In the last decade contracting authorities have decided to invest more money in developing and buying innovative products and services in order to respond to the more and more complex challenges and also to boost innovation. The main procedures in this respect are Pre-commercial procurement (PCP) & Public procurement of innovation (PPI).
PCP comes before PPI in the innovation chain and in this phase the product or service is further away from the market so there is still quite a bit of R&D to do. In PCP the public buyer will work together with several suppliers to find the best possible solution and generally it consists of three phases. The first phase is the design of the solution followed by the prototype development and finally the first small batch will be tested and made ready for the market.
PPI comes into the picture when the solution is almost on the market or already on the market in small quantities but not yet ready for large deployment of the solution. In quantified terms it means the public contractor must be an early adopter or one of the first 20% buyers to enter the market.
PCP & PPI in Horizon Europe
As investments in innovative procurement are generally lower than other parts of the world, the European Commission has set up an ambitious PPI/PCP strategy spread out over different EU programmes. One of the programmes involved is Horizon Europe.
In Horizon Europe, the funding rates for PCP calls and related activities is maximum 100% while for PPI calls this is 50%. It is worth noting that the general EU public procurement directives do not apply to the PCP procedure so there is more freedom for both the supplier as the public buyer. For PPI calls stricter rules are in place as they are closer to the market.
There are five dedicated PCP/PPI open calls for proposals in the work programmes 21-22 of Horizon Europe:
- HORIZON-HLTH-2022-CARE-08-02: Pre-commercial research and innovation procurement (PCP) for building the resilience of health care systems in the context of recovery
- HORIZON-HLTH-2022-CARE-08-03: Public procurement of innovative solutions (PPI) for building the resilience of health care systems in the context of recovery
- HORIZON-CL3-2021-SSRI-01-04: Demand-led innovation for situation awareness in civil protection
- HORIZON-CL4-2021-RESILIENCE-02-01-PCP: Boosting green economic recovery and strategic autonomy in Strategic Digital Technologies through pre-commercial procurement (PCP action)
- HORIZON-CL4-2022-SPACE-02-52: Public sector as Galileo and/or Copernicus user
If you want more information on this topic, you can also watch the webinar about PCP/PPI in Horizon Europe on Youtube and you can also visit the dedicated webpage.
In Flanders there is a linked PCP/PPI programma called “Innovatief Aanbesteden” which tries to link up with these calls and can give you more general advice on how to approach a PCP/PPI call. You can contact their director by mail email@example.com