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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 constructing the billion Euro ELT (Extremely Large Telescope) project.

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).

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 procures through competitive tenders, awarding contracts on a best value for money basis. 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’s Industrial Liaison Officer for ESO. 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.

Read our one-page ESO explainer here (PDF, 2KB).



Procurement at ESO

ESO Forthcoming Calls for Tender


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

Eileen Forsey
UK Industrial Liaison Officer for ESO

Last updated: 19 August 2021


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