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50 Years of Cooperation with INTI (Argentina) – from a Personal Level to Success

We celebrated the 50th anniversary of PTB’s cooperation with the national metrology institute of Argentina in November 2017. Fifty years of cooperation is also a great achievement for us. The development that INTI has gone through in all those years is impressive: It went from being a partner in one of the largest technical cooperation projects in Latin America to its current status as a recognized NMI. The collaboration with this Argentinian partner organization is an outstanding example of how independent and equal partners can spring forth from recipients of international cooperation projects. And it also demonstrates how consistent work on quality infrastructure can be successful and remain steadfast in the face of all political developments.

INTI was already founded as a national institute for industrial technology in 1957. Its founding occurred during the beginning of Peronism, a political and societal movement which influenced Argentina until the recent past. Between 1962 and 1963, governmental negotiations between Germany and Argentina on technical cooperation projects took place. They resulted in an agreement between PTB and INTI for the building of metrological laboratories in 1967. Because of the agreement, INTI experienced technological cooperation of the first hour. INTI reached its next milestone in the 70s when INTI became the national metrology institute. At the same time, the first director of INTI, Dr. Rafael Steinberg, initiated the founding of the regional organization SIM (el Sistema Interamericano de Metrología).

Despite the military dictatorship in power from 1976-1983, our collaboration did not fade away thanks to the untiring efforts of the participants. Even in this politically challenging time, a scholarship recipient was a guest at PTB. In total, 36 long-term scholars received specialist scientific and technical training and three obtained doctoral degrees at PTB in cooperation with the TU Braunschweig. With this training, they were able to lay down the cornerstone for professional metrology in Argentina’s laboratories, universities and expert committees. The sustainability of these impacts is not only proven by the fact that many of these skilled workers remain multipliers for metrology to this day. It is especially apparent in a further effect: one of the first long-term scholarship recipients became the founder father of metrology and today’s NMI in Panama. The three scientists who wrote their dissertations at PTB represent three generations of fruitful cooperation. Dr. Joaquin Valdés is the former director and Dr. Hector Laíz is the current director of INTI. The third scientist, Dr. Ricardo Luzzolino, continually promotes the personal and scientific partnership of the two institutes – just as so many others at INTI.

Consistent successes like CMC¹ entries, scientific cooperation projects, the participation in EMPIR², Dr. Hector Laiz’s current SIM presidency and the CIPM³ membership illustrate INTI’s position as a recognized NMI. And finally, in the memorandum of understanding between PTB and INTI, which has existed since 2011, exemplary cooperation is obvious and it expresses our personal and institutional view on sustainable development.

¹ Calibration and measurement capabilities (CMCs) that were registered at the Bureau International des Poids et Mesures (BIPM)
² European Metrology Innovation Research Programme
³ Comité international des poids et mesures