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Joe Appleton16. August 20215 min read

Tender Glossary

When it comes to formal tendering there are some essential acronyms that you need to know. We’ve put together a short glossary to help you navigate your way through the process and understand tender terminology.


A Challenge is a process of blocking the awarding of a contract. If it is already awarded, it's setting aside as “ineffective” or, in limited circumstances, the application of alternative penalties. The contracts are subject to review procedures. Possible challengers include unsuccessful candidates, bidders, and any person who has had an interest in obtaining a reviewable public contract. The award process must be suspended until the matter is determined and a court lifts the suspension of the award. The right to challenge a contract is available for up to 30 days after the contract has been awarded.




Expression Of Interest (EOI) forms part of a two-stage process; the first stage was advertised, resulting in a shortlist of selected suitable vendors. The EOI call is to inform tenderers of the context of the project, the nature of the proposed appointment, and submission requirements. The EOI process aims to shortlist the contenders who may be suitable for the appointment. It is a document that an owner can issue before the release of the RFQ or RFP. An EOI request would request basic information about the design-builder, solicit comments on the requested project features and ask for an EOI for the project from the practitioners.



Funding Opportunity

A Funding Opportunity is a publicly available document. The state makes known its intentions to award discretionary grants or cooperative agreements, usually due to competition for funds. Funding Opportunity announcements may be known as program announcements, requests for applications, notices of funding availability, solicitations, or other names, depending on the agency and type of program.




A Grant is a financial award awarded by the federal, state, or local government to benefit a project or research. It is effectively a transfer payment. A Grant does not include technical assistance or other financial assistance, such as a loan or loan guarantee, an interest rate subsidy, direct appropriation, or revenue sharing. The grantee is not expected to repay the money but is expected to use the funds from the grant for their stated purpose, which typically serves some larger good.




Prior Information Notice (PIN) is issued in advance of procurement actions for government procurement in the EU. They give information on a proposed procurement and details of the procurement procedure to be applied.

PIN also refers to Periodic Indicative Notice (PIN), which is issued for transparency purposes, whereby “contracting entities may make known their intentions of planned procurement.” (Article 67 of the Utilities Directive of 2014)




A Program Opportunity Notice (PON) can be used to stimulate the flow of unsolicited proposals or applications when the program objectives cannot be defined sufficiently to prepare a program solicitation. At a minimum, it will contain a number assigned for control and reference purposes, a brief description of the broad, general technical program or areas needing investigation, a statement of the principal program objective for funding unsolicited proposals, a statement about how unsolicited proposals will be evaluated and accepted, restrictions that may apply, contact for obtaining further information, and expiration date. It may be distributed widely. The submission of innovative methods, approaches, or ideas will not be restricted to those problems or technical areas published in the program opportunity notice. Alternatives will be eligible for consideration.




Request For Information (RFI) is a common business process whose purpose is to collect written information about the capabilities of various suppliers. It follows a format that can be used for comparative purposes. It is primarily used to gather information to help quickly decide what steps to take next. In addition, an RFI is often used as a solicitation sent to a broad base of potential suppliers for conditioning suppliers' minds, developing strategy, building a database, and preparing for following/upcoming RFP’s/RFT’s/FRQ’s.




Request For Proposal (RFP) is a document that solicits a proposal, often made through a bidding process by an agency or company interested in procuring a commodity, a service, or a valuable asset, to potential suppliers to submit business proposals. It is submitted early in the procurement cycle, either preliminary or at the procurement stage.




Request For Quotation (RFQ) is a business process in which a company or public entity requests a quote from a supplier to purchase specific products or services. An RFQ typically involves information like payment terms, quality level per item, or contract length, requested during the bidding process.




Request For Tenders (RFT)/ otherwise known as Invitation to Tender (ITT) / otherwise known as a Call For Bids (CFB), a formal, structured procedure for generating competing offers from different potential suppliers or contractors looking to obtain business activity. Often from companies who have been previously assessed for suitability through a Supplier Questionnaire (SQ) or Pre-Qualification Questionnaire (PQQ).

In India, the term Notice Inviting Tenders (NIT) is often used.




Request For Standing Offer (RFSO) is an invitation for providers of a product or service to bid on the right to supply that product or service by way of a standing offer, to provide well-defined, readily available goods or services, as and when requested, at prearranged prices or on a prearranged pricing basis, which can be established at the outset, under set terms and conditions and for a specific period.




Request For Application (RFA) is a solicitation notice in which an organization announces that grant funding is available. An RFA informs researchers and other organizations that they may present bids on how the funding could be used. The application request will typically outline what type of programs are eligible, expectations, and how applications are submitted and reviewed.




Interactive Tender Process (ITP) allowed for an appropriate active interface between the state and short-listed tenderers during the tender phase. Individual tenderers can discuss the development of their concepts and designs and seek clarification and feedback in the context of the state’s output requirements. This opportunity for discussion occurs before tenders are submitted. Historically, there has been little or no verbal communication with tenderers during the tender phase. An interactive process departs from this approach and is intended to expand and clarify tenderers’ understanding of the state’s requirements, avoid tenderers incurring any high costs because of a fundamental misunderstanding or misinterpretation and minimize the need for any re-bid process based on design matters.




Check out our globally curated list of smart city tenders, which is updated twice a week to provide you with new business opportunities. Be informed about new tenders in your areas of interest via the tender alerts function. The tender service is part of our Tender Premium Membership on the global smart city network & community, brought to you by bee smart city.




Joe Appleton

Joe Appleton is a content strategist, editor and writer at bee smart city. He is particularly interested in the topics of smart and sustainable cities and urban mobility.