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EWRC 2019: Implementing Smart Specialisation in Energy through Innovation Procurement

General Information

This workshop took place on the 9th of October 2019 in Brussels. It was organised in the frame of the EWRC 2019, by the Smart Specialisation Platform on Energy (S3PEnergy), a joint initiative of DG REGIO, DG ENER and JRC, with the objective of supporting the effective uptake of the Cohesion Policy funds for energy as well as to help regions in the implementation of their S3.

Public procurement is an important lever for economic growth and competitiveness, especially in a sector such as energy, where the public sector is a key source of demand.

Innovation procurement is an administrative action aimed at promoting innovation by enhancing the development of new innovative markets from the demand side, through public procurement. It contributes to:

  • modernising the public sector through the incorporation of innovative goods or services;
  • promoting business-based innovation;
  • boosting the internationalisation of innovation using the local public market as a launch or reference customer.

By developing a forward-looking innovation procurement strategy, public procurers can drive the R&D and deployment of innovative energy solutions from the demand side. Nevertheless, innovation procurement seems to remain underused in Europe compared to other parts of the world.

The main aim of the workshop was to help public authorities, procurers, policymakers, researchers and other stakeholders harness the power of innovation procurement to support the implementation of their Smart Specialisation Strategies (S3) in Energy, facilitating more quickly a clean energy transition, in line with the Energy Union strategy, and at the same time creating opportunities for their local companies.

A pro-innovation procurement approach - using both public procurement of innovative solutions (PPI) and pre-commercial procurement (PCP) tools - could be more widely developed in the field of energy in order to influence the market towards innovative and more sustainable energy-related products and services.

Representatives from different regions and organisations presented interesting examples of innovation procurement initiatives carried out in the context of their smart specialisation and in the frame of interregional projects. They explained in details the activities carried out, the methodology followed, the obstacles encountered, the lessons learnt for both public procurers and for policy makers, and the support or tools they make available for others.

Some 40 participants from various organisations attended the workshop: mainly EU, national, regional or local public administrations (fund managers, public buyers, S3 practitioners, etc.), but also researchers, members of civil associations and entreprise organisations.

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Agenda and Presentations


Wed. 09/10/2019, 14:30 - 16:00


Session reporting

Summaries of each session and the main conclusions are available in this document.

Quotes from speakers

  • Piet Desiere (Government of Flanders): "PPI is a promising instrument to come to solve societal needs, but further European support is required"
  • Rafael Hirt (ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability): "The Procura+ Network, the Innovation Procurement Platform and the Procurement Forum offer useful support to public buyers to exchange and learn from best practice examples on innovation procurement in Europe."
  • Ivan Šimić? (Managing Director of Regional Energy Agency North): "Innovation procurement is a great tool for public authorities, getting innovative solutions that meet their needs, and also to support entrepreneurs. It comes with some risks; policy makers need to develop instruments that would ensure a serious uptake of innovation procurement.“
  • An Schrijvers (Government of Flanders):“It takes much energy to carry out successful projects on sustainable energy. A firm commitment of all partners (public, private, civil, academic and financial) is needed. Advice and support on innovation procurement can definitely contribute, but co-financing seems crucial to compensate for the risks taken."
  • Ákos Szépvölgyi (Central Transdanubian Regional Innovation Agency, Hungary; PPI2Innovate project): "The keystone for successful territorial development is cooperation. It can be efficiently accelerated by PPI."


Useful documents




SQUARE Brussels Convention Centre, Room 313+315. Mont des Arts, 1000 Brussels

Registration information

Registration is closed.