Tendering to CERN

CERN, the European Laboratory for Particle Physics, is based in Geneva. It is the largest particle physics laboratory in Europe, with an annual budget of 1118.3 million CHF in 2015.

It spends in the region of £180M annually on procurement. Whilst some of this budget is spent on the development of new technologies and new facilities, CERN’s requirements are not all high tech. For example, CERN is a large site and around 14,000 people work there and so it has civil engineering requirements to maintain and develop infrastructure. It also has vast amounts of data to manage and needs computing equipment and support to achieve this.

Key facts

The opportunities are in a range of fields including:

  • Electronics and electrical engineering
  • Civil engineering and buildings
  • Instrumentation (including accelerators, vacuum, cryogenics and detector technologies)
  • Mechanical Structures and Materials
  • Computing and information technologies

CERN provides advance information on calls expected to be released in the next three months that will exceed 200K CHF (approximately £120K). These calls are preceded by a market survey which is a pre-qualification stage. Companies who complete the pre-qualification stage and are selected at this point will be invited to tender. It is very difficult and sometimes not possible to add companies at a later stage if they have not completed a market survey.

Contracts between 50K CHF (approximately £30K) and 200K CHF are managed through a call for tender (known as a price enquiry) without the pre-qualification stage. These are not publicly advertised but they are sent to the UK Industry Liaison Officer (Julie Bellingham) to recommend companies. Notifications of price enquiries are circulated via the STFC tender list. Please register here if you wish to receive these tender notifications.

For values below this, CERN finds companies from its procurement database and contacts. These stages are explained in the image: CERN thresholds.

For more information on how to supply to CERN please watch the following video:

Doing business with CERN
(Credit: Procurement and Industrial Services Group)

HiLumi HL-LHC Project

The High Luminosity LHC Project (HL-LHC) is the next upgrade for the Large Hadron Collider. CERN want to upgrade the LHC in 2020s to increase its luminosity (rate of collisions) by a factor of five beyond the original design value and the integrated luminosity (total collisions created) by a factor ten.

There are loads of opportunities for industry to engage with the HL-LHC project. For more information on the HL-LHC and work packages please visit the HL-LHC Industry website.



To learn about tenders below this 50K CHF threshold, it is vital that UK companies establish and maintain contacts with technical staff at CERN in order to be informed of such requirements and inform the Industry Liaison Officer, Julie Bellingham, of their areas of interest. We can help you make those links so please get in touch with us.

Companies who wish to be included on CERN's supplier database should complete the form on CERNs website.

When visiting CERN, the Commercial Section of the British Consulate in Geneva can provide general advice, contacts within CERN and even practical assistance (if companies are unfamiliar with the area). Please contact:

Eleanor Baha
Trade Attaché
British Consulate-General
Tel: +41 22 918 2421
Fax: +41 22 918 2322

For more information, contact the UK industry liaison to CERN:

Allanah Bayliss
Tel: +44 (0)1793 442056

Science and Technology Facilities Council Switchboard: 01793 442000