Awarded to Tessella Limited (suspended as per SF 01185262)

Start date: Monday 2 January 2017
Value: £1,083,427.50
Company size: large
ISIS Neutron and Muon Source, STFC

UK SBS IT16204 Development of IBEX Instrument Control System phase 2

0 Incomplete applications

4 Completed applications

3 SME, 1 large

Important dates

Thursday 29 September 2016
Deadline for asking questions
Thursday 6 October 2016 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Thursday 13 October 2016 at 11:59pm GMT


Summary of the work
Provide a flexible team of part-time project manager plus software developers (2-4) to support phase 2 of IBEX. IBEX, the next generation of instrument control software for ISIS, is based on the EPICS framework will provide a more adaptable platform, better able to support scientists for the next 10-20 years.
Latest start date
Expected contract length
2 years
South East England
Organisation the work is for
ISIS Neutron and Muon Source, STFC
Budget range
The total value of this requirement is up to £1100000.00 exclusive of VAT

About the work

Why the work is being done
ISIS Neutron and Muon Source has been developing IBEX since 2013, a new software system for controlling neutron and muon instruments at ISIS, to support scientists in the delivery of world class science over the next 10-20 years. Work is now required for the second phase of the project to deliver it onto all the operational instruments.
Problem to be solved
The capabilities of neutron and muon instruments are constantly improving allowing research scientists to perform measurements of increasing complexity and sensitivity. The instrument control system needs to keep up with these developments and the increasingly demanding requirements of scientists. IBEX is intended to replace the existing control system, SECI, and to provide a flexible, adaptable platform that can support the needs of ISIS scientists and future instruments for the next 10-20 years. A team is required to support the next phase of the project which is to take the new Ibex system and deliver it onto all the operational instruments.
Who the users are and what they need to do
The users of the system are research scientists, some of whom are based full-time at ISIS; others are visiting scientists from universities and other research institutes making short-term use of ISIS facilities. Their needs can be summarised as: As a scientist, I need to control my neutron or muon instrument (which is composed of sensitive measurement devices and sophisticated equipment for controlling the sample environment) , so that I can perform complex experiments with neutron or muon beams.
Early market engagement
Any work that’s already been done
The IBEX control system software has been under development for 3 years. It is already running on two neutron instruments. Future IBEX development will introduce new features and extend device support required by neutron and muon instruments that are yet to be migrated. The IBEX instrument control system comprises a three-layer (client-middleware-server) architecture: * a GUI (client), developed using Java and Control System Studio * instrument control layer (middleware), using EPICS and Python * server (i.e. equipment driver) layer, again using EPICS and a mix of new and existing device drivers.
Existing team
The supplier's team will be expected to work on-site, alongside the existing Experiment Controls team at ISIS.
Current phase

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
ISIS Neutron and Muon Source STFC, Rutherford Appleton Laboratory Harwell Didcot OX11 0QX. Travel to some partner organisations may also be required.
Working arrangements
The supplier team will work on-site at ISIS, alongside the existing Experiment Controls team. The supplier should provide a flexible team - the exact size and skills mix of the team required is expected to change during the course of the project. ISIS will provide office accomodation, development software, hardware and infrastructure.
Security clearance
Security clearance is not required. Suppliers should provide Disclosure Scotland references for their staff.

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions

Skills and experience

Buyers will use the essential and nice-to-have skills and experience to help them evaluate suppliers’ technical competence.

Essential skills and experience
  • Project management in a technologically complex, scientific research environment.
  • Leading and working in teams using Scrum and other Agile techniques.
  • Management of mixed teams (composed of customer staff, supplier staff and staff from 3rd party organisations)
  • Cooperating and collaborating with other projects (internal or external)
  • Driving overall delivery and liaising with other parties to ensure success.
  • Development of software in a scientific research environment using: - EPICS framework - Java and Eclipse/RCP - C/C++ - Python under the Windows operating system (64-bit)
  • Software testing (automated and manual testing)
  • Design of user interfaces
  • Comfortable discussing technically complex ideas with scientists and technicians.
  • Development of drivers for scientific measurement equipment
  • Complex control systems
  • Client-Server based software solutions
  • Distributed computing solutions
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Management of software projects that may incorporate or contribute components from/to open-source collaborations.
  • Software development using: - Control System Studio - LabVIEW
  • Software development using the Linux operating system (64-bit).
  • Developing solutions to manage large data volumes.
  • Motion Control Systems.
  • Have a strong scientific or technical background (e.g. a degree in Physics, Mathematics, Engineering, Computer Science).

How suppliers will be evaluated

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • The proposed technical solution
  • The proposed approach and methodology
  • How the approach or solution meets user needs
  • Team structure and organisational makeup
  • Value for money of the proposed solution
Cultural fit criteria
  • Work with ISIS staff as a member of the Experimental Controls team.
  • Actively contribute to the improvement of IBEX for the benefit of its users
  • Contribute and collaborate in improving software development processes and practices at ISIS
  • Be comfortable particpating in and collaborating on complex scientific activities with scientists and other ISIS staff, and international collaborators
Payment approach
Time and materials
Assessment methods
  • Written proposal
  • Case study
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. As the software has been under development for three years, have any suppliers been involved in its development and, if so, how many?
Yes, the incumbent supplier has carried out parts of phases 1&2 together with the in-house team.
2. Is this a re-issue of the previous opportunity published on 14th September, or is it a slightly different opportunity? If it's a re-issue, has anything about the requirements changed?
Yes, this is a re-issue of a previous opportunity, the only change to the requirement is the latest start date