ECB and FP7 impact studies point out that the biggest challenge faced by innovative companies in Europe is not to find funding for R&I but to find a first customer. The challenge is to facilitate access of innovative companies to the market by removing barriers to Pre-Commercial Procurement (PCP) and Public Procurement of Innovative solutions (PPI) in Europe. Cross-border cooperation among procurers and defragmentation of public demand are key in this respect as potential market size is the most important decision factor for firms to participate or not in a public procurement. Speeding up of implementation cycles and further networking of national innovation procurement competence centres are also needed.
Coordination and Support actions
Proposals should focus on one of the two themes below:
a. The objective is to support the creation of European wide networks of procurers (European Public Procurers networks) that define together an innovation procurement roadmap, identifying shared procurement needs in the near term (relevant for PPI) as well as mid-to-long term (relevant for PCP) in areas of common European interest.
European Public Procurers (EPP) networks are expected to engage into an open dialogue with all potential stakeholders, including other procurers and end-users. EPP networks are encouraged to publish their perceived procurement needs online, in a way that enables the research and innovation community to comment and submit ideas to make suggestions for future PCPs or PPIs.. EPP networks should also undertake activities that investigate the feasibility and facilitate the concrete preparation of a cross-border PCP or PPI for at least one shared common procurement need.
EPP networks should contain a critical mass of public procurers responsible for the acquisition and/or regulatory strategy for innovative solutions in areas of public interest that are large potential customers for ICT LEIT technologies. EPP networks should also undertake dissemination activities to share results and raise awareness about PCP and PPI across Europe.
b. The objective is to support the creation of one EU wide network of national competence centers on innovation procurement (PCP and PPI). Activities undertaken by the network are expected to include the creation of new national innovation competence centers and the enlarging of the scope of existing competence centers. They should also include experience sharing on PCP/PPI implementation across Europe, promoting Horizon 2020 funding and synergies with ESIF funding for PCP and PPI to ICT procurers in cooperation with NCPs, assisting ICT procurers in starting up such procurements nationally and collaborating cross-border to facilitate also transnational joint procurement.
In cooperation with policy makers, the network should also develop and coordinate policy actions to mainstream PCP and PPI across Europe such as setting targets and developing financial incentive schemes for procurers to undertake PCP and PPI.
The network is expected to maximize synergies with national and ESIF funding and focus the budget requested from Horizon 2020 on activities/partners that cannot be funded from ESIF or for which national funding is not available.
The expected duration for the action is 4 years. The minimum participation is 5 existing national innovation procurement competence centers plus 5 public bodies that have the mandate to setup 5 new innovation procurement competence centers (in total from 10 different Member States or associated countries), aiming for EU wide participation of innovation procurement centers in the network by the end of the project.
The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of between EUR 1 and 2 million would allow these themes to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.