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Tendering to ESS

The European Spallation Source (ESS) will be the world’s most powerful neutron source and it is currently under construction in Lund, Sweden. 

it will provide new opportunities for researchers in a broad range of scientific areas including materials, life sciences, energy, environmental technology, cultural heritage and fundamental physics.

The ESS will be an accelerator-based facility producing neutrons for 15 advanced instruments. It is one of Europe’s largest scientific projects. It will include a 2MW linear proton accelerator, a tungsten target wheel, laboratories and a data management and software centre. Construction started in July 2014; the aim is for the source to open for scientific users by late 2027.

The STFC Business Opportunities team act as the UK Industrial Liaison Office. The team supports UK companies who are interested in working with ESS.

How to access opportunities at ESS

There are three main routes for industrial involvement in the ESS:

  1. By directly bidding to ESS for work.
    1. Opportunities over €200k will be advertised on the ESS website. The process typically starts with a Call for Tender.
    2. €50k-€200k Market Survey opportunities will be advertised via the Industrial Liaison Officer who can put forward companies to ESS.
  2. By bidding to supply elements of the UK’s in-kind contributions. The contributions are listed here. UKRI-STFC will advertise these on UKRI’s Procurement Portal, and Contracts Finder or Find a Tender. Remaining items to be procured include parts for neutron instruments. RACE (UKAEA) is leading the delivery of the ESS Hot Cell, and procurement of this work has now been completed.
  3. By bidding to supply elements of other ESS partner nations’ in-kind contributions. A list of signed In-Kind Contribution (IKC) agreements can be found here. Some opportunities may be advertised on OJEU where appropriate.

Tips for bidding at ESS

The tender process is conducted via the ESS Supplier Portal, and you must create an account - this will allow you to register your interest in tenders over €200k, access the tender documents, ask questions and receive answers, and submit your bid.

Contracts are awarded on the basis of Best Value for Money; how points are awarded is set out in the tender documents.

Be prepared to make a competitive bid.

All tender documents should be available in English.

Please ensure you follow the instructions re what to provide and in what format, to the letter, to ensure you submit a compliant bid.

If you are not sure about anything, don’t make an assumption - ask (us or ESS).

Clarification questions about a tender and requests for an extension to the closing date should be submitted to ESS via the Supplier Portal’s Q and A. Please note that the deadline for asking questions is typically at least a week before the bid submission deadline.

If invited to tender for Market Survey opportunities, you should receive instructions via email on how to access the documents.

See ESS Procurement Rules and IP policy.

If you don’t wish to bid, you can decline on the Supplier Portal.

Useful links

Register for the STFC Business Opportunities Service

ESS website

Procurement at ESS

ESS Procurement Supplier Portal


For more information please contact the UK Industrial Liaison Officer:

Carol Watts

If you need help with exporting please visit the Department for International Trade’s website.

Last updated: 14 January 2022


Science and Technology Facilities Council
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