CERN, the European Laboratory for Particle Physics based in Geneva and the largest particle physics laboratory in the world with an average annual budget of 1.1 billion Swiss Francs (CHF), offers many opportunities for UK companies to supply the products and services it requires.
It spends in the region of £350 million annually on procurement. While 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 with around 14,000 people working there and so it has civil engineering requirements to maintain and develop infrastructure. CERN has broad requirements, from a lot of computing equipment to manage the vast amounts of data produced to cables, stationery, financial and consulting services and so on.
As the UK is a CERN member state and a major contributor, CERN tries to assist the UK in getting a proper return on 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 act as the UK industrial liaison office. The team supports UK companies interested in working with CERN.