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19 July 2022

The role of innovation procurement in the New European Innovation Agenda

The New European Innovation Agenda, published this month by the European Commission, envisions a key role for innovation procurement. Citing EU-wide benchmarking, it notes that in order to modernise public services and boost the EU’s industrial competitiveness, the investments in innovation procurement need to be doubled. Furthermore, EU member states need to develop national strategies with policies that foster innovation procurement. Currently only one third of the member states have developed such strategies, while the same can be said for 81% of OECD countries.

To help member states and public buyers become more innovative, the European Commission will support the formation of an innovation procurement specialist advisory service. This will act as an intermediary between public procurers and innovative suppliers. The Commission will also support the creation of living labs and incubators for example, to connect innovators and public administrators to provide innovative solutions in areas of public need.

Additionally, the Commission will update its EU wide benchmarking of national policy frameworks and investments on innovation procurement in Europe and assess take up of the innovation partnership procedure within the procurement directive of 2014 alongside that on pre-commercial procurements, which fall outside of the procurement directives and international procurement agreements.

Finally, the Commission will in 2023 issue a guidance document that will clarify relevant use cases, regulatory sandboxes, test beds and livings labs to support policymakers and innovators willing to experiment. This document should contribute to the development of experimentation spaces, which could facilitate the deployment of disruptive technologies.

The New European Innovation Agenda, adopted on 5 July 2022, aims to position the EU at the forefront of the new wave of deep tech innovation and start-ups, and to help with the development of new technologies to address the most pressing societal challenges. To read more about the New European Innovation Agenda and its vision, click here.