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ASTM International’s MOU Program Provides Training to Signatory Standards Bodies

Since 2002, ASTM International has signed memorandums of understanding with 29 standards bodies in developing countries, most of them with national standards bodies. The agreements provide for assistance to the NSBs in the form of publication agreements, training, membership in ASTM technical committees, and attendance at symposia.

Recently, the Sri Lanka Standards Institute, which signed an MOU with ASTM in 2003, took advantage of training in the use of ASTM’s electronic standards development tools. In late March, Jim Olshefsky, ASTM director of committee services, conducted a virtual meeting with 20 staff members of SLSI, demonstrating useful ASTM electronic tools such as the online standards search to identify standards development activities, committee home pages, the “members only” area, and ASTM’s online balloting process. Virtual meetings are available to all ASTM members and staff to conduct meetings via teleconferencing and Internet document viewing and editing.

The participants in the virtual meeting included B.S.P. Mendis, SLSI director-general, and B.D. Ariyaratne, director of documentation and information, who coordinated the meeting with Olshefsky. The 18 other participants represent a total of 73 committtee memberships, or units of participation; their participation in committee work will be greatly enhanced by the electronic tools demonstrated in the virtual meeting.

Such training is available to all national standards bodies who have signed MOUs with ASTM International. For more information, contact Jim Olshefsky, ASTM (phone: 610/832-9714). //

World Standards Cooperation Medical Technologies Workshop

A “High Level Workshop on Interntional Standards for Medical Technologies” was held at the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland. in late February. The purpose of the workshop was to review current approaches and projects under way in international standardization, to highlight the main trends for the future, and to offer indications on how to address present and future challenges. These issues were addressed with a focus on providing input on priorities, programs and approaches that can help the development and implementation of standards to respond optimally to the evolving needs of society and markets.

Sessions were held on the role of international standards in the existing framework of regulators, how to identify international standards or other normative references as regulatory solutions, optimal adherence to the effective development of standards, the different approaches that are required to deal with existing new and emerging technologies, and identifying frameworks for supporting standards needs and the application of standards.

Joshua Jacobs, M.D., a member of ASTM International’s board of directors and ASTM Committee F04 on Medical and Surgical Materials and Devices, spoke at the workshop on a surgeon’s perspective on the use of international standards in surgery applications. Anthony Ratcliffe, Ph.D., also a member of ASTM Committee F04, presented a speech on the use of technology to accelerate standards development in high-tech fields, and highlighted F04’s unprecedented work in the field if tissue engineering as an example. Dan Schultz, F04 staff manager, was also present for the discussion sessions. //

Copyright 2004, ASTM International