participation in COOMET, PTB fulfills its mission which is laid down in the Charter of PTB to harmonize metrology and achieve its aim of being a connecting link to EURAMET. In addition, PTB has been implementing technical cooperation work on behalf of the BMZ with COOMET member states which are partner countries of the BMZ. Since 2004, PTB has been conducting EU twinning projects on the subject of metrology with COOMET’s member states Azerbaijan, Georgia, Lithuania and Moldova.

PTB has continuously provided one of the four COOMET vice presidents since the year 2000: Dr. Hans-Dieter Velfe (2000-2008), Prof. Dr. Klaus-Dieter Sommer (2008-2015) and Dr. Peter Ulbig (2015-2020). Dr. Peter Ulbig ended his vice presidency on 31 December 2020 when he left PTB. His successor as the Head of Division 9, Legal and International Metrology, Dr. Frank Lienesch, is now Dr. Ulbig’s successor as a Vice President as well. It is planned that he will hold this office until the year 2024.

Dr.-Ing. Frank Lienesch studied electrical engineering in Braunschweig and Valencia. He has worked at PTB since 1994. From 2003-2016, he led the “Explosion-protected Electrical Driving Systems” Working Group before becoming the Head of the “Explosion Protection in Sensor Technology and Instrumentation” Department and the Head of Sector 1 of the Conformity Assessment Body. Since 2021, he has been the Head of Division 9, Legal and International Metrology. He has extensive experience in standards work – part of his working hours were designated to the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy for many years (2005-2016) to oversee the ATEX Directive – and has held a teaching position at the Ostfalia University of Applied Sciences in Wolfenbüttel and at the Technische Universität Braunschweig since 2005.

During the virtual celebratory event, the former Vice President of PTB, Dr. Manfred Kochsiek – who signed the accession to COOMET in 1991 and who embodies 30 years of PTB’s cooperation with COOMET like no other – held a welcome address.


Moritz Ackermann, 9.113 COOMET, EU Twinning, phone: +49 531 592-8219,

Images © COOMET, PTB