Running a Contract with CERN

CERN Values

CERN has adopted a Code of Conduct applicable on the CERN site which can be found here

As conflict of interest and fraud could compromise the accomplishment of the Organization’s objectives and undermine its functioning, credibility and reputation, as well as that of its personnel, CERN is committed to their prevention and management.

All CERN contributors have a key role to play in the prevention and management of conflict of interest. To ensure that the best interests of CERN are served, and to avoid possible suspicions of bias and partiality in performing their professional duties, CERN contributors are required to recognise situations that could give rise to a conflict of interest or the perception of same. Where it is impossible to avoid such a situation, for example due to the nature of their functions, or in case of doubt, CERN contributors shall promptly disclose to the Organization that they have, or may have, a conflict of interest.


Find our Key Reference Documents here.

General Conditions of CERN Contracts

All CERN orders and contracts are executed according to the General Conditions of CERN Contracts.

The order or contract shall not be subject to the contractor’s general conditions, whether or not they form part of his bid or are referred to in any correspondence between the parties.

General Conditions of CERN Contracts are drafted with the aim of being fair for both parties. In view of CERN’s status as an intergovernmental organization, the General Conditions of CERN Contracts further include specific provisions on governing law1 and arbitration2.

In any case, CERN’s signature of a contract does not imply a waiver by CERN of its privileges and immunities granted to it in accordance with its status as an intergovernmental organization.

1Where a matter is not specifically covered by the contract or where a contract provision is ambiguous or unclear, reference shall be made to Swiss substantive law.

2Best efforts shall be made to settle amicably any dispute under the contract. Should this fail, the parties shall resort to arbitration in accordance with clause 35 of the General conditions of CERN contracts.

Contract Performance

The contractor shall perform his obligations under the contract with skill, care and diligence and in accordance with professional standards and the state of the art.

Where the contractor seeks any permission or approval by CERN, the granting thereof shall not release him from the performance of his obligations under the contract or from any liability.

During the execution of his contract, the contractor shall forthwith notify CERN in writing of any circumstance that threatens to affect or affects the performance of his obligations under the order or contract. The contractor will have the opportunity to discuss the issue with the technical and procurement officers in charge of the order or contract in view of finding a solution in the interests of both parties.

Packing and Delivery Instructions

The contractor shall follow the delivery instructions mentioned on the order or contract. Failing to do so will considerably delay the payment of the corresponding invoice.

The contractor shall always indicate on the package:

  • the order or contract reference;
  • the supplier’s name as it appears in the order or contract;
  • details on the content of the goods delivered.

Invoicing Instructions and VAT

In order to ensure payment one month from receipt of an invoice or acceptance by CERN of the supplies, whichever occurs the later, the contractor shall make sure that his invoice is sent to the attention of CERN-Accounts Payable by post or electronic mail to

The invoice shall stipulate the CERN order or contract reference number and be in accordance with the terms of the order or contract, in particular with regard to any transport fees.

Furthermore, CERN is exempted from Value Added Tax (VAT) in its two Host States, Switzerland and France. Switzerland has granted CERN an exemption at source. France has opted for an exemption by reimbursement of any VAT payable in France and therefore, French contractors delivering goods to CERN Prévessin have to indicate the applicable French VAT in their invoice. Additionally, French VAT will also be applicable for services performed at CERN on French territory, regardless of the contractor’s nationality. In this latter case, the contractor will be requested to have a fiscal representative in France. More information can be found in the document “VAT and Invoicing Guide” available under Key Reference Documents. In case of doubt, do not hesitate to contact the procurement officer in charge of the order or contract.

For any question regarding invoices, please contact

Bank Guarantee

The contractor may be required to deliver a bank guarantee to CERN to guarantee the proper performance by the contractor of his obligations under the contract (see Annex I of the General Conditions of CERN Contracts).

If so requested in the order or contract, the first invoice shall be accompanied by a bank guarantee, in favour of CERN, for the indicated amount, to be honoured on first demand, from a bank approved by CERN1 and valid for the indicated period.

Please ensure that the bank guarantee is established on the basis of the template provided as Annex I of the General Conditions of CERN contracts.

This document must be sent to Accounts Payable before any invoice can be paid.

No advance payment shall be payable by CERN until the contractor has provided a compliant bank guarantee.

1Rating of BBB+ at least or equivalent, with proof of rating.


The warranty period of the supplies shall be two years from the date of their acceptance, except where the law governing the contract provides for a longer period.

During the warranty period, the contractor shall forthwith, at his own expense, take all necessary measures to remedy any defect notified to him by CERN.

Working on the CERN Site

Contractors requiring access to the CERN site for the installation, maintenance, repair or performance of any other service requiring the presence of their personnel on the CERN site are requested to become acquainted with the document “Working on the CERN Site”. The latest version of this document applies and is available at the following link: Key Reference Documents. The contractor shall regularly consult this link.

Please note that obtaining access rights may be subject to safety training. The document further includes all necessary information concerning:

  • Compliance with applicable laws4 and the rules applicable in case of work on both the French and the Swiss parts of the CERN site5;
  • Working hours and days, access and reception conditions;
  • Safety and safety coordination;
  • Storage, transport and handling;
  • Utilities and work site services;
  • Miscellaneous information including insurance and identification of the contractor’s personnel.

4The contractor shall comply with all applicable laws, i.e. all CERN rules and regulations relevant for the execution of the contract and all laws, treaties, rules, regulations and orders of any local, national or other authority having jurisdiction over the contractor. In this framework, the contractor is invited to take note of the provisions stated under the following links: and

5CERN’s seat is in Geneva but its premises are located on both sides of the French-Swiss border. Contractors working on the CERN site are subject to common law and therefore their personnel has to comply with the law of the territory in which they perform the services, in case the contract is executed on one territory only, either the French or Swiss. Before performing any activity on CERN site, you should ensure the location of the buildings concerned.

Contractors entering a new contract with CERN for the provision of services on both the French and Swiss parts of the CERN site, will have to comply with new rules concerning the law applying to the working conditions of their personnel available under: Law Applicable to Contractors' Personnel. This rule defines that only one law, either the French or the Swiss law regarding the following matters will be applicable to your personnel during the contract duration:

  • Working and rest periods
  • Minimal paid annual holidays
  • Minimal salary rate
  • Temporary employment
  • Health, safety and hygiene at work
  • Protection of pregnant women, children and of young persons
  • Equality of treatment between men and women.

The applicable law will be defined by CERN and will be indicated in the order or contract.


Any activity that the contractor intents to subcontract needs to be approved by the procurement officer in charge of the order or contract concerned. To obtain this authorization, the contractor has to send a written request to the procurement officer indicating the details of the proposed subcontractor and the activity concerned.

In any event, subcontracting is subject to the following restrictions:

  • supplies representing more than 50% of the contract price shall not be subcontracted to a single sub-contractor;
  • Obligations to be performed on the CERN site shall not be sub-subcontracted and;
  • The management of the contract shall not be subcontracted.

Any limitation of subcontracting is specified by CERN in the invitation to tender documents.

Intellectual Property

Any intellectual property generated in the performance of the contract shall be vested exclusively in CERN.

Use of CERN Logo

The use of or reference to the CERN logo, any images of CERN or any of the names under which CERN is known, is subject to a written authorization to be requested by filling out this form 

Energy savings

In the current economic and climatic context and considering the strong tensions on the energy market, CERN has chosen to commit to the implementation on its site of an ISO 50001 energy management system.

All CERN personnel are already made aware of the importance of their contribution to reducing the energy consumption of the various CERN facilities, through their activities or their behavior. As a service provider working on the CERN site and in particular on equipment considered to be "significant energy consumer", your interventions may lead to positive or negative deviations in the performance indicators selected and implemented.

CERN is committed to ensuring the application of the operational criteria relating to energy management and will carry out regular updates with its service providers in the context of the planning and monitoring of their activities on the site. In addition, CERN encourages you to inform us of any anomalies or ways to improve the energy performance.