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EC Tenders

What are EC tenders?

The European Commission uses public contracts to buy goods and services, including in connection with research-related activities such as studies, technical assistance and consultancy. The providers are selected via calls for tender which are issued by Commission departments (DGs), offices and agencies around Europe. This is a distinct activity to the grant-making actions of the Commission, such as under FP7 or Horizon 2020.

Calls for tender are published at https://ec.europa.eu/info/funding-tenders_en.

All calls for tenders issued by the Commission follow a similar format, with the standard documentation and information about the submitting institution(s) required set out in each case.

Where the University is the lead party on a tender it will be required to complete and submit all the forms (including any forms which need to be completed by any sub-contractors to be engaged in the work).

If the University is a proposed sub-contractor on a bid led by another institution the University will be required to complete certain forms to supply to the lead party so these can be incorporated in the tender bid. The tender specification sets out which forms need to be completed and by which parties.

Tenders involving research activity (both where Oxford is the lead party or a sub-contractor on a bid led by another party) should be passed to your Research Services Divisional Team for review in the normal way prior to submission. Documents for review should be sent to Research Services at least five working days prior to the tender deadline. Research Services will act as the authorised signatory for Oxford and can advise on the completion of the standard documentation required in support of the tender.

Key background documents

Invitation to Tender: sets out the key details of the particular tendering process, including the submission deadline together with instructions on how and where to submit the completed tender.

Tender Specification: gives a detailed description of the technical details of the required project and/or deliverables, the funding available, instructions on completing joint tenders and/or involving sub-contractors, how tenders will be evaluated, how the tender submission must be set-out (e.g. the technical offer, financial offer and administrative details), and the documents and forms that must be completed (by the lead party and/or sub-contractors) and must accompany the tender submission.

Model Service Contract: these are the standard terms and conditions that will form the contract between the Commission and the successful tenderer(s). In the event of an award being made then Research Services would sign this contract on behalf of the University. The terms of the Service Contract are non-negotiable and so researchers and Departments should be aware of the following requirements when considering whether to bid to undertake a particular programme of work:

  • The results of work undertaken (and any associated intellectual property rights) will be owned by the European Commission.
  • Publication of results arising from the contract is subject to the prior written authorisation from the Commission.
  • There are stringent requirements regarding the Commission’s ability to withhold payment, require work to be re-done, or to terminate the contract in the event it is not satisfied with the work that has been undertaken.

Typical documents to be completed and submitted as part of the tender

Please note: the exact documents to be completed in each case will be set out in the Tender Specification. Occasionally additional documents to those mentioned below are required. Research Services can advise on and assist with the completion of such documents.

Technical Offer: the work plan following the format and instructions set out in the Tender Specification.

Financial Offer: the tender price showing the required budget breakdown. Personnel costs should usually be shown as day rates. For advice on calculating day rates please contact Research Services.

Administrative Information Form: the Department should complete its details on the form and the rest will be completed and signed by Research Services.

Legal Entity Information Form: Research Services will complete and sign this form.

Financial Identification Form: Research Services will complete and sign this form.

  • Note: sometimes the Commission or a lead party may request that this is counter-signed by the University’s bank. Research Services holds a side letter from the bank that can be supplied that over-rides this requirement.

Declaration on Exclusion Criteria and Absence of Conflicts of Interest: Research Services will complete and sign this form.

Letter of Intent from Sub-Contractors: any sub-contractor to be involved in the bid will usually be required to sign some form of letter of intent (the format of which is sometimes set out in the Tender Specification) confirming its intention to undertake the tasks set out in the proposal and to accept the terms of the Commission’s Model Service Contract. Where the University is acting as sub-contractor then this letter should be completed and signed by Research Services.

Submission to Research Services

The Invitation to Tender, Tender Specification and completed documents as set out above should be submitted together with an X5 costing to the relevant Research Services’ divisional team at least five working days prior to the tender deadline.

Research Services will complete and sign relevant documents as necessary and return these to the Department for submission to the Commission (where Oxford is lead party) or to the lead party (where Oxford is a sub-contractor).

Award of a contract

Where the University is part of a successful bid then Departments should notify Research Services and forward any documents received from the Commission and/or lead party. Research Services will sign the Service Contract with the Commission and put in place appropriate agreements with any sub-contractors. Likewise, where the University is a sub-contractor then Research Services will negotiate and sign the sub-contract with the lead party.

Research Services will issue an RPF1 so that Research Accounts can set-up an award on Oracle.