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Helping the public sector get innovative while saving money

29th March, 2019, Source : Procurement Forum, By Ana Lucia Jaramillo,, EAFIP,, Digital Single Market,


Public organisations in Europe (ministries, local authorities, universities, hospitals, public utility companies etc.) could be buying more and better innovative products and services that are based on Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), thanks to a new three-year EU-funded initiative.

Innovation procurement is a public procurement practice according to which public authorities request businesses to develop or buy innovative products or services that fit these organisations’ specific needs. For example, it could help hospitals use e-health tools allowing doctors to monitor their patients’ condition from a distance; it could allow local authorities to improve traffic management in their region, hence reducing congestion and pollution, improving road safety and using the road network effectively; it could also help cities better manage street lighting to make roads safer and more attractive, while increasing energy efficiency; it could help public administration improve efficiency through the use of cloud solutions. Public Procurement in Europe represents a 19% of GDP in Europe -or around € 2,400 billion a year. Innovation procurement also helps boost smaller, more innovative companies, as it means using public procurement funds to buy products or services also from smaller suppliers who are trying to find new ways of dealing with specific needs.

The European Assistance for Innovation Procurement (EAFIP)initiative will help those in charge of public procurement design and implement processes to access such services.

More specifically:

  • it will provide them with a toolkit to help in the procedure;
  • It will offer training: 9 workshops, each dedicated to a different subject area such as health or transport will be organised across Europe, providing participants with good practice approaches and hands-on support. Events will be announced on this page;
  • It will raise awareness around public procurement of ICT solutions through 3 EU-wide events, where new ideas and initiatives for EU-wide cooperation on public procurement will be discussed.

Interested procurers can already find selection criteria and express their interest to receive assistance here.

EU-funded innovation procurement projects are already helping public organisations solve problems with the help of ICTs. According to the first results, these public organisations are already buying  R&D solutions 50% cheaper than they would have to pay otherwise; they are already creating jobs at home by encouraging 100% of the solution to be developed in Europe; and they are already opening up opportunities for innovative companies to sell across borders (3 times more contracts than normal are awarded to companies from another EU country).


The European Assistance for Innovation Procurement initiative ( seeks to receive applications from public procurers of all EU Member States to support the implementation of Pre-Commercial Procurement (PCP) and Procurement of Innovative Solution (PPI).

During 2019, at least 3 new innovation procurements of ICT based solutions will be selected to benefit from technical and/or legal local assistance free of charge.

Priority will be given to those innovation procurements of high impact ICT solutions such as Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence and Cybersecurity.

The EAFIP also welcomes innovation procurements (PCP and PPI) under national digital/ICT strategies.

Apply for assistance here:


Who can benefit from Assistance under the eafip initiative?

All public procurers from EU member states are eligible to apply for assistance.

The public procurers to receive this assistance are chosen through a transparent selection procedure against the following four criteria:

  1. Concrete interest / commitment in starting a PCP/PPI project and maturity of the business case
    (business case means the business case for the public procurer, i.e. the cost/benefit analysis that justifies the procurer’s investment in the innovation procurement)
  2. Potential impact of the PCP/PPI procurement, with priority to high impact ICT solutions (e.g. Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence and Cybersecurity) and innovation procurements under national digital/ICT strategies.
  3. Geographical balance of the cases to be assisted across the EU member states.
  4. Lack of experience and existence of prior cases in the implementation of PCP/PPI under the legal system of the country in question.

The selection of the procurers to receive assistance is carried out together with the European Commission Services on the basis of interest shown via the online questionnaire. All expressions of interest received via the questionnaire are assessed according to the above criteria, based on the information provided in the questionnaire, and any additional information the European Commission may have decided to request.

The European Commission can decide to support additional cases if there is a high level of interest from eligible applicants.

Please note that projects that receive EU funding for the costs related to the preparation and/or management of an innovation procurement (e.g. from Horizon 2020 or ESIF programmes) are not eligible for eafip assistance for activities that are eligible costs under the EU funding they already receive.

Nor does the eafip initiative provide assistance in the formulation/preparation of proposals/offers for Horizon 2020 calls.

What does Assistance under the eafip initiative comprise?

eafip provides local assistance to selected public procurers in the preparation and implementation of a PCP or PPI procurement, covering:

  • Scoping an identified procurement need that can be tackled with innovative solutions
  • Preparing and conducting an EU wide published open market consultation
  • Drafting tendering documents
  • Launching an EU wide published call for tender
  • Answering questions from potential tenderers at any time during the process
  • Signature of contracts with selected vendor(s), taking into account the relevant provisions under European and national legislation governing public procurement.

The exact scope and content of the assistance to be provided to the selected procurers is determined on a case-by-case basis, in coordination with the European Commission services. Assistance includes one-to-one meetings, support by email, hands-on guidance and individual support (including legal support) to prepare and implement a PCP or a PPI procurement. The assistance provided within the eafip initiative does not consist of financial support for activities carried out by the procurer.

Each project selected for assistance benefits from a total of 5 man-days expert assistance that are provided free of charge to the procurer by eafip and that are evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Local assistance is provided in the local language of the procurer through the eafip network of experts established across all the EU Member States under the coordination of Corvers. The network of legal experts consists of members located across all the EU Member States. A complete list of these legal experts is available here.





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