EPTIS is a cooperation of around 40 partner organisations from all continents. Most of them are national metrology institutes, testing institutes or accreditation bodies. The German partner operates the database and website servers and coordinates the overall activities. New partners from countries or regions that are not yet represented are welcome on EPTIS.
Traditionally, many PT providers organised their schemes for domestic laboratories with only limited participation from abroad. This national focus often had a practical background, e.g. the language barrier, cultural specifics (e.g. food or environmental issues), the cost of sample transportation (e.g. by air or with dry ice) and customs obstacles.
However, globalisation and the growing demand for PT have impacted on this clearly structured PT landscape. Many PT providers have adapted to the changes and are today making allowance for foreign participants in terms of language and shipping. Many schemes that were formerly provided in one or a few countries are now available worldwide.
Participation in these schemes is however hampered by the lack of information on their availability. Only few schemes are actively announced or commercially marketed abroad. Regions that are limited in resources may even be cut off from the information flux. This concerns the multitude of smaller and more specialist schemes, but it may also hold for larger schemes that are regionally successful but virtually unknown in other regions.
In 1998, organisations in 16 European countries joined forces to shed light in the dark. They created a database with the characteristics of PT schemes operated in their countries, thus presenting them to the worldwide market in a well-structured manner. The European PT Information System or EPTIS database went online in the year 2000. The project was embedded in, and funded via the European Union policy to reduce technical barriers to trade.
EPTIS has grown considerably in the meantime. Today, EPTIS is a joint publication of around 40 partner organisations from all continents that co-operate according to a joint protocol. Some 270 PT providers list about 2200 schemes on the database (the exact figure is shown at the front page) and ca. 4000 different EPTIS users (i.e. unique IP numbers) visit EPTIS each month (as per January 2015). EPTIS is primarily funded by BAM (Germany), a governmental not for profit research and testing organisation.
EPTIS helps you find a suitable proficiency test (PT) for your laboratory. There are many PT schemes available worldwide (a scheme is a coherent series of single rounds). For every PT scheme we know of (and for which we have capacity) we have produced a data sheet and collected these sheets in the EPTIS database. You can search this database at no cost at:
What is not included on the database is topical information on next PT rounds. When is the next round, and what is the matrix material this time? This information is too dynamic as to be included in the database. But you can find such details for a selection of schemes in the EPTIS calendar, a special list on the website.
If you cannot find what you are looking for, try looking under PT provider lists. They contain a number of providers that have not been included in the database yet.