Since 2009, the European Commission has launched calls inviting the submission of project proposals in the area of public procurement of innovative solutions. Such calls are intended to encourage public institutions to direct their buying process towards innovative products and services.
There are three funding instruments:
- Coordination and Support Actions (CSA) are network projects in which international groups of buyers from the public sector explore which innovations might fit their requirements. These projects are flanked by market research and consultations in order to identify the state of the art for innovative products or solutions.
EU funding amounts to 100 % of the eligible costs.
- Pre-Commercial Procurement (PCP) projects target the development of solutions or products not yet available on the market. In a PCP project, the international buyers group issues a call for tender for a three-stage research project (feasibility study, prototype development and prototype testing). Enterprises can deliver needs-based and demand-oriented R&D services.
EU funding amounts to 90 % of the cost of the development work.
- The third funding instrument is the subsequent Public Procurement of Innovative Solutions (PPI) project.
EU funding amounts to 35 % of the purchase cost for the innovative product or solution.
Applications can be submitted one after the other for the three instruments, provided that suitable calls have been announced. However, this is not mandatory.
These are collaborative projects in which European consortia comprising public sector buyers work together on a solution with European added value.