Pre-commercial public procurement - April 05, 2012
For additional information:
The European House - Ambrosetti has developed a leadership position within the specific area of pre-commercial public procurement, having followed the definition of the European model from its inception and through analyzing European best practices; it was also involved in drawing up the Italian approach for the Italian Government and has assisted major public sector entities for the concrete implementation of innovation procurement strategies (as concrete evidenced by the technical dialogue activated from Lombardia Region for the launch of a pre-commercial procurement in the health techological domain).
In light of the growing need for innovation to effectively respond to the new challenges the public sector is called upon to face, and given the impossibility of generating a critical mass capable of sustaining innovative performance through structural financing of research alone, we can no longer put off adopting broad-based, low resource-intensive initiatives and means, by which is meant those that utilize current resources already available to provide public services.
On a EU-wide level, it has been known for some time that there exists an opportunity to meet public demand that has not yet been exploited in Europe, and which must be protected urgently with widespread action aimed at promoting acceptance for innovative products and services in sectors such as energy, healthcare, transport and safety, in which the public sector is the primary procurer.
The primary line of action identified as being a priority by the European Commission is the introduction of pre-commercial public procurement.
By “pre-commercial procurement” is meant a specific approach to awarding R&D contracts based on the sharing of risks and benefits between the public procurement body and companies, on the basis of which a given number of economic operators develop in a parallel and concurrent way innovative solutions (not currently available on the market), starting from initial concept up to the production of limited quantities of products and services in the form of prototype series capable of meeting the needs and challenges posed by the procuring bodies.
This approach allows the public sector to filter the technological risk before committing itself to purchasing on a mass scale by putting up front testing of alternative solutions (within an actual operational context) in order to evaluate the advantages, disadvantages and costs in terms of the whole life cost, as well as conformity with quality and safety requirements for the sector involved.
By anticipating the involvement of the market, this approach also offers companies the possibility of developing products that are better and meet the needs of the public sector thanks to enhanced understanding of the demand, while reducing the time required for innovative solutions to reach the market and promoting involvement of new players and SMEs.