COS-LINKPP-2020-2-05: Innovation Procurement Broker: Creating Links for the Facilitation of Public Procurement of Innovation


SMEs’ access to public procurement is quite limited. Still, the public sector can play an important role in helping companies overcome a classic market failure: finding a first group of customers for their innovative products and services. When it happens, we are in the framework of Public Procurement of Innovative solutions.

This COSME call for proposals will support beneficiaries, who will act as Innovation Procurement Brokers, to develop and implement a sustainable method for facilitating public procurement of innovation. In particular, this action will launch a second experimentation of the ‘innovation procurement broker model’ with the aim of demonstrating the relevance and effectiveness of the cooperation model between various stakeholders, who promote innovation through public procurement and support economic operators, in particular SMEs and start-ups. 

A specific focus will be on topics related to healthcare, environmental sustainability and energy efficiency, mobility and transport issues, digital transformation and modernisation of public services.


The specific objectives of this call for proposals are:

▪️ Demonstrating the relevance and effectiveness of the method developed as part of the InnoBroker 1 pilot project (funded under the COSME Work Programme 2017) and, if necessary, improving it by exploring other ways of cooperation; 

▪️ Making the cooperation model sustainable in order to develop the role of these innovation procurement brokers in accelerating the roll-out of public procurement for innovation in Europe; 

▪️ Developing and strengthen adequate links between public administrations, ecosystem of innovation and the private sector to exploit the purchasing potential of public buyers;

▪️ Supporting the growth and development of innovative SMEs and start-ups by making it easier for them to address public demand through participation in public procurement of innovation and by creating a business-friendly environment by reducing the administrative burden on SMEs;

▪️ Ensuring the European dimension of the solutions to be brokered.

Types of Activities

Beneficiaries are expected to broker a small number of public procurements of innovative products or service and to put in place the following activities:

▪️ Fine-tuning the role and tasks of the Innovation Procurement Broker;

▪️ Creating, promoting and managing a network of public buyers and players in the European innovation ecosystem;

▪️ Advising public buyers on the definition of their actual procurement needs;

▪️ Identifying innovative products or services that tackle actual needs of the public buyers;

▪️ Strengthening knowledge sharing on funding opportunities, technological and commercial aspects between all stakeholders.

▪️ Moreover, applicants are free to propose additional activities if duly justified and in line with the objectives of this call for proposals.

General expected results

The expected results of this action are to demonstrate the effectiveness of the first Innovation Procurement Broker experience (InnoBroker 1) and its possible improvements to ensure a better inclusion of the innovation ecosystem players, particularly SMEs and start-ups, in innovation purchasing projects.
Proposals are expected to achieve the following general results: 

  1. Enhancing cooperation between public and private stakeholders on public procurement of innovation.
  2. Increasing the number of projects for the purchase of innovative solutions.
  3. Improving SMEs and/or start-ups access to public buyers in the countries targeted by project activities.
  4. Further developing the public procurement innovation broker model. 

Eligibility of Applicants

Eligible applicants must be fully or partly public or private bodies. Private bodies must be properly constituted and registered under national law. 

Proposals may be submitted by the following applicants:

  • non-profit organisations (private or public);
  • public authorities and their networks or associations (at European, national, regional or local level);
  • international organisations;
  • universities or educational institutions;
  • research centres;
  • private and profit making entities;
  • chambers of commerce and industry.

Natural persons are not eligible.
Linked third parties, i.e. legal entities having a legal or capital link with applicants, which is neither limited to the action nor established for the sole purpose of its implementation (also referred to as ‘affiliated entities’), may take part in the action as applicants in order to declare eligible costs.

Only applications from legal entities duly established in the following countries are eligible: 

  • EU Member States;
  • Countries participating in the COSME programme pursuant to Article 6 of the COSME Regulation.
British applicants 
Following the entry into force of the EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement on 1 February 2020 and in particular Articles 127(6), 137 and 138, the references to natural or legal persons residing or established in a Member State of the European Union are to be understood as including natural or legal persons residing or established in the United Kingdom. UK entities are therefore eligible. 

Eligible Consortia

In order to be eligible, a proposal must be submitted by a consortium composed of:

  • At least 3 legal entities (members/partners) and a maximum of 6 legal entities (members/partners); 
  • Members/partners must come from at least 3 different eligible countries.

Submission of Proposals

The deadline for electronic submission is 25 February 2021, 17:00 hours (Brussels time).
Please refer to the Call for Proposals and to the Guide for Applicants before commencing the electronic submission.
The link to the submission system is available on the Funding and Tenders Portal.


Potential applicants should address questions related to the content of this call by e-mail to

Only questions sent to this functional mailbox will be answered. Answers will be published on a regular basis on this webpage. Last questions to be answered are those, which will be submitted at least 7 days prior to the closing date of this call.

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