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Tendering to ESO

ESO, the European Southern Observatory, builds and operates a suite of the world's most advanced ground-based astronomical telescopes. ESO has an annual budget of 135M€, and is poised to begin the construction of the billion Euro ELT (Extremely Large Telescope) project, which represents numerous multi-million Euro opportunities for UK companies.

ESO has its headquarters in Garching, Germany, and operates three major sites in Chile. Major facilities include the VLT (Very Large Telescope) and ALMA (Atacama Large Millimetre Array) (in the final stages of construction).

Key facts

ESO regularly procure elements in fields including:

  • Optics (visible through to mm-wave)
  • Detectors (visible through to mm-wave)
  • Civil Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering and Machining
  • Cryogenics and Vacuum
  • Electronics
  • Software & IT

ESO generally procures through competitive tenders, awarding contracts only to the lowest price technically compliant bid. Single source tenders are extremely rare, except for small value procurements.

ESO's Contracts and Procurement Department webpage provides detailed information on:

  • Advance information on forthcoming calls for tenders exceeding 150K€ (downloadable version of current advance calls is available)
  • Calls for tenders (downloadable version of current calls for tenders is available)
  • Conditions governing invitations to tender and tenders
  • Conditions of ESO contracts
  • Conditions of purchase orders

Notifications of imminent calls are circulated by the UK Industry Liaison Officer (ILO) via the STFC tender list. Please register here if you wish to receive these tender notifications. Small value procurements are processed internally by ESO, using their in-house supplier database. To ensure that your details are maintained on this database, please contact the UK ILO.




UK companies interested in doing business with ESO should contact the UK ILO:

Sandi Wilson
UK Industry Liaison Officer for ESO
Tel: +44 (0)131 668 8272

Last updated: 23 January 2018


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