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31 July 2014

New PCP aims to provide healthcare professionals with patient information via mobile device

The DECIPHER project has launched a new Pre Commercial Procurement (PCP) to develop innovative mobile health care technology in EU Member States. The public-private collaboration is looking to provide secure access to patient healthcare information via mobile. The idea is that a patient travelling abroad will be able to share all of the relevant data regarding their health status with any healthcare professional, even when, for example, being treated by an emergency care unit not belonging to their regional system.

In this way the patient can avoid duplicated diagnostic tests and can warn about pre-existing conditions. The research and development will focus on patients with Type 2 diabetes, with the intention that the technologies developed will in the future be applied to patients suffering from other long term conditions.

Specifically, the DECIPHER Service will be connected to patients’ Personal Health Record Systems (PHRS). The technology will need to be able to connect with country-specific health-data repositories and exchange information with them. Additionally, it will need to be able to automatically translate languages. The PCP process will be executed in three competitive phases, with the contract worth €900,000.

For more information, click here.


29 July 2014

Sustainable construction solutions sought by European project

A public procurement call for the purchase of five technologies used in the construction of sustainable buildings will be launched within the framework of PAPIRUS, a European project that works to promote, implement and validate innovative sustainable construction solutions. The buildings will be erected in Norway, Germany, Italy and Spain using materials with zero energy consumption.

The solutions sought after will reduce the buildings’ energy losses in winter and provide energy gains through the windows in summer; provide good quality natural day-lighting; and store thermal energy, shifting heating and cooling peak loads. Light weight prefabricated panels with low environmental impact are also called for.

Three market events, an essential component of the sustainable procurement process, have already been organised in Spain, Italy and Germany, allowing for an initial dialogue with the market. On 19 August another market event will be held in Norway, which will provide further information on the call and answer questions related to the Joint Public Procurement procedure.

For more information, click here.


25 July 2014

Competition for the connected hospital

Digital healthcare has great potential to connect different health trusts, departments and clinical pathways for improved service delivery, treatments and medical research. It can make healthcare systems more efficient in terms of cost and delivery, improving quality of care and access by making medicine more targeted and personalised. Major new research and developments are currently taking place globally, with opportunities to revolutionise traditional healthcare models and create a high-value industry.

The UK Technology Strategy Board is investing up to £6 million in digital health through an open competition, focusing on collaborative R&D projects that stimulate innovation. The competition has chosen to focus on health informatics, seeking proposals that will make secondary care more efficient and empower care providers, patients and their families. Funded projects range from £600k to £1m, and last anything from one to three years.

The Board has chosen to focus on business led projects, mainly industrial research. They are part-funding the projects, with the rest of the money coming from the public sector. The aim of the competition is to support and promote novel ideas for health informatics – specifically, using data to address healthcare needs within a hospital setting. Expressions of interest were received in early July and decisions on project will funding will soon follow. It is hoped that this competition will stimulate innovation and a burgeoning interest in digital healthcare throughout the UK.

For more information, click here.


23 July 2014

Dublin welcomes public procurement professionals for international conference

The sixth International Public Procurement Conference (IPPC) will take place from 14 - 16 August 2014 in Dublin (Ireland). The IPPC is the largest international public procurement conference globally dedicated to academic discussion and practitioner engagement. It is aimed at procurement professionals, academic and government researchers, industry, policy makers and regulators. Graduate students and postdoctoral trainees in relevant fields are particularly invited to attend.

Public procurement remains a key focus for policy makers in this time of global downturn and austerity. The IPPC provides an opportunity for academics and practitioners share their research and practice in an open and transparent environment. Keynote speakers include Chris Browne, Chief Procurement Officer at the World Bank; Rick Grimm, CEO of the Institute for Public Procurement; and Vincent Campbell, Policy Director at the Office of Government Procurement Ireland.

The Conference will focus on a broad range of topics. Themes touched on over the three days include public procurement policy, procurement as a tool of social and economic improvement, sustainability, innovation, governance and defence procurement.

To find out more and to register, click here.


21 July 2014

German PPI Guide launched

The German government has released a guide to help public sector organisations incorporate innovation procurement into their purchasing practices. Public procurement accounts for an estimated €300 billion annually which, targeted appropriately, could help foster innovation. The guide forms part of a wider government drive to achieve greater energy efficiency and improve German competitiveness on the global market.

Using examples and learning drawn from local authorities across the country, the PPI guide provides a comprehensive reference for any public authority wishing to invest in innovation procurement. There is a particular focus on the development of energy efficient solutions and the use of IT to make products smarter and more effective. Practical support is also included, in the form of checklists which guide users through the various different stages of the process to ensure that all potential risks and opportunities have been identified.

Introducing the guide, Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy Sigmar Gabriel said: “This guide supports decision makers and procurement officers with concrete advice on becoming more innovation-orientated. [...] It also shows that much innovation procurement is already taking place in the public sector. I hope that this booklet will be widely read and provide an important practical aid.”

For more information, click here (in German).


15 July 2014

Expert organisations sought for foresight studies in innovation procurement

Birmingham City Council (UK) is looking for experts to carry out scoping studies in the areas of transport and energy efficient buildings. In two tender documents published on behalf of the Public Procurement of Innovation in Action (PPIA) network, specialist organisations are sought to research future trends in energy efficiency technology for historic/public buildings and green fleet technology for public transport.

A total budget of €20,000 is available for each study, including costs, travel, publication and other incidental expenses. Final reports are to be delivered to the PPIA coordinator by December 2014. They should include a summary of related foresight studies, consultation of experts and suppliers, horizon scanning, costs and pricing mechanisms, timing cycles and a projected scale of potential public demand for the technology.

The studies will be used to provide a better understanding of the technological advances which could help future developments in purchasing and contracting cycles and inform the network’s strategic discussions and future decisions. Interested parties should email applications to by 6 August 2014, including an explanation of approach and methodology, a detailed budget breakdown, a timeline of activities and a description of the organisation including experience and CVs of key experts.

For more information, contact


10 July 2014

German government publishes PCP for innovative server cooling

The German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy has recently released a pre-commercial procurement (PCP) for high-temperature liquid cooling of data centre server components. Liquid cooling is an increasingly popular alternative to air conditioning in high-performance computing environments. It is more energy efficient, quieter and less influenced by external temperatures. This increased efficiency is expected to cut cooling costs for computer equipment, with the excess heat transferred from the IT equipment even providing the potential to heat buildings.

The PCP lays out a clear timetable for bidding, development and testing of a solution. Funding is available for the development of a prototype in the form of a government grant to cover up to 50 percent of the development costs.

Contracts for research and development will be granted to a number of competing companies to encourage the development of a number of potential solutions. At the end of each phase, the companies with the best solutions will be chosen to carry on to the next stage. Bidders are asked to provide detailed explanations of their concept, calculations of time and money required to develop and test the solution and pricing if the resulting solution is chosen by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy.

For more information, click here.


8 July 2014

Revised WTO Agreement on Government Procurement broadens access to public contracts

The revised World Trade Organisation (WTO) Agreement on Government Procurement (GPA) entered into force on 6 April 2014, following approval of the Protocol of Amendment by Israel on 7 March. The new GPA is intended to streamline and modernise its predecessor, agreed in 2004. It includes new, simplified rules on transparency and for the first time considers the use of electronic procurement tools.

The Agreement affects local as well as national governments, with an increased number of central and regional government agencies now committed to opening their public procurement markets to foreign bidders. In line with WTO principles of openness and non-discrimination, the GPA focuses on interoperability between different electronic procurement tools. Parties must ensure that their systems are compatible with each other so as not to prejudice potential bidders.

Negotiating parties also agreed on ambitious work plans for the future, including sustainable procurement and support for small and medium-sized enterprises. EU Commissioner Michel Barnier welcomed the revised GPA, saying: “It will […] make public procurement rules in the GPA jurisdictions more transparent and predictable, in line with the spirit of the recently adopted reforms of EU public procurement rules.”

For more information, click here.


3 July 2014

EU reinforces legal basis for PCP in public procurement

To promote investment in research, development and innovation (R&D&I), the European Commission has inserted elements providing a clear legal basis for pre-commercial procurement (PCP) into public procurement and EU competition rules. As uncertainty regarding potential legal challenges and future penalisation often prevents local governments from investing in PCP, these insertions are designed to provide greater legal certainty.

The 2014 public procurement directives have strengthened the pre-existing exemption for R&D services that is used by PCP. Public procurers can continue to carry out PCPs based on the new articles 14 in directive 2014/24/EU and 32 in directive 2014/25/EC. Newly published state aid rules on R&D&I also state explicitly that neither PCP nor public procurement of innovation (PPI) are considered as State Aid.

There is still some need for caution. The exemption applies only when the PCP is implemented in line with conditions already listed in the 2007 PCP communication or when the PPI is implemented through a separate open procurement procedure. Procedures that combine the procurement of R&D with follow-up deployment of commercial volumes of products in one procedure are not included due to the risk of potential competition problems in other procurement approaches.

For more information, click here.


2 July 2014

ICLEI, UNEP and Keiti role in supporting sustainable procurement highlighted by the Guardian

The important work of ICLEI, UNEP and the Korea Environmental Industry and Technology Institute (Keiti) in launching the Sustainable Public Procurement Programme has been highlighted by the Guardian newspaper, in an article that claims that "government spending could save the world". Author Erica Gies argues that through procurement, governments have the power to mainstream sustainable products and services, pointing to recent success stories as evidence.

"Their goal", Ms. Gies writes in reference to ICLEI, UNEP and Keiti, "is to help governments around the world make this shift [to sustainable procurement] via education and support, offering access to experts and tools". The article goes on to say that "Europe has benefited from a close collaboration with ICLEI, a 20-year expert on sustainable procurement. In 2004 ICLEI launched the European-focused Procura+ campaign to create methodology to help European authorities to implement SPP in six product groups... Thanks in part to ICLEI’s work, SPP in Europe now has agreed-upon criteria for 21 product and service groups."

Mark Hidson, Deputy Region Director of ICLEI Europe, is quoted in reference to ICLEI’s work on introducing innovation to public procurers. Speaking on the Procurement of Innovation Platform project, Mr. Hidson said: “It encourages innovation through procurement, bringing new products and services onto the market that meet the needs of users, public authorities, and societies.”

To read the article, click here.