Tendering to CERN - STFC

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Tips for bidding at CERN

If you’re not sure, ask STFC or CERN:

  • don’t make assumptions about what CERN are asking for
  • you are encouraged to speak to the technical and commercial contacts directly.

Only bid for what CERN has asked for. Any extras should be optional or possibly submitted as an alternate bid.

Award of contracts:

  • supply contracts: usually awarded on a lowest compliant bid basis
  • service contracts: usually awarded on a best value for money basis.

Country of origin:

  • supplies – the country of manufacture or last major transformation (including sub-assemblies and components)
  • services – the country in which the contractor is established.

Pick your preferred currency: £, €, CHF (others also possible – ask CERN).

Be prepared to make a very competitive bid:

  • there is kudos associated with being a CERN supplier but this is an ongoing effect rather than just an immediate financial benefit
  • there’s no guarantee of follow-on orders but you will normally be invited next time if no problems occurred, and contract extensions are not unknown
  • it can sometimes take several bids before the correct winning margins are found; the ILO team can help inform of the margin compared to the winning bid
  • you will receive payment within one month of receipt of the invoice, if delivered and accepted
  • English is a working language at CERN: all tender documents are available in English.

Bank guarantees may be a pain but are necessary. CERN seldom makes use of them unless the firm goes bankrupt.

Make sure you complete all sections of bid documents, including market surveys and double check the number of references required:

  • for market surveys, if you can’t quite meet all the criteria it may still be worth submitting a response but justify any sections where you aren’t able to meet the exact specifications. Please contact us if you’re unsure.
  • STFC is available to review and comment on the qualification questionnaire before you submit it to CERN.

Ensure you submit the information in the correct way as stipulated in the documentation.

Consortia are usually allowed (companies involved should complete a technical questionnaire together).

CERN’s standard terms and conditions are available on their website.

Respect the deadlines for price enquiries and calls for tender. You can respond to a market survey as long as it’s still available on the CERN website.

Regularly check the contact details (including email addresses) for your company in both CERN’s and STFC’s supplier portals.

A decline is better than no response if you don’t wish to bid; this will help to ensure you stay on the list for future tenders.

Download tips for bidding at CERN.

Last updated: 28 October 2022

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