Modernizing the public sector and boosting economic growth through Innovation Procurement, 26-27 November 2014, Milan, Italy
Europe has an enormous and overlooked opportunity to spur innovation using public procurement.
Public procurement, that accounts for some 19% of GDP in the European Union, represents an enormous potential market for innovative products and services, offering a powerful leverage for the modernization of public sector and for the competitiveness and growth of the European industry.
Moreover, public procurement of R&D services and innovative products and services is vital for improving the quality and efficiency of public services at a time of budget constraints.
Given this large overall volume and the weight of public purchasing in selected sectors, it is important for many European companies (also SMEs) to be able to access public contracts. Smaller companies have been shown to be particularly successful in innovation based predominantly on market‐pull. Even if they are agents in translating technology to new markets and present strengths that lies in their agility and ability to respond to global challenges, SMEs are under-represented in public procurement compared to their overall weight in the economy.
Yet little public procurement in Europe is aimed at innovation, despite the opportunities under the EU Procurement Directives and namely pre-commercial public procurement (PCP) and procurement of innovative solutions (PPI).
This is due to a range of factors, such as: incentives that favour low-risk solutions; lack of knowledge and capabilities regarding the legal and economic basis for innovation procurement; inability to join forces and overcome the fragmentation of public spending; a disconnection between public procurement and policy objectives and a resistance to modernize the policy instruments to promote innovation.
The focus of the "Modernizing the public sector and boosting economic growth through Innovation Procurement" workshop was to addressed how EU policies could gain from working to enhance the demand side and what instruments are actually in the hand of policy maker and public sector to optimize the public spending and, at the same time, to stimulate additional private investments.
The event has offered an opportunity to hear first-hand from front-runner actors (procurers, suppliers) and experts how they are supporting the implementation of Public Procurement of Innovative Solutions (PPI) and Pre-Commercial Procurement (PCP).
From a European perspective, the European Commission presented 2015 calls for proposals and future financial instruments (Horizon 2020, Structural funds 2014-2020) to support the demand for innovation.
Silvana Muscella, Trust-IT Services gave a presentation of the PICSE initiative and of the newly Partner Search facility launched via the PICSE website http://www.picse.eu/partner-search. The event was a great opportunity for PICSE to establish synergies with players belonging to the Public Admnistrations.