Digital Agenda for Europe
A Europe 2020 Initiative

EU policy initiatives on Innovation Procurement


The EC is reinforcing the policy framework in Europe for procurers to use Pre-Commercial Procurement (PCP) and Public Procurement of Innovative Solutions (PPI).

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European Commission policy initiatives:

  • European Assistance on Innovation Procurement: DG CONNECT has appointed experts to provide training, promotion and local assistance on PCP and PPI (incl. legal assistance) to public procurers that intend to start concrete PCP and PPI procurements for ICT based solutions across all EU Member States. More info here.
  • The European Research Area and Innovation Committee (ERAC) of the European Council is discussing a draft opinion from the ERAC working group on innovation procurement that recommends EU Member States to: 1. Create a strategic framework for innovation procurement, together with a clear action plan; 2. Raise public buyers’ awareness and set up a coordinating service offering support for procurers; 3. Develop and provide financial incentives for undertaking innovation procurement; 4.Set up innovation procurement targets with monitoring systems on European and national level
  • New 2014 EU State aid framework on R&D&I (Research, Development and Innovation): reassures procurers that PCP and follow-up PPI procurements to deploy commercial volumes of innovative solutions do not involve State aid, when the PCP is implemented in line with the 2007 PCP communication and the PPI is implemented as a separate open procurement procedure as provided for in the EU public procurement directives (see new section 2.3). Procedures that combine the procurement of R&D with follow-up deployment of commercial volumes of products (long term innovation partnerships with vendors) are considered not to involve State aid in the exceptional case of unique/specialised products.  More info on differences between the use of two separate but complementary PCP and PPI procurements compared to such long term innovation partnerships with vendors can be found in FAQ 20.
  • New 2014 EU public procurement directives: maintain and word more clearly the exemption for R&D services that is used by PCP (see also the new reference to PCP in preambles 47 and 57 of directives 24 and 25). Public procurers can thus continue to carry out PCP procurements based on exemption for R&D services in the new articles 14 in directive 2014/24/EC and article 32 in directive 2014/25/EC. PCP can also be applied in the defence sector as the same exemption for R&D services is also available in article 13(f)(j) of the 2009 defence procurement directive COM(2009)81.
  • New 2014-2020 European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF): emphasize ever more innovation, and encourage public procurers to use ESIF funds to undertake more PCP and PPI projects. More info on the S3 platform website in the fiche in the digital agenda toolbox on PCP and PPI in the context of structural funds. The Commission published also a guide on the synergies between ESIF and Horizon 2020 funding, including for PCP and PPI. A presentation is also available showing in more detail concrete scenarios for implementing such synergies.
  • Reinforced EU co-financing for PCP and PPI in Horizon 2020: the EU's research and innovation funding program for 2014-2020, Horizon 2020, has dedicated funding instruments for PCP and PPI that can be used across all areas of research and innovation. Horizon 2020 provides EU co-financing for PCP and PPI procurements undertaken jointly by public procurers from different Member States and/or associated countries. The EU or EU funding bodies can also participate themselves in PCP and PPI procurements undertaken together with European public procurers.
  • Creating a measurement framework for ICT and R&D procurement: September 2014 DG CONNECT finished a study that quantifies the amount of public procurement of R&D, ICT and ICT related R&D across Europe and develops guidelines for a measurement framework for the future. The study happened in the context of measuring progress on the below Innovation Union and Digital Agenda for Europe policy ambitions and targets.
  • Quantifying the impact of PCP compared to other procurement approaches: End of April 2014 DG CONNECT started a study to quantify the impact of PCP in Europe. The study compares impacts of national procurement cases across different countries and makes recommendations for new actions to be undertaken at EU and national level to encourage wider use of PCP and PPI. First results on the impacts of EU funded cross-border PCP projects here.
  • EU targets for innovation procurement: In 2011, the Innovation Union and Digital Agenda for Europe  proposed targets to encourage Member States to increase the use of PCP and PPI.
  • National legal basis for PCP: The EC's 2010 survey across the Member States public procurement authorities confirms to procurers where the legal basis for doing PCPs is transposed in their own country's legal framework.
  • Commission communication and staff working document on PCP: The December 2007 communication introduces the concept and potential benefits of PCP. The staff working document illustrates how PCP can be implemented in line with the legal framework. Both are bundled in the Pre-commercial Procurement Brochure (English):

           PCP Communication in all EU languages (COM(2007)799 final)

BG , CS , DA , DE , EL , EN , ES , ET , FI , FR , HU , IT , LT , LV , MT , NL , PL , PT , RO , SK , SL , SV

PCP Staff Working Document in all EU languages (SEC(2007)1668)

BG , CS , DA , DE , EL , EN , ES , ET , FI , FR , HU , IT , LT , LV , MT , NL , PL , PT , RO , SK , SL , SV


Opinions of other EU institutions and other organizations on public procurement as a driver for R&I:

European Council

European Parliament

Other organizations

Last updated on 17/06/2015