The Institut Laue-Langevin (ILL) is one of the world’s premier neutron scattering facilities based in Grenoble, France. The ILL is a reactor-based facility, spending in the region of €50 million annually on procurement. There are many opportunities for UK companies to supply the ILL, with requirements in instrumentation, mechanical engineering, electronics, and electrical engineering.
As the UK is an associate of the ILL and a major contributor, the ILL tries to assist the UK in achieving a fair return on its investment through contracts placed with UK companies. The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) manages the subscription costs for the UK, and as part of this the STFC Business Opportunities Team acts as the industrial liaison office for the UK. The team supports UK companies who are interested in working with the ILL.
How to access opportunities at the ILL
Selection of firms
The ILL is not subject to public procurement rules, and opportunities are not advertised openly.
ILL technical and purchasing staff propose suppliers for all opportunities, and it is therefore important for UK companies to build relationships with the technical and purchasing staff at the ILL and the STFC Business Opportunities Team can assist with this.
The industrial liaison officers for each member state can also put forward additional companies to the ILL. The STFC Business Opportunities Team acts as the UK’s industrial liaison office, and opportunities are advertised via the STFC’s Business Opportunities Service, which you can register with to receive details of opportunities by sector.
The procurement process
Above €50,000 (about £45,000)
An outline specification of the tender is passed to the STFC industrial liaison officer before the tender is released for us to circulate and recommend companies.
These tenders are circulated to relevant sectors on STFC’s Business Opportunities Service.
Below €50,000 (around £45,000)
ILL finds companies from its procurement database and contacts. The industrial liaison officers may be asked for specialist purchases.
For these tenders, relationships with technical staff at the ILL are vital. Please contact STFC for assistance in making those links.
For purchases estimated to be above €50,000, the ILL issues a sourcing request to the industrial liaison officers appointed by each member country ahead of the call for tender. The sourcing request includes a brief description of the upcoming tender, and the industrial liaison officers can propose additional companies to include in the tender. Only the industrial liaison officers can suggest additional bidders. Firms cannot propose themselves. The final decision on which companies to include is the ILL’s and they cannot always include all suggested companies.
Calls for tender
Following the sourcing request, selected bidders receive an invitation to tender. The invitation to tender is sent via email and provides a link for companies to access the tender documentation. The deadline to submit a bid is usually about four weeks from when the tender is issued. Please ensure you submit the information in the correct way as stipulated in the documentation.
If your firm is selected but you decide not to bid, inform ILL of your decision: this will help to ensure you are invited to participate in future tenders.
Contracts are usually awarded on the basis of best value for money.
Tips for bidding at the ILL
If you’re not sure, ask (STFC or ILL):
- don’t make assumptions about what the ILL is asking for, ask.
- contact details for questions on technical aspects are included in the tender documents.
Contracts are usually awarded on the basis of best value for money, to the firm whose bid meets the technical, financial and delivery requirements.
Country of origin:
- For supplies, the country of origin is the country of manufacture or last major transformation (including sub-assemblies and components)
- For services, the country of origin is the country in which the contractor is established.
Pick your preferred currency: GBP or EUR.
Be prepared to make a competitive bid.
All tender documents should be available in English.
Acknowledge receipt of the tender documents.
Make sure you complete all documents and double check the number of references required.
Ensure you submit the information in the correct way as stipulated in the documentation.
Respect the deadlines.
A decline is better than no response if you don’t wish to bid so if your firm is selected but you will not be bidding please ensure you inform the ILL – this will help to ensure you are invited to future tenders.
UK industrial liaison officer
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Last updated: 27 October 2022