Procurement & Industry

Procurement opportunities and notices

Please click the card on the right to view current and upcoming procurements, market surveys (Expressions of Interest) and contract award notices.

The SKAO procurement function enables the successful execution of the SKA Observatory mission by effectively and efficiently managing the end-to-end acquisition process and ensuring that all its activities are compliant with the provisions of the SKAO Procurement Policy while achieving balanced industrial return for the SKAO member states.

Procurement Principles

The SKAO acquires all goods, services and works in accordance with the approved SKAO procurement Policy. A copy of this policy can be found here: SKAO Procurement Policy

All SKAO procurement activity adheres to the following core principles:

  • Fair Work Return – wherever possible the SKAO only acquires goods, services, and works from within Member countries.
  • Fairness, integrity, and transparency – the SKAO does not act in such a way that commercially advantages or disadvantages Member country suppliers.
  • Effective competition, competitive tendering is the preferred option.
  • Best value for money – the SKAO evaluates the total cost of ownership when making purchasing decisions.

Glossary of Terms

  • Market Survey – the term frequently used by organisations such as the SKAO to describe Expressions of Interest
  • ILO – Industrial Liaison Officer
  • ITT – Invitation to Tender
  • NEC4 – New Engineering Contract Revision 4
  • PQQ – Pre-qualification Questionnaire
  • RFQ – Request for Quotation
  • SKAO – The SKA Observatory

SKAO Procurement processes

Requests for Quotation Procedure

The Request for Quotation procedure is normally used for the procurement of goods, services or works with an estimated value between € 50k and € 200k.

The RFQ procurement procedure consists of the following sequential steps:

  • Opportunity advertised on SKAO web portal (Expression of Interest)
  • RFQ to include Tender Form
  • at least 3 written quotes to be obtained by Procurement Services
  • evaluation of quotes by Procurement Services
  • award approval
  • Contract or Purchase Order prepared and sent to Supplier by Procurement Services

ITT Procurement Procedure

The Invitation to Tender (ITT) procedure is normally used to procure contracts with an estimated value greater than € 200k.

The ITT procurement procedure consists of the following sequential steps:

  • ILOs notified that we will shortly be conducting a Market Survey/Expressions of Interest,
  • Market Survey (Expressions of Interest),
  • Pre-qualification of suppliers,
  • ITT issued to qualified suppliers,
  • Tender evaluation,
  • Award of contract.

Prior notification of Market Surveys (Expressions of Interest) to ILOs:

The SKAO provides its ILO network with prior notification of all Market Surveys (Expressions of Interest) to be published on the SKAO supplier portal. This prior notification includes tender timescales, an overview of technical requirements and the basic pre-qualification criteria that will be applied by the SKAO to develop the final shortlist of suppliers selected to take part in the tender. The prior notification phase is intended to assist ILOs with generating interest in the procurement opportunity from within their own Member country internal markets.

*Industrial Liaison Officer (or ‘ILO’) – is a nominated representative of a SKAO Member state responsible, amongst other tasks, for ensuring the efficient flow of information between the SKAO and suppliers in the ILO’s own country.

Market Survey (Expressions of Interest)

A Market Survey (commonly called an Expression of Interest or ‘EOI’) is run by SKAO to attract and solicit interest from potential suppliers. A Market Survey is a mandatory step in the overall supplier selection process that enables prospective suppliers to express an interest in being included in the subsequent pre-qualification phase.

All suppliers should register their interest in SKAO procurement opportunities on the SKAO Supplier Portal. Registering interest on the Supplier Portal has been simplified and minimal effort should be required.

*Please note that the Market Survey serves as an “Expression of Interest” and is an opportunity for suppliers to provide information and to express their interest in relation to a procurement opportunity. Only suppliers that show an expression of interest during the Market Survey stage, will be invited to be pre-qualified and eventually tender.

Pre-Qualification of Suppliers

The SKAO uses a two-step procurement process. Potential suppliers wanting to tender for any commercial opportunity with an estimated value greater than € 200k will need to pre-qualify before being shortlisted to receive an ITT pack.

Potential suppliers that have registered their interest on the Supplier Portal will need to pre-qualify before being invited to tender.

As a part of the pre-qualification process, all potential suppliers are required to declare that they will adhere to the SKAO Supplier Code of Conduct. A copy of the Code can be found here (SKAO Supplier Code of Conduct)

A typical SKAO Pre-Qualification pack will normally include:

  • cover letter, including simple instructions;
  • brief technical description of the required goods, services or work;.
  • Pre-qualification Questionnaire (hereinafter referred to as a ‘PQQ’);
  • outline procurement schedule;
  • Supplier Code of Conduct; and
  • Safety Questionnaire.

The completed PQQ, and any supplementary materials requested within the cover letter should be returned to SKAO Procurement Services in the specified format.

SKAO Pre-qualification Questionnaires have been developed to be simple and quick to complete. We will never ask for unnecessary supporting information.

ITT pack

After finalising the pre-qualification process, the SKAO electronically issues the ITT pack to all qualified tenderers.

An ITT pack normally contains the following core documents:

  • Cover letter and Instructions to tenderers including:
  • Indication of any contract award criteria and weightings;
  • Terms and conditions of contract;
  • Contract Data;
  • Scope of contract;
  • Pricing schedule;
  • Tender acknowledgement form; and
  • Checklist.

Supplier notification of intent to submit a tender

Please note that tenderers intending to submit a tender should confirm that they intend to submit a tender within seven calendar days of receiving the ITT pack.

Format of tender submissions

All tenders need to conform to an electronic two-envelope presentation format, i.e. technical and financial offers must be contained and submitted within separate electronic files. Both files should be sent to the SKAO electronic bid within the SKAO Supplier Portal separately. Please do not include any commercial information within the file containing your technical proposal.

ITT clarification questions

Clarification questions related to an ITT must be received by the SKAO in writing no later than 10 calendar days before the advertised tenders closing date. Clarification questions and answers will normally be anonymised and distributed to all tenderers by the Procurement Officer. However, there might be specific circumstances when a clarification, and the corresponding SKAO response, will not be distributed to all tenderers to protect a tenderer’s proprietary information or intellectual property.

Form of Contract

Wherever practical the SKAO will use the appropriate short of long forms of the various NEC4 contract templates, i.e., Engineering and Construction Contract (ECC) or Professional Services Contract (PSC). Useful background information about the NEC4 contract templates can be found on the Thomas Telford website at:

Fair Work Return

The Convention Establishing the SKA Observatory mandates that the principles of Fair Work Return, are applied to the procurement of goods, services and works for the SKAO.

Wherever possible the SKAO competitively acquires goods, services, and works from within Member countries.

In summary this means that Members should expect Fair Work Return from their investment in the SKAO and suppliers within Member countries can expect to receive an accumulative value of contracts deemed to be a fair proportion of the total financial contribution of that Member country to the SKAO.

Furthermore, most of the contracts associated with the construction of SKA1 telescopes have been allocated to defined Member countries by the SKAO Council meaning that in many cases procurement opportunities are restricted to suppliers with the Member country with the allocation only. Whenever procurement opportunities are restricted to suppliers from a specified member country this will be clearly identified at the Market Survey (Expressions of Interest) stage.

Intellectual Property

The SKA Observatory aims for collaboration and protection of IP rights among collaborators are as follows:

The SKA Observatory:

a. Requires there to be unrestricted access to relevant intellectual property for the purposes of its development and operation. It will achieve this by:

i. Exploiting the existing collaborative approach demonstrated by the current project contributors in the sharing of IP

ii. Managing the expectations of industry and their requirements (which may be motivated by profit and non-economic considerations)

iii. Take all practical steps to minimise the risks of:

  • Infringement of IP protection
  • A lack of competition in procurement
  • The inhibition of project development and progress by formal and protracted IP control processes.

b. Will inform all interested parties in the SKAO about IP that has been contributed or created.

c. Will provide protection to the inventor and host institution, while allowing this IP property to be used in an unfettered manner by all SKAO signatories to the MOA, for SKAO-related development.

A copy of the SKAO’s Intellectual Property Policy [SKA-GOV-0000120], and can be found here.

Contact Points

For more information, and to discuss potential SKAO opportunities within your country, please contact your SKAO Industry Liaison Officer.

For enquiries and further information about the SKAO procurement policy or processes please contact the SKAO Procurement Team

SKAO Purchase Order Terms and Conditions

The SKAO operates in UK, Australia and South Africa. Our standard Purchase Order terms vary slightly according to country.

Please see below for all three standard PO terms and please note that if you are a UK supplier the UK terms apply, if you are an Australian supplier then the Australian terms and apply and if you are a South African supplier the South African terms apply.

Please note that future we intend to modify our system so that PO terms automatically link to the correct terms.

SKAO Purchase Order Terms and Conditions

Last modified on 28 November 2023