Brussels, 16 Jun 2006
What is Pre-Commercial Procurement of Innovation?
Pre-commercial procurement focuses on products and services which are not yet available on the market, for which a certain amount of development and/or research work is still needed. A pre-commercial procurement trajectory typically consists of three phases: concept/solution design; prototype development; and pilot phase (development of first pre-products on a small scale that are tested in the field). Pre-commercial procurement is about stimulating supplier product development from the demand side so that from the outset it fits perfectly the needs of the public authority interested in deploying the service commercially. It is about the public and private sector sharing the risks and benefits of picking up exploratory research which has the potential to innovate public services from the early stages of pre-commercial product development up to the stage where products are ready for commercialisation. Pre-commercial procurement of innovation empowers public procurers in their role as technologically-demanding first buyers.
Pre-commercial procurement brings benefits for public procurers, policymakers, European companies and the public. An independent ICT expert group identified the strategic differences in the use of pre-commercial versus commercial public procurement as a policy instrument in Europe compared to the US and Asia. Public first buyer involvement in the early phases of industry product development has the potential to deliver products that better address public sector needs at lower costs. Pre-commercial procurement can improve the quality of public services while at the same time creating opportunities for European companies to obtain industrial leadership with innovative products and services in important public sector domains such as health, transportation, government administration.
Workshops on Pre-Commercial Procurement of Innovation
The European Commission Directorate General for Information Society and Media (DG INFSO), together with the Committee of the Regions (CoR), is planning three exploratory workshops to explore potential areas for pre-commercial procurement projects together with local and regional procurers around Europe.
Three workshops are planned to take place in Brussels in the domain of ICTs for health (21 June), ICTs for transportation (22 June) and eGovernment (28 June).
These initial workshops are taking place in preparation for a session on Pre-Commercial Procurement of Innovation at the Open Days - Week of the Regions and Cities, which is being organised by the Committee of the Regions and Directorate General for Regional Policy on 10 October 2006. Contact Information
For more information and if you are interested in participating in the workshops please contact Lieve Bos (lieve.bos at ec.europa.eu). Workshop Documents
Terms of Reference
- Agenda, 21 June: ICT Solutions for the Health Sector
- Agenda, 22 June: ICT Solutions for the Transport Sector
- Agenda, 28 June: ICT Solutions for Government
- Overview of pre-commercial procurement
- Technical report: 'Pre-Commercial Procurement of Innovation: a missing link in the European innovation cycle' written by a National IST Directors Working Group, March 2006. Describes the legal underpinning and a suggested framework for pre-commercial procurement, and provides some comparative data for various approaches in Europe, Asia and the United States