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92 companies from across CERN Member and Associate Member States took part in CERN’s thematic forum on civil engineering

CERN opened its doors to a variety of companies for the first CERN Civil Engineering Business Forum, ushering in CERN’s new industry-specific networking strategy

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CERN's first Civil Engineering Business Forum took place on 24 and 25 May. (Image: CERN)

On 24 and 25 May, CERN held its first Civil Engineering Business Forum. This industry-specific event was launched as part of the Laboratory’s new approach to engaging with a variety of businesses, focused on a specific domain, from Member and Associate Member States. The new format allows for better business alignment and for greater interaction between CERN’s suppliers, experts and procurement officers.

The forum was held in hybrid format, allowing a range of companies across the spectrum of civil engineering and construction to discover CERN’s site and civil engineering plans and practices. The event saw broad participation from 92 companies representing 12 Member and Associate Member States, with over 50% of attendees coming on site. At least 50 one-to-one in-person meetings between companies and CERN representatives took place.

“I was delighted to see the enthusiastic interactions during the event. The fact that it was focused on a specific theme allowed all involved – potential suppliers, CERN technical experts and procurement officers – to have meaningful conversations about our civil engineering needs and how industry can be involved,” says Luz Anastasia Lopez, Leader of CERN’s Site and Civil Engineering Project Portfolio Management group.

The primary objectives of this new type of event are to:

  1. Assist industry from all Member and Associate Member States in aligning with CERN's business needs and developing opportunities for collaboration.
  2. Optimise and facilitate crucial interactions between suppliers and CERN's technical teams in a structured and targeted manner.
  3. Increase competition by sourcing new suppliers.
  4. Foster technological awareness and gather early feedback on industry capabilities and interest in specific projects.
  5. Facilitate connections among suppliers to encourage the formation of consortia and the development of subcontractor networks.

CERN’s Procurement group has also introduced market survey conferences, providing an avenue for relevant companies from Member and Associate Member States to learn about upcoming projects and calls for tender. The inaugural virtual conference, which took place in January 2023, focused on the purchase of cables for the High-Luminosity Large Hadron Collider (HL-LHC). The event made it possible to identify new suppliers, as well as to gather valuable feedback from the participating companies on specific technical considerations.

The successful execution of these events sets the stage for future industry engagement techniques, ensuring the continued growth and development of cutting-edge scientific research at CERN.