On 18 June 2021, the European Commission released a new guidance for European contracting authorities on the fundamental aspects of innovation procurement: why it is important, who may be interested in it, and how this process can be implemented.
This updated guidance clarifies the concept of innovation procurement and gives concrete examples and practical tools for public buyers to implement procurement strategies that are open to innovators and to help them acquire the new solutions the market can provide. The guidance has been updated to consider and build upon the experience gained through past implementation of innovation procurement.
The guidance’s main changes concern the preliminary market consultation, connection to the innovation ecosystem, intellectual property rights, the Innovation Partnership, and state aid. It will help public buyers navigate the new provisions of the 2014 EU directives on public procurement, as it illustrates how to open up public procurement to innovators, including start-ups and innovative small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). It also describes how public procurement procedures can help modernise public services with innovative solutions, and how they can generate economic growth and create jobs. The guidance includes technical advice, especially with regard to the management of intellectual property rights (IPR).