CEN is the European Standards Body. The core purpose of CEN is to develop European Standards (EN) and other publications, including Technical Specifications (TS), Technical Reports (TR) and Workshop Agreements (CWA). The European Standardization System has made a significant contribution to the creation of a common European market, embedded in a global economy, and in disseminating the knowledge incorporated in these publications through its network of CEN (national) Members.


There are 33 national members of CEN. There is one member per member state of the European Union plus, members for Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, Turkey and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

Standards are produced in CEN through Technical Committees populated by delegates from the members of CEN. In innovative markets there is often a request for a best-practice document to be developed as a stepping stone to further standardization deliverables, to facilitate interoperability and compatibility and facilitate further innovations in the market. However, if an project has not yet achieved a sufficient degree of stability, a European Standard may not be the best way of meeting this need, because of the nature of the standardization process and the requirement that all CEN (national) members adopt the resulting standard.

A CWA is a document agreed by the participants of a Workshop, which is designed to meet an immediate need and form the basis for future standardization activity. The stakeholder involvement limits itself to those directly interested in the subject. The direct participation of interested parties and the rapid development opportunities offered by a CWA are particularly attractive for European research projects (Horizon 2020) which have to deliver within the duration of their project lifetime.

Although a CWA is developed outside the normal CEN technical body structure, it is important to ensure the coherence of all the different CEN deliverables in order to protect the credibility of European standardization. Therefore a CWA shall not conflict with a European Standard.

In order to create a CWA a CEN Workshop must be initiated. This must be done on the proposal of a CEN Member. The basis for the proposed Workshop is set out in a Project Plan.  CEN Provide a template[2] for the development of a Project Plan for a new Workshop.

The template includes the following headings;

  • Status of the Project Plan and Background to the Workshop
  • Workshop proposers and Workshop participants
  • Workshop scope and objectives
  • Workshop programme and Workshop structure
  • Resource requirements and related activities and Liaisons
  • Contact points

The NSAI (National Standards Authority of Ireland) has submitted a Project Plan on behalf of the AquaSmart Project to initiate a CEN Workshop on Big Data. The ICT Standards Consultative Committee of NSAI have approved the Project Plan, and it has now been submitted to CEN Technical Board and awaits approval. The AquaSmart project consortium are delighted to report this progress.

[1] CEN/ CENELEC Workshop, Guide 29,  Edition 1, November 2014

[2] CEN/ CENELEC Project Plan Template (Draft PP Version 1.0)