On behalf of the Focused Interest Group on Microanalytical Standard (FIGMAS) committee, we warmly welcome you to the first pre-meeting congress on standards and reference materials. Every microanalyst, whether it is from the world of electron microscopy (e.g., EDS, WDS, ?-XRF), mass spectrometry (e.g., laser-ablation, SIMS) or another microanalytical technique, is in need of the best standards and reference materials available. However, questions regularly arise on the quality and availability of such materials. As you probably know – and if you don’t, you are at the right place – microanalytical reference materials must meet certain criteria if they are to be used to produce accurate data. Appropriate materials should sustain high vacuum levels, show resistance to beam damage (for EDS/ WDS work), and be easily prepared. The material should be homogeneous at the micron-scale with an accurate and reproducible reference composition, ideally certified using multiple analytical techniques (e.g., wet chemistry, mass spectrometery, X-ray analysis at micron scale).