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30 September 2015

Competition opens to find innovative solutions to improve UK journeys

A government body in the UK is offering up to £10 million to businesses to develop innovative solutions that improve the efficiency and experience of journeys. The solution should help travellers or freight operators to complete their journey seamlessly, even if that involves using a number of different transport types within the same trip. Innovate UK is a government agency that funds and supports innovative businesses to accelerate sustainable economic growth.

The funds can be put towards building network and data connectivity solutions, such as a UK-wide journey planner, enhancing infrastructure in the country (core infrastructure, such as roads, railways, etc. are not covered however), or providing better customer interaction and experience. The aim is for customers to be offered a selection of transport options with differing profiles, costs and schedules, making movement of people and goods easier.

Innovate UK expects each proposal to be collaborative and to be led by a business, with projects in the funding range of £250,000 to £3 million. According to Innovate UK guidelines, small businesses are eligible to receive up to 70 percent of project costs funded, while medium sized business can receive 60 percent and large businesses 50 percent. The deadline for expressions of interest is at noon on 18 November 2015.

For more information and to apply, visit the Innovate UK website.


24 September 2015

GrowSmarter website showcases market-ready solutions for future smart cities

A total of 12 innovative solutions geared towards increasing sustainability in the fields of energy, infrastructure, and transport will be rolled out in Stockholm (Sweden), Cologne (Germany), and Barcelona (Spain) as part of the EU-funded Grow Smarter project. The project has recently released its new website, which provides details on how the 12 solutions will support the transition to a smart, sustainable Europe and improve quality of life for local residents.

The three cities, named “lighthouse” cities by the project, will work closely with the private sector in applying the solutions, demonstrating their market-readiness and leading to wider market uptake. Progress in the lighthouse cities will be closely monitored by the project’s five “follower” cities – Valetta (Malta), Porto (Portugal), Cork (Ireland), Suceava (Romania), and Graz (Austria).

The newly launched website will also provide technical information on each of the 12 solutions, as well as blog updates from the worksites in the three Lighthouse Cities to give an insight into how they are progressing on the ground. Opportunities for other cities and interested parties to get involved are also featured. The project is funded under the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme.

For more information, visit the Grow Smarter website.


23 September 2015

Procura+ Seminar to look at the future of procurement in Europe

The challenge of designing procurement processes that will help to build a low carbon future will be discussed at the 2015 Procura+ Seminar, set to take place in Barcelona (Spain) on 11 November 2015. Primarily aimed at procurement practitioners, experts and policy-makers, the event will be highly interactive, encouraging discussion and debate among participants. Registration is available online until 16 October 2015.

The seminar will place a focus on practical issues facing procurers, exploring how sustainability can be better integrated into processes. Participants will be broken up into groups based on their professional roles, enabling them to delve in-depth into specific issues and to learn from others facing similar challenges. Following the Procura+ Seminar, the Procura+ Participants and National Partners' meeting will take place on 12 November from 9.00-14.30.

The event is organised by ICLEI together with Barcelona City Council, Barcelona Metropolitan Area, and Barcelona Provincial Council (Spain), in cooperation with the GPP 2020 project consortium. Places are limited so early registration is advised. Detailed information about the programme, the venue and hotel options are available on the Procura+ Seminar Series website.

For more information, contact


22 September 2015

Five finalists selected for Procurement of Innovation Award

Five finalists have been chosen for the Procurement of Innovation Award, representing the most innovative and impressive public procurement activities carried out in Europe. The Award aims to recognise successful public procurement procedures that have been used to purchase innovative, more effective and efficient products or services. The finalists and their suppliers will be invited to an award ceremony at the European Assistance for Innovation Procurement event in Paris (France), taking place from 27 – 28 October 2015. The event is organised by EAFIP.

The finalists are:

• Federal Procurement Agency, Austria

• Stockholm County Council (Karolinska University Hospital), Sweden

• Galician Public Health Service, Spain

• Consip - Central Purchasing Body, Italy

• Rijkswaterstaat, The Netherlands

A more in-depth profile on each finalist, detailing their organisation, procured innovation and supplier, will be made available on the Procurement of Innovation Platform website in the coming weeks. The winning entry will receive a trophy for innovation procurement excellence, together with the title “European innovation procurement of the year”, and a case study published on the Procurement of Innovation Platform. The judging panel, which is made up of respected procurement experts from across Europe, was particularly impressed by this year’s entries.

“The potential for innovation procurement to build a better, more efficient Europe is exemplified in the actions of these five finalists. Each finalist has developed exciting new solutions to persistent problems using procurement of innovation," said jury member Mark Hidson, Deputy Regional Director of ICLEI and Global Director of ICLEI’s Sustainable Procurement Capacity Centre.

For more information, visit the Award page.


18 September 2015

Procurers invited to connect and exchange on waste management solutions

Procurers interested in improving waste management by using public procurement of innovation (PPI) to find new and efficient solutions are invited to join two groups set up by the PPI4Waste project. The EU-funded project aims to develop innovative approaches to waste collection and treatment. A Purchasing Community and an Interest Group will be established and officially launched at the project’s upcoming Procurement Foresight Workshop in Brussels (Belgium) on 29 October 2015. The Interest Group is open to any stakeholder with an interest in the procurement of innovative waste management solutions, including public authority representatives such as municipal waste management experts, procurers and policy makers, as well as academics, suppliers and other experts in the field.

The Purchasing Community is open solely to public procurers directly involved in the procurement of waste management solutions. The Purchasing Community will see procurers exchange knowledge and expertise on how to deploy PPI for waste effectively. By joining the group, members will improve their knowledge of innovative solutions already available on the market and will enhance their capacity through taking part in phone conferences, webinars and face-to-face meetings with other procurers.

The Interest Group aims to foster innovation and exchange in the waste management sector, and will similarly give public procurers the chance to learn, connect, and exchange. Both groups will use the Procurement Forum to facilitate exchange, and will provide members with news on upcoming trainings and project updates. To join, get in touch with

For more information, visit the PPI4Waste website.


15 September 2015

Berlin’s first electric bus line opens

The City of Berlin (Germany) has put six electric buses into service along a six kilometre route, improving air quality in the German capital’s city centre. The Polish built vehicles are powered by a 160 kW (218 hp) electric motor, with each battery capable of being charged wirelessly along the route.

On the final stop of the journey, the bus passes over a charging station buried in the ground, with energy transferred via magnetic field. The charging operation takes around four to seven minutes. €4.1 million are being invested in the project through to 2016, with the State of Berlin planning to further support the project up to 2023.

Berlin joins a growing list of German cities that have implemented the innovative technology, one that already includes Mannheim and Braunschweig. The buses are considerably quieter than their fossil fuel powered counterparts and have been fitted with speakers that alert pedestrians of their presence as a safety precaution.

For more information, visit heise online [in German].


10 September 2015

PPI Platform praised in ERAC report

The European Research Area and Innovation Committee (ERAC) has praised the Procurement of Innovation Platform in a new report that identifies good practice in the promotion of public procurement of innovation (PPI) across Europe. The report cites the platform’s development of guidance documents on PPI and its distribution of relevant news and documents.

The document also contains recommendations on policy options to encourage the uptake of PPI, aimed at the Council of the European Union, Member States, and the European Commission. For Member States, ERAC recommends creating a strategic framework for innovation procurement, one that contains definitions, goals and indicators, as well as tools and an outline of responsibilities. It also encourages the creation of a national coordinating service to offer support to contracting authorities, and the provision of financial incentives for authorities to undertake innovation procurement.

The European Commission is advised to set up a knowledge-sharing service on innovation procurement, while the Council is recommended to include the new indicator “innovation procurement” within the Innovation Union Scoreboard. The Council is also encouraged to invite the European Commission to develop a monitoring system that will give an accurate picture of innovation procurement in the EU.

For more information, download the document. [PDF]


8 September 2015

Clean Fleets project draws on past experiences to produce recommendations

Three years of experience and findings have been compiled into the Clean Fleets project's Policy Recommendations document, providing European and national policy makers with advice on purchasing Alternative Fuelled Vehicles (AVFs) for their public fleets. The document has been written by experts in the project consortium, including local authorities with practical experience of implementing the Clean Vehicles Directive.

Recommendations for national level officials include the establishment of capacity building programmes for fleet managers and vehicle procurers to grow institutional knowledge, and to provide free advice to public authorities and large fleet operators on sustainable mobility choices through national or regional centres of excellence. EU support and funding is recommended to help make these centres viable. It is also advised that vehicle and fuel taxation schemes be modified to encourage the use of AFVs and to be more consistent across the EU.

It is foreseen that the project’s recommendations will play a role in shaping the next iteration of the Clean Vehicles Directive. Other key outputs produced by the project include the Clean Vehicles Guide and LCC tool, a best practice case study compendium and a final results leaflet with more practical suggestions for fleet managers. All are available online and in hard copy by contacting

For more information, download the Policy Recommendations document. [PDF]


3 September 2015

PIANOo translates procurement guidance into English

PIANOo, a Dutch public procurement agency, has launched a translated version of their website, providing those who speak English with a wealth of useful information on public procurement of innovation (PPI) and market engagement. PIANOo’s website explains key procurement concepts and provides information on how procurers can embrace sustainable and innovative procurement, as well as giving access to tools and documents.

Procurers are presented with a list of key points to keep in mind to successfully carry out a procurement strategy, which includes advice such as 'get to know the market', 'actively assess and manage the risks involved', and 'determine a strategy for managing intellectual property'. The site also includes comprehensive information on sustainable public procurement (SPP), translated from the original Dutch version.

PIANOo, the Dutch Public Procurement Expertise Centre, was founded in 2005 with the aim to help government departments improve efficiency and comply with relevant procurement rules. It provides advice and practical tips and brings together procurement and tendering expertise. The organisation also fosters dialogue between government contracting authorities and private sector companies. It is part of the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs.

For more information, visit the PIANOo website.


2 September 2015

EU initiative offers support to procurers purchasing PPI and PCP solutions

Procurers intending to purchase innovative information and communication technologies can avail of support in the form of training and assistance from the EU-funded eafip initiative. The three year initiative will select 12 procurers, working with them to successfully implement their pre-commercial procurement (PCP) or public procurement of innovation (PPI) procedure.

Specifically, the initiative wants to work with procurers looking to address some of Europe’s most significant challenges through PCP and PPI, such as an ageing population, climate change, resource scarcity, and the need for greater energy efficiency and a move to renewable sources. Those with an interest but limited experience in procuring innovative solutions are particularly encouraged to take part.

Procurers that wish to get involved should fill out the online questionnaire before 30 September 2015. Eafip will additionally develop a toolkit that will assist policy makers, public procurers and legal professionals in designing and implementing PCP and PPI procurement procedures. The initiative will also organise a series of workshops across Europe, providing procurers with good-practice approaches and hands-on support.

For more information, visit the eafip website.