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26 February 2015

PRO-LITE partners successfully engage the European lighting market

The PRO-LITE project implemented a novel Early Market Engagement strategy in 2014, with a view to driving competition and stimulating innovation within the lighting market across Europe. The strategy included presenting at Europe’s largest lighting conferences, as well as the development and use of online submission tools, including questionnaires, through which manufacturers and suppliers were able to outline information on their organisation’s capabilities, innovative technologies, and their experiences working with others to innovate.

To date, PRO-LITE partners have engaged over 100 lighting manufacturers and suppliers at lighting conferences and other events, and received written information from organisations based in over 10 countries from across Europe, North America and Asia.

Two PRO-LITE partners, based in Italy and Germany, plan to publish tender documents in the coming weeks, and in mid 2015 Transport for London (TfL) will host a ‘Suppliers Morning’ event to engage with potential suppliers of lighting innovation face to face. TfL plans to invite over 60 lighting manufacturers and suppliers that responded to their market engagement e-Form, as well as representatives from Europe’s Lighting Industry Association who helped the organisation to acquire information on almost 300 innovative lighting technologies.

For more information, visit the PRO-LITE website.

 

24 February 2015

London Fire Brigade procures innovative solutions to enhance environmental performance

To help meet its environmental targets, the fire brigade of the City of London (United Kingdom) is procuring advanced technology for its vehicles that will reduce their environmental impact. Currently counting over 500 fire fighting vehicles, the British fire brigade has set a target of a 45 percent reduction in CO2 emissions from its operations by 2020 compared to 1990 levels, as well as a reduction in the quantity of waste produced and water consumed.

The London Fire Brigade is a participant in the FIRED-uP project, which seeks to stimulate procurement of innovation. As part of the EU-funded project, the fire brigade has established two single-operator framework agreements for the supply of vehicle telematics hardware and software, and for the supply of an equipment tagging system. These innovative systems will make fleet and equipment management easier, as well as reducing the environmental footprint of the vehicles.

The new system will provide information on the fleet's real-time location; its fuel consumption and fuel tank volume; the engine and pump usage; and the rate of emissions. Reports will be made available in specified formats such as via an online portal and by e-mail, and raw data will be available for use within other systems. The tagging system will help the organisation to keep track of the wide range of equipment used in fire fighting.

For more information, read the GPP News Alert example [PDF].

 

19 February 2015

Consortia chosen to develop innovative fire-fighting suit

Four consortia comprised of European organisations have been selected by the smart@fire project to design a personal protection system for firefighters. The system will comprise information and communication technology that monitors environmental parameters, displays body vital signs, determines the position of fire-fighters and enables them to better assess situations they find themselves in. These capabilities will be integrated into the firefighters' protective clothing.

The selected consortia are: e-Bo and Seyntex; Texport, BHT Solutions, ICON, IOS International, and Omnisense; Applycon, Elitronic, Holik International, Vochoc, University of West Bohemia, and Dune; and Prevent & Deloza, Titera, Biotech Knowledge Center, Biotek Lab, and ITP. These organisations will be tasked with designing their solutions by 30 April 2015. The selection of the four consortia is based on the results of a series of market consultations, in which procurement officers and potential suppliers met to discuss the specifications and requirements of the products.

The next phase of the pre-commercial procurement will see the development of a working prototype, with a view to large scale production. Following the successful manufacture of the solution, the EU fire and rescue services will purchase the final product. The smart@fire project is financially supported by the European Commission.

For more information, visit the smart@fire website.

 

17 February 2015

Koprivnica breaks with tradition to procure renewable energy

The City of Koprivnica (Croatia) has chosen to procure electricity produced from renewable sources, greatly reducing the carbon footprint of public institutions in the city. The move marks the first public procurement of renewable electricity in the history of Croatia. Green energy is currently used to power primary and secondary schools, universities, and street lighting, in addition to city-owned buildings.

The use of renewable energy is estimated to save 1,300 tons of CO2 emissions per year compared to conventionally produced energy, contributing to Croatia’s obligations to reduce CO2 output under terms of its EU membership. As a member of the Covenant of Mayors, the decision to procure more environmentally-friendly electricity also goes towards the commitment to lower emissions by 20 percent by the year 2020.

The city was aided with the technical aspects of procuring renewable energy by the PRIMES project, an EU-funded initiative that seeks to provide hands-on support for public purchasing organisations to implement green public purchasing in six European countries: Croatia, Denmark, Sweden, Latvia, France and Italy. Additional support was provided by the Regional Energy Agency North, and UNDP Croatia.

For more information, read the PRIMES newsletter.

 

12 February 2015

UK government opens competition for childcare information portal

Finding suitable childcare can be a taxing endeavour for parents and caretakers, one made more difficult by a lack of information on available options. Recognising this, the UK Department of Education (DfE) is creating a portal that gathers accurate childcare information in one place, helping parents to make an informed decision.

DfE has opened a competition to create a “new, engaging and innovative” solution that provides comprehensive childcare services data in an accessible manner. The government body notes that solutions provided by the private sector often have too narrow a focus to be considered complete, or are updated too infrequently. Up to £200,000 is available for the prototype development of the solution.

To take part, prospective applicants must register their interest by 25 March 2015, with the closing date for submissions 1 April. A briefing event for potential applicants will be held in March, with potential developers encouraged to participate. Applicants must register their interest in attending the briefing by 13 February.

For more information, visit innovateuk.org.

 

10 February 2015

Water PiPP to enhance innovation in the water sector through procurement

A new video has been produced by the EU-funded Water Public Innovation Procurement Policies (Water PiPP) project to introduce the public to the project’s aims. Through involving local authorities, public and private purchasers, water utilities, networks of cities and regions, and the research and innovation community, the three-year project intends to push forward the innovation potential in the water sector, overcoming bottlenecks and barriers through innovative and pre-commercial procurement.

The project also aims to solve water related societal challenges through mobilising the procurement power of public and private actors, in addition to enhancing the competitiveness of the European water industry on the global market. 2015 will see the project testing innovation procurement in practice, with technical coaching (based on the tools and methods developed by the project) provided to selected public authorities. 2014, the first year of the project, was primarily spent gathering relevant information on the water sector.

Public authorities interested in getting involved in a pilot procurement should contact g.nion@oieau.fr. Participants will benefit from the expertise of the Water PiPP project and its partners, and will be guided by a group of innovative procurement experts. Further details are available via the project newsletter, which can be subscribed to on the Water PiPP homepage.

To view the video, visit the Water PiPP website.

 

5 February 2015

Electric vehicle trials in Rotterdam lead to increase in uptake

In a bid to improve the use of electric vehicles, the City of Rotterdam (The Netherlands) provided council members, policy officers and fleet managers with the opportunity to test-drive a range of electric cars for up to two weeks. Prior to the testing period, presentations were held in city council meetings, addressing concerns about electric vehicles and going into detail on electric vehicle policy and infrastructure requirements. As a result, more than 10 percent of Rotterdam's vehicle fleet is now electric, with this number growing.

Local Authorities were also provided with Total Cost of Ownership calculations, comparing the use of an electric vehicle to a conventional vehicle. These calculations showed the benefits of electric fleets, assuaging many fears about the expense of going electric.

To add a competitive element to proceedings, a quiz was held on electric vehicle use in the municipality. A photo competition was also held on twitter, in which staff members were asked to tweet a photo of the electric cars together with a message promoting sustainability. This competition led to positive social media activity on the part of the local authority and its employees.

For more information, visit the Procurement Forum.

 

4 February 2015

EC invests in innovation to tackle societal issues & improve competitiveness

The European Commission is investing €100 million into bringing innovation that addresses societal challenges to market, aiming to meet EU targets and bolster European competitiveness. Proposals are being accepted to access the funding, with the focus on mature new technologies, concepts, processes and business models that need a last development step to reach the market and achieve wider deployment.

Applicants from industry, particularly SMEs, are the primary target group for the funding, though stakeholders from other fields may also participate. The proposals must include a clear business plan describing the market potential, the possibility of commercial uptake, and the business opportunities for participants. The expected impact of the innovation must also be thoroughly explored, as well as the business context in terms of international competition.

Additionally, the impact on EU targets, such as those related to sustainability and climate change, should be outlined. Market take up should occur no later than three years after the beginning of the project. Proposal submission is possible online.

For more information, visit the European Commission website.