Standards: an invaluable resource for higher education

Standards provide a framework for proper agreements. From the A4 format for paper and 4G network rules to agreements on safety and quality: standards are an integral part of our daily lives and also have major impacts on the way we work. Have you ever thought about the impact of standards on your SME, and did you know that you can contribute to the development of standards yourself? 

What is a standard?

A standard is an agreement about a product, service or process. It’s not a binding obligation, but is applied voluntarily by everyone who has an interest in it. By referring to a standard in legislation, its application becomes mandatory. This can be done, for example, to better protect consumers or employees. You can also make standards enforceable by referring to them in contracts or in the context of certification. 


that's how many standards are currently available at the NBN

The advantages of standards 

Standards are available in all forms and concerning diverse topics. These are five of the main reasons why organisations implement them: 
  • Cost savings – thanks to more efficiency and improved business processes; 
  • Export opportunities – products or services are more easily accepted in other countries; 
  • Innovation – sharing knowledge and new techniques becomes easier; 
  • Customer satisfaction – by increasing the quality of products or services; 
  • Sustainability – standards help businesses create environmentally friendly, safe and sustainable products or processes.


Standards in your university or college 

The student of today is the user – and developer – of future standards. That’s why it’s crucial for students to become acquainted with standards and the standardisation process during their studies. For that purpose, the NBN launched the Eduportal in 2013.  

This portal gives teachers and students unlimited access to more than 35,000 standards. The advantages for your students:  

  • Access to knowledge: standards are a source of knowledge;  
  • Career boost: being aware of the importance of standards and knowing how to use them is key to becoming a successful professional;   
  • Study aid: students consult standards in order to professionalise their thesis or as reference material; 
  • Training: the NBN Eduportal gives students online access to free training.  


How ULB stresses the added value of standards to engineering students

Patrick Hendrick, professor at the Faculty of Engineering at ULB, teaches his students about industrial standards early on in their studies so they know what those standards contain and develop the reflex to check their ideas against them. At the same time, the standards inspire the budding engineers to create new products and services.


Teachers and educational institutions – and thus also their students – get free access to the Eduportal of the NBN. Want to go one step further? Sign up to contribute to the development of standards.



students and professors 
consulted the NBN Eduportal
in 2021

Contribute to the development of standards

The NBN facilitates the development of standards in Belgium through standards committees: we bring together experts so that they can develop standards relating to their fields of specialisation. Many of these experts are academics.  

Why participate? 

  • You learn - you are the first to be aware of future developments and trends; 
  • You network - you are constantly exchanging ideas with other experts; 
  • You influence - you exert influence during the norm development process. 


The NBN needs your experience and expertise!



that's how many Belgian experts are currently helping the NBN develop standards

About the NBN

Together with its sector operators, the NBN acts as the Belgian knowledge centre for all activities related to standardisation. We play a societal role by helping companies, consumers, public authorities and other stakeholders strive for greater quality within an international competitive context. We do so by offering services related to the development, publication, dissemination and use of standards. 

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