Pre-commercial procurement & public procurement of innovative solutions Pre-commercial procurement & public procurement of innovative solutions

The public sector in the EU, as elsewhere in the world, is faced with important challenges. These include modernising internal operations of public services to make them run more efficiently, as well as improving the external quality of public services to the citizens: improving high quality affordable health care to cope with an ageing population, the fight against climate change, improving energy efficiency, ensuring higher quality and better access to education, etc.

Addressing such challenges can require new and better solutions. When looking for such innovative solutions, typically procurers find themselves in one of two situations:

  • In some cases, the required improvements can be addressed by solutions that are already or nearly on the market and don't require any new R&D. Solutions have typically been tested on a small scale but what is lacking are early adopters, committed to procuring a critical mass of end-products, to creating the incentive for industry to scale up its production chain and make some final products adaptations to meet the end-users' price / quality requirements for large scale deployment. This is when Public Procurement of Innovative solutions (PPI) can be used effectively.
  • In other cases, the required improvements are so technologically demanding that there are no near-to-the-market solutions yet, and new R&D is still needed to prove that the market can really deliver commercially stable solutions with the desired price / quality requirements before procurers can commit to buy large volumes of end-solutions. Typically in such a case there are different potential suppliers proposing alternative competing solution approaches, but there is no conclusive test evidence yet as to which of the approaches will finally deliver the best value for money solution. This is when Pre-Commercial Procurement (PCP) can be used effectively.

Useful resources Useful resources

Thematic fiche

Pre-commercial procurement & public procurement of innovative solutions


130M euro of EU funding for innovation procurement in 2016-17 - open PCP call. In the upcoming Horizon 2020 "open" PCP call (deadline 12 April 2016), 90% of the coordination and procurements costs for pre-commercial procurements (PCP) in any domain of public interest that requires ICT based solutions is financed.

New call to apply for free of charge assistance for innovation procurements. 12 European procurers will receive free assistance from the European Assistance for Innovation Procurement (eafip) for implementation of innovation procurement? To be one of the 12 - rRegister before 17 April 2016.

Further useful resources

European Assistance for Innovation Procurement (Eafip) is a European Commission initiative to support public procurers to start and implement more and better innovation procurements of ICT-based solutions across the EU. The main components are 1) Identification of major key procurers in each MS per domain of public interest (energy, transport, construction etc.), 2) to prepare a toolkit for procurers, policy makers and law firms will be drawn up, 3) Organisation of 3 major EU-wide events to raise awareness about PCP and PPI  and 9 workshops across Europe specifically targeted at providing procurers with access to good practice approaches and hands-on support, and 4) On spot assistance will be provided to procurers across the EU MS that wish to launch 6 PCP and 6 PPI procurements. This assistance will take into account the local legal environment of the assisted procurer.

DG CONNECT presentation on synergies between ESIF and Horizon 2020 for Innovation Procurement

Innovation procurement in Italy - presentation that describes the support to Italian convergence Regions of the South through the Structural Funds for the implementation of  Innovation Procurements. The call for proposals for Innovation Procurement projects is published on the following link (in Italian)

Funding opportunities through the H2020 calls on Innovation Procurements (PCP/PPI) in various domains of public interest in 2016-2107.

The French government has created a dedicated website detailing opportunities for innovation financing and procurement.

North Rhine-Westphalia region has decided to financially help public procurers from its region to participate in EU funded PCP and PPI projects by financing the own contribution of public procurers to participate such projects up to maximum 200.000 EURO. Moreover North Rhine-Westphalia region decided to kick-start projects, including PCP and PPI projects, that actively use Horizon 2020 and ESIF funding in synergy appointing ZENIT as coordinator. More info here

For more details on the topic and info about upcoming events on PCP and PPI please visit: