EC organizes a conference to support innovation through public procurement

This conference aims to promote a connected community of stakeholders and identify possible joint actions to support innovation through public procurement. To start building a European critical mass in this field, there is a need to facilitate the networking and exchanging of best practice among public procurers, policy makers and relevant stakeholders.

Public procurement accounts for some 16% of GDP in the European Union and offers an enormous potential market for innovative products and services. For spending on construction this figure reaches 40% and for defence, civil security and emergency operations almost 100%.

Improved public procurement practices can help foster market uptake of innovative products and services, whilst raising the quality of public services in markets where the public sector is a significant purchaser. Mobilising public authorities to act as 'launching customers' by promoting the use of innovation-friendly procurement practices is therefore an important measure in action plans, taking into account risks and regulatory limitations.

Member states are encouraged to take specific measures to stimulate innovation and research through improved public procurement practices. To do this requires changes in the administrative processes typically used by national, regional and local public procurement offices in preparing calls for tenders.

That is why European Commission is organizing a conference on "Promoting Innovation through Public Procurement: Best Practice and Networking". It will take place in Centre Borschette (Rue Froissart 36, Brussels), and it is organized by organized by the Directorate General for Industry and Entrepreneurship.

The specific objectives of the Conference are to:

  • Clarify the relationships between networks and stakeholders (existing ones and new ones) that can promote public procurement of innovations: innovation agencies, Enterprise Europe Network partners, experts, industry, procuring facilitators
  • Identify what tools are best used to help these people and where there is potential for joint actions.

Public procurement was identified as a priority for EU innovation policy under the 2006 Broad Based Innovation Strategy. Since then, the Commission has provided guidance on innovation in public procurement, introduced the concept of precommercial and launched calls to support trans-national networks of public procurers in the lead market areas and for pre-commercial procurement. In parallel, innovative approaches in public procurement have been already developed.