By Kanda Yaemboonruang
The NATS LAB at the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) recently received an ISO/IEC 17025:2017 Certificate from the Department of Science Service, Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation (MHESI). The achievement recognized the laboratory to be the very first certified lab in Thailand for high-concentration wastewater analyses.
ISO/IEC 17025:2017 was jointly developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), with members in all regions of the world. It is considered crucial for laboratories as it certifies that the member laboratories can demonstrate their technical competence and produce valid and reliable results. The certification also helps further collaboration between laboratories and other relevant parties, as test results are accepted globally.
The new ISO certification for NATS LAB was celebrated at an inauguration event on October 15. Professor Thammarat Kootatep, Director of NATS LAB, praised all the scientists and staff for their hard work over the past 3 years to set up the quality management system and workflow in the lab. The facility has been striving towards ensuring high reliability and transparency of its processes and test results. Receiving ISO-certification will enable more trust and confidence among clients from business and industry, he said.
Addressing the inauguration ceremony, AIT President Dr. Eden Woon said that with the ISO certification the laboratory can take its research to the next step and more innovative research can happen.
“We are working on very important subjects including water, wastewater and sanitation, but we need to always look at new ways of working on these subjects. Getting the very first ISO-certified lab is one step. There are more steps to come to make our research more innovative and more in keeping with what the world needs, President Woon said.
“This not only helps our own research, but also outsiders. We need to look outward with more outreach, more interactions with the world. This will give us more networks and more ability to influence and work with the private and government sectors.”
Professor Shobhakar Dhakal, Dean of School of Environment, Resources and Development (SERD) said, “I really hope we will be successful in upscaling this into the next ISO. If we can achieve that, we will be the front-runner not only in Thailand but also in Asia. I also look forward to seeing other labs in my school achieving similar goals which will allow AIT to take leadership in technology in this region.”
The NATS LAB was established at AIT in 2015 to create and implement sustainable sanitation using innovative and affordable solutions for community and environment development in developing countries. It has since grown to become a center of knowledge and information for sustainable sanitation. The laboratory aims to be a model facility for fecal sludge analysis in Southeast Asia and beyond in developing quality standards for wastewater and sludge analytical procedures in the region.
“We will not just stop at ISO/IEC 17025:2017, but we will keep working hard to reach our next mission, and that is getting ISO/IEC 17043:2010 (Fecal Sludge Proficiency Center) which has not been achieved anywhere in Thailand as of now,” Prof. Thammarat said.