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30 July 2015

New book provides practical public procurement guidance

The many facets of public procurement are explored and made accessible in Abby Semple’s new book “A Practical Guide to Public Procurement”. Published by Oxford University Press, the book delves into the EU legal framework and the impact of the 2014 EU procurement directives. Rather than presenting a theoretical analysis, the book incorporates the reality of how public authorities and companies act when bidding for public contracts, taking into account the unavoidable constraints on their time, capacity and budget.

A detailed overview of the legal obligations and opportunities afforded by the procurement directives is given, including an outline of the court’s interpretation of the directives through case law. The increased comprehensiveness (and complexity) of the most recent directives in comparison to the 2004 iteration is highlighted, particularly where the changes in the law give rise to the possibility for confusion. The reinterpretation of public procurement as a means to meet diverse policy objectives is also discussed.

The book underlines the historical importance of PPI as a way for public authorities to encourage entrepreneurialism, whilst highlighting potential blocks to a broader application of innovation procurement. While research and development services are exempt from the Procurement Directives, the actual purchase of innovative goods and services can still be difficult. New methods such as innovation partnerships are proposed as a useful framework for filling this gap. Bringing a knack for explanation coupled with a legal precision that gets to the heart of European procurement legislation, Ms. Semple has written a text book that is destined to become a vital resource for procurers across Europe.

For more information, visit Oxford University Press.


28 July 2015

Turin market engagement event sees discussion on innovative solutions for buildings

More than 75 people including representatives from 34 businesses attended a market engagement event organised by the City of Turin (Italy) and the EU-funded PROBIS project on 15 July 2015 to discuss the city’s desire to purchase innovative solutions capable of improving the sustainability of buildings. The meeting followed the publication of a Prior Information Notice (PIN) for the refurbishment and maintenance of a city-owned construction.

The PROBIS project aims to use public procurement of innovation as a means to increase energy efficiency and the sustainability of urban building stock. Four open public tenders concerning the use of innovative solutions to refurbish buildings are set to be launched by the project in Turin and Treviglio (Italy), Börlange (Sweden) and Miskolc (Hungary) in late 2015 and early 2016. Market engagement events will accompany each procurement procedure.

In addition to the events, market innovation surveys have also been launched to find out more about the innovative solutions that are currently available on the market. These surveys will help to shape the performance requirements of the procurements. The surveys have been developed by PROBIS’s project partners.

For more information, visit the PROBIS website.


23 July 2015

EU project uses PPI to achieve sustainable management of municipal waste

Innovative public procurement is being used to tackle Europe's growing waste problem, with the EU-funded PPI4Waste project promoting eco-innovative solutions to tackle sustainable waste management issues. The project is also supporting the implementation of European policies and national strategies on waste, and aims to improve resource efficiency and sustainable consumption throughout Europe. The project brings together eight partners from five European countries.

As well as establishing a list of purchasers who may potentially be interested in buying innovative waste solutions, the project is attempting to define public authorities’ needs. Interviews with 14 contracting authorities across the EU have already been conducted, resulting in the identification of almost 100 needs covering the whole waste management chain. Examples include pre-treatment of bulky waste, reducing the noise caused by street sweeping and washing systems, and the sealing of landfill and gas removal.

Project partners will agree on at least three priority areas, and work with contracting authorities to address them through innovative procurement. The results of the project’s needs assesment will be presented during an international procurement foresight workshop in Brussels (Belgium) on 29 October 2015.

For more information, contact


21 July 2015

Funding available for participation in the ECOVATION conference

The PPI Platform is funding selected procurers to travel to Graz (Austria) to attend the ECOVATION conference, a two-day event on sustainable and innovation procurement. The conference will provide participants with the opportunity to network with experts in the field and the chance to experience new ways of thinking about procurement problems and solutions. 200 buyers, experts and suppliers are expected to attend.

Public procurers and decision makers will gather in Graz to discuss current trends and developments, while business representatives will present innovative and sustainable products and services. International good practice will also be presented, with an emphasis on the circular economy and minimising waste. The cost of entrance and accommodation will be covered by the PPI Platform, with applicants sought primarily from New Member States.

The funding is made available as part of the PPI Platform Experience Exchange programme, which enables procurers to travel to advanced organisations to gain a more in-depth understanding of innovative procurement processes. The language of the conference will be German, so only fluent German speakers need apply. Those who wish to take part should fill in the application form and send it to

For more information, visit the ECOVATION website [in German].


16 July 2015

PIN published for innovative educational technology

A Prior Information Notice (PIN) has been published by the EU-funded IMAILE project as part of a pre-commercial procurement (PCP) for innovative learning technologies. The PIN provides the market with details of the features and functions that are required for the solution, and aims to find out both what is available, and what is lacking, on the market.

The project will develop so-called Personalised Learning Environments (PLE) that will support primary and secondary students with science, technology, engineering and maths (collectively known as the STEM subjects). The PLE solution will provide services that make it easier for teachers to develop individual lessons for students and trial various learning strategies, and ensure that tutoring is more effective by offering access to a repository of learning materials and educational apps and tools.

Through integrating social media pages into the PLE, the solution will enable students to learn collaboratively, sharing and interacting with their friends, teachers, and others. The PCP call for tenders will run through three phases with a total value of €3.8 million.

For more information, visit the IMAILE website.


15 July 2015

EcoProcura conference series calls for host city

Cities, regional governments and national governments are invited to express their interest in hosting the 10th EcoProcura conference on sustainable public procurement (SPP) and innovation procurement (IP), which is planned for 2017. The long-running EcoProcura series provides a platform for exchange and dialogue amongst purchasers from all levels of government, suppliers and policy-makers on strategies and the latest practical solutions for implementing SPP and IP.

The conferences seek to generate greater awareness, motivate and encourage people, both from a practical and policy perspective, to move forward on the issue of SPP and IP at the local, national, European and international level. The event, which usually lasts for up to two and a half days, presents an ideal opportunity for the host to promote its own SPP and IP activities to a wide audience. It can be combined with national initiatives, projects, and product exhibitions and trade fairs related to SPP and IP.

ICLEI has been working on event organisation for 25 years and will lead the development of the 10th EcoProcura conference in close cooperation with the host organisation. Responsibilities will be shared between ICLEI, the host and potential further partners, based on an agreed share of tasks. Each edition of the conference series is expected to attract between 250 and 350 participants. English will be the main language during the conference.

For more information, consult the call for submission of bids. [PDF]


9 July 2015

New renovation kits to be trialled in Germany, Italy and Spain

The iNSPiRe project is developing a series of retrofit kits and renovation packages to enable older buildings to meet the ambitious energy targets set by the EU for 2020. The project will soon progress from the research phase to the demonstration phase, which will see innovative energy solutions fitted to three buildings in Verona (Italy), Ludwigsburg (Germany) and Madrid (Spain). A video has been produced to explain the project’s aims and to outline its potential impact on the renovation market.

The demonstration phase aims to show that by applying relevant iNSPiRe renovation packages to homes and offices it is possible to reduce energy consumption in older buildings by up to 80 percent. During the testing phase, project partners will be working on refining a solid business model to ensure the kits are available on the market at an affordable price.

Six renovation kits have been produced by the project, each of which can be applied to buildings retrospectively. The kits are designed to solve specific problems that are inherent when retrofitting buildings constructed from materials such as wood, glass, and metal, and outline how to tackle structural problems as they relate to the installation of heating and cooling systems, and the application of solar panels and other materials capable of generating clean energy.

For more information, visit the iNSPiRe website.


7 July 2015

Database of innovative products and services released

An online database of innovative solutions has been compiled by Luxinnovation, Luxemburg's national innovation and research body. The database features solutions, products, and services of interest to public authorities looking to include innovation in their procurement procedures. The database is free to use, and aims to link innovative businesses with public procurers.

Separated into five categories - building, communication with citizens, health care, information management, and water - each section contains a selection of the most cutting-edge solutions that the market has to offer. Advertised products include glass that allows in light while keeping out heat, storage of patient e-records and remote monitoring of patient well-being, Wi-Fi services for cities, and screens that are activated by gestures, making them interactive without contact.

Collaborative translation management systems, software that can detect fraud and protect against cyber attacks, and electronic document management services are also on offer. In the water category, innovative wastewater treatment plants are promoted, along with modern water storage solutions.

For more information, visit Luxinnovation.


2 July 2015

Italian Region of Lombardy releases PIN for refurbishment of buildings

A Prior Information Notice (PIN) has been released by the Region of Lombardy (Italy), alerting suppliers to the planned public procurement of innovative solutions for the refurbishment of two buildings used as social housing. Built in the 1980s, the buildings are poorly insulated resulting in uncomfortable conditions for occupants. The procurement is part of the Region’s collaboration with the EU-funded PROBIS project, which helps public authorities to procure innovative solutions for European buildings.

The region’s main aim is to increase the thermal comfort and improve air quality in the buildings. The region also wishes to lessen the environmental impact of the buildings, reducing the use of fossil fuel and lowering energy usage by around 40 percent and 24 percent in the buildings respectively. User-friendly regulation, metering and billing of heating is also expected. The value of the contract is between €800,000 and €1 million.

The city also stipulates that changes should present a minimum interference and disturbance to tenants, with occupants able to stay in their homes during renovation. The procurement procedure is being carried out by Lombardy Social Housing Company for the Province of Bergamo, Lecco and Sondrio (ALER), a public body that purchases, constructs and recovers homes and properties to rent and sell to medium and low income families. The Italian City of Turin also recently published a PIN for similar refurbishment needs.

For more information, visit the PROBIS website.