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29 August 2013

France develops new guidelines for procurement of innovation

The French government has issued new guidelines on the procurement of innovation for those working in the French public sector. It highlights the importance of purchasing innovation as a strategy to aid economic growth and prosperity, through rationalising supply chains, using cost-efficient methods and seeking sustainable alternatives.

The document notes that although it is tempting in times of economic crisis to rely on models and products that are already well known and that have been proven to work, investing in innovation can be a win-win strategy. Lack of investment in innovation by either the private or public sectors can lead to inflexible markets that do not respond effectively to the needs of buyers and sellers, it claims.

Purchasing innovation can be a method by which the public sector can stimulate economic activity and growth, the guide explains. Investment in innovation can create opportunities for small and medium enterprises to grow their businesses and act as suppliers for local or regional public sector agencies. Strategies that can be used to support the procurement of innovation can be found in the resource centre on the Innovation Platform’s website.

For more information, click here [in French].


21 August 2013

Deal struck to increase Horizon 2020 budget

After lengthy negotiations an agreement has been reached to increase the funding available to Horizon 2020 by 28 percent to €70.2 billion. Horizon 2020 is the financial instrument implementing the Innovation Union programme, which aims to make Europe more innovative and therefore more competitive. The deal is being hailed as a success for the Irish presidency of the Council of the European Union.

Horizon 2020 is used to fund R&D activities in three different areas: excellent science, industrial leadership, and societal challenges. The first pillar, which includes funding for the European Research Council, will receive 37 percent of the total. The industrial leadership pillar, which aims to increase jobs and stimulate private investment in research and innovation, will receive 22.5 percent.

38 percent of the budget will go to the societal challenges pillar, providing research into how Europeans can lead longer and healthier lives; utilise reliable, clean, and efficient energy; maintain a safe and secure food supply; and develop smarter, greener transport. The current funding model will be simplified, reducing bureaucracy and widening the list of potential applicants. Under the revised model the Commission will pay all direct costs and make a contribution of 25 percent to indirect costs or overheads.

For more information, click here.


15 August 2013

European cities use PPI to increase energy efficiency in municipal buildings

Barcelona (Spain), Birmingham (UK) and Eindhoven (the Netherlands) aim to improve energy efficiency in municipal buildings through the procurement of brand new, innovative products. Each city is engaging in public procurement of innovation (PPI) activities as part of the Smart Procurement European Alliance (SPEA) project, which aims to spur demand for innovation in public authorities.

Other goals of the EU-funded project include enhancing the capacity of contracting authorities, as well as SMEs, to procure innovation, building cooperation with other stakeholders at a local and European level, and to influence public institutions to engage in PPI through improving knowledge.

The three cities will identify relevant buyers groups, build the PPI capacity of both procurers and companies, and deploy a procurement process to facilitate innovative solutions, including developing a small pilot project prior to large scale procurement to reduce risk. It is envisaged that the project will take four years to reach its objectives.

For more information, click here.


13 August 2013

Experience exchange programme seeks hosts organisations

Organisations with experience and expertise in public procurement of innovation (PPI) and pre-commercial procurement (PCP) are invited to act as "host" organisations for the PPI platform's experience exchange programme. Those with little experience but a desire to learn more are invited to apply for a participant position. The experience exchange will see procurers from less experienced organisations travel to advanced organisations to gain a more in-depth understanding of the procurement processes.

As well as developing skills on PPI and PCP by learning from others, participants will also experience new ways of thinking about problems and solutions. Additionally, participants will get the chance to see PPI and PCP in action through field visits. Host organisations will have the opportunity to promote their organisation’s work on PPI and PCP and exchange ideas with committed, enthusiastic individuals.

For those for which price is an issue, a limited number of places will have travel and accommodation expenses covered. The timing of the exchange is flexible, and will be agreed upon by the host and participant organisations.

For more information on applying, click here.


8 August 2013

Finding innovative solutions to energy consumption in buildings

To tackle the problem of high-energy consumption in buildings, wide-spread renovation is required, with an emphasis on getting as close to zero-energy as possible. Taking up this objective, the INSPIRE project aims to find solutions to meet the EU’s energy consumption goals. The four-year long project will produce renovation packages that can be applied to a variety of buildings.

The project will be separated into two main stages: the first will see an analysis of building stock across Europe, with the aim to produce seven target examples that represent the majority. The second stage will be the development of multifunctional renovation kits. The technologies and renovation approaches will be tested on three case studies - two residential buildings and one office building - in Germany, Spain and Italy.

Information from the target buildings and case studies will be fed into a database, which will be available to interested professionals. ICLEI will put together an interest group of public authorities who can feed their ideas and concerns into the development process, and thus make sure that the renovation packages that are being developed fit both the needs of public authorities and comply with procurement processes.

For more information, click here.


6 August 2013

Cloud computing solutions to be encouraged at public sector level

The CloudforEurope project aims to use Pre-Commercial procurement (PCP) to increase the uptake of cloud computing - the connection of multiple computers through a real-time network (such as the internet) - solutions in the public sector. To do so, the three-year project, which is currently underway, will work with partners to determine how to adopt a well-defined European Cloud Computing Strategy for the Public Sector. The project also aims to remove the obstacles for cloud adoption and to jointly identify requirements from different public organisations.

Neelie Kroes, Vice-President of the European Commission, said: "If we seize the opportunity, cloud computing could give the European economy a boost worth up to €250 billion a year. And the benefits for the public sector are particularly promising - offering citizens services that are better, more integrated and more effective, at less cost. So I particularly welcome the cloud-for-Europe initiative, which can boost the uptake of the cloud in the public sector."

PCP is a procurement approach that deals specifically with the procurement of R&D services rather than actual goods and services, and allows public authorities to influence the market towards innovation. The launch conference for CloudforEurope will take place from 14 - 15 November 2013 in Berlin (Germany). The project is funded by the European Commission under its Framework Programme for Research and Innovation and brings together 24 partners from 11 countries.

For more information, click here [in German].


2 August 2013

Experts invited to shape PCP manual through survey

The project iMobility Support is inviting procurement experts to provide input into a survey on Pre-commercial procurement (PCP) activities in Europe. The results of the survey will be used to develop a European level PCP manual. Experts sought after include persons from innovation agencies, procurement contractors, and other relevant stakeholders.

The poll will enable participants to share their experience and insights into PCP with other experts in the field, and allow them to shape the new manual for PCP, particularly as it relates to Intelligent Traffic Systems. The chance to talk with European level experts will also be provided.

iMobility support is funded by DG CONNECT of the European Commission, and aims to support the implementation of intelligent mobility solutions in Europe. One of the primary objectives of the project is to produce a comprehensive PCP manual that includes best practice examples from across Europe.

For more information, click here [in German].