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Guidance on Innovation Procurement: the Commission notice

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Adopted in the context of the Communication on “A renewed European Agenda for Research and Innovation – Europe’s chance to shape its technological leadership” and the input to the Leaders’ informal dinner in Sofia on 16 May 2018, this guidance document presents in a concise manner the fundamental aspects of innovation procurement: why it is important, who has interest in it and how it can be done.


The Public Procurement Package of October 2017 launched a stakeholder consultation on the guidance. The present document reflects the many responses received in this consultation. The level of detail has been deliberately chosen so that it reaches the widest professional public (buyers, policy makers and suppliers). Even the most advanced readers will find useful references to the recent initiatives and examples.


Public procurement rules are no longer only concerned with “how to buy” – they provide scope for incentives on “what to buy”, without prescribing them. The objective of spending taxpayers’ money well is gaining new dimensions, beyond merely satisfying the primary needs of public entities. With each public purchase, the public opinion is rightly interested to know whether the procured solution is not only formally compliant, but also whether it brings the best added value in terms of quality, cost-efficiency, environmental and social impact and whether it brings opportunities for the suppliers’ market.


Innovation procurement addresses all of the above concerns. It opens the door to higher quality and more efficient solutions that value environmental and social benefits, better costeffectiveness; and new business opportunities for enterprises.


The Guidance:

  • clarifies the innovation procurement concept, its overarching dimension and added value;
  • outlines the policy framework that is necessary to make strategic use of innovation procurement;
  • illustrates how to open the doors of public procurement to innovators,cincluding start-ups and innovative SMEs;
  • describes how to put public procurement procedures at work to modernize public services with innovative solutions and to create growth and jobs.