ESS, or the European Spallation Source, is an international multidisciplinary project associating 17 European countries as members and observers. As part of the project, a centre in which the world’s most powerful pulsed neutron source will be located is being built in the Swedish town of Lund. The high-tech research infrastructure will be available to scientists from all over the world. It will allow carrying out experiments with the purpose of developing projects related with particle physics, new energy sources, medicine, biochemistry or pharmacology.
The activity of ESS is to favour the transfer of modern technologies to every branch of industry and, ultimately, Europeans’ everyday life. The institution has become a part of the EOSC (European Open Science Cloud) project, which means that after a 3-year period, the results of its experiments will be available in open sources LINK. ESS Data Management and Software Centre is also operating in Copenhagen. It will handle the processing and analysis of information collected in the Lund facility.
The European Spallation Source used to be a company, the shares of which were held by the governments of host countries – Sweden and Denmark. Since 2015, it has had a status of a European, intergovernmental project. It currently operates as a European consortium of research infrastructure (ERIC – European Resarch Infrastracture Consortium), whose members include Poland. The construction of ESS, the cost of which is approx. EUR 1,843 bn, is financed by 17 countries. Poland is to cover 1.8% of the amount. At least 70% of our contribution will have the form of in-kind contribution, i.e. the supply of finished products (e.g. components) or services (e.g. installation works) provided in the country by local companies and institutions.
Today, the main centre of ESS resembles a giant construction site. In February 2018, it was officially announced that the project was ready in approx. 40%. The end of works and the centre’s commissioning is scheduled for 2023. Its central element will be the world’s most powerful proton accelerator installed in an underground, 600-metre-long tunnel. The centre will operate 24 hours a day for approximately 200 days a year, which will allow satisfying current deficits in the availability of such type of infrastructure in Europe and in the world. It is estimated that from 2 to 3 thousand scientists will use it annually.
ESS carries out tender proceedings in accordance with the rules set out by the European Union. They guarantee integrity, transparency, competitiveness and impartiality of the process.
The organisation also is willing to cooperate with companies representing various branches of industry. It searches for providers of products and services that are essential to ensure flawless operations of such a large organisation, and that are directly related to the construction of the centre in Lund and its scientific infrastructure.
ESS tender proceedings, depending on the value of order, may be open, limited (composed of two stages), based on competitive negotiations or have the form of requests for quotation. The organisation does not apply geographical limitations, the proceedings may therefore be participated by companies without their registered offices in any of the member countries.
ESS has issued a manual dedicated to its potential and current suppliers. It includes information on the course of proceedings, the method of selecting suppliers and the rules of cooperating with the institution after the conclusion of proceedings.
ESS has also launched a portal for its suppliers. A company that set up its profile is given access to information concerning current tender proceedings and ESS demand. It may also take part in the proceedings in an on-line form (e.g. send documents via email) and directly contact the ESS team, whose task is to handle business partnerships and provide necessary support.
Furthermore, in every member country there is an official ESS agency, which provides information on the possibilities and business benefits from cooperation with the organisation (ILOs – Industrial Liaison Offices). The Office is responsible for assisting companies (potential and current suppliers) in establishing contact with ESS and in their participation in tenders announced by the Organisation. A full list of ILOs is available on the centre’s website. Polish companies are assisted by dr Dariusz Bocian from the Institute of Nuclear Physics of the Polish Academy of Science.
Approximately 30% of the budget for the construction of ESS infrastructure (which currently amounts to EUR 1.84 bn) has the form of in-kind contribution from the organisation’s European partners. It is a unique cooperation model, which has an immensely positive effect on the development of partnership between industry and business. It guarantees that a considerable part of funds which a member country must assign to its contribution is spent on domestic market and, consequently, supports the development of local R&D centres.
Over 160 organisations from around the world, 40 of which are official partners of the institution (In-Kind Partners), are concentrated around ESS. Their tasks include the provision of goods and services which member countries should contribute to ESS as their budget contribution. In the case of Poland, for example, in-kind contribution set at minimum 70% has already reached 78% – Polish engineers provide such elements as particle accelerator components.
Each of ESS’s official partners carries out its own tender proceedings based on individual rules and procedures.
IKC Partners in Poland are:
ESS encourages entrepreneurs to monitor tender announcements published by its partners. Cooperation with the partners is tantamount to cooperation with ESS.
Skanska is one of ESS In-Kind Partners, who runs its own tender proceedings in compliance, among others, with the provisions of the Swedish construction law. Companies that want to become suppliers for Skanska must pass a qualification procedure and register on the company’s suppliers portal. The portal provides complete information on tender rules, current requests and necessary contact details.