Horizon Europe

The European Commission has published the Horizon Europe work programmes for 2021 and 2022. They also contain calls for tenders for procurers. The individual calls can be viewed on the Commission's Funding and Tenders Portal.

Here you will find information from the European Commission on submitting and evaluating as well as on the funding conditions.

Guidance on Innovation Procureme

The European Commission has released new guidance for European contracting authorities on the fundamental aspects of innovation procurement. Adopted in the context of the Communication on “A renewed European Agenda for Research and Innovation –Europe’s chance to shape its technological leadership” and the input to the Leaders’ informaldinner in Sofia on 16 May 2018, this guidance is updated following the adoption of the European SMEs and Industrial Strategies1and of the Recovery and Resilience Facility. It aims to support public buyers so that they can contribute better to the economic recovery, the twin green and digital transition and to the resilience of the EU.

Public Procurement in Healthcare Systems

A European expert group led by Prof. Jan De Maeseneer (Belgium) has prepared a document entitled "Public Procurement in Healthcare Systems" for the European Commission, DG Health & Food Safety, on the topic of "effective ways to invest in health".

Every year, more than 250,000 public authorities in the EU spend about 14% of GDP (about €2 trillion) on the purchase of services, works and supplies. Many of these are in the health sector, an area where the public sector is the main procurer in many countries. When these procurements exceed certain thresholds, EU public procurement rules apply. With rising healthcare costs across the EU, public procurement is increasingly being promoted as a tool to increase efficiency as well as contribute to better health outcomes. The Public Procurement Directives 2014/24/EU "on public procurement and repealing Directive 2004/18/EC" and 2014/23/EU "on the award of concession contracts" provide an EU framework for public procurement in the EU. Its core principles are transparency, equal treatment and non-discrimination. Against this backdrop, the expert panel was asked by the European Commission to examine the challenges faced in public procurement and possible solutions to these challenges in the health sector. The experts looked at tendering for medicines, health technology and e-health. In each of these areas, they have identified a number of challenges related to the complexity of the procurement process, power imbalances on both sides of the transactions, and the role of procurement in advancing broader policy goals. The expert group recommends a number of actions to strengthen the procurement process, emphasising the importance of using procurement to advance health system objectives and, in particular, the interests of patients; to advance broader social, economic and environmental public policy objectives; and to build capacity within organisations involved in public procurement to ensure they have the necessary skills and expertise. A further three recommendations relate to specific issues and emphasise the need to strengthen anti-corruption measures at all stages of public health procurement, improve public procurement in emergencies and promote collaborative procurement where appropriate.

European Innovation Procurement Award

The European Innovation Council (EIC) has launched the first edition of the European Innovation Procurement Awards. The prize rewards public and private buyers in their effort to promote procurement of innovation and thus help SMEs and start-ups across Europe to bring their innovative products and services to the markets. Deadline for application 29 July 2021.

The 2021 edition features three categories:

  • “Innovation procurement strategy” award, which rewards long-term strategies that trigger different innovation procurements, sustainable solutions and practices;
  • “Facing societal challenges” award that rewards innovative procurement practise aimed to face the COVID-19 pandemic;
  • “Procurement leadership” award that recognises outstanding individual(s) who empower(s) their team to succeed and trigger innovation procurement practices.

Final report available - Benchmarking of innovation procurement investments and policy frameworks across Europe

Want to know how much the public sector in your country invests in adopting innovations and in which sectors they invest most (health, ICT…)? Keen to find out if your country has an action plan, target, financial incentives and a competence centre for innovation procurement? Check out the results of the EU wide benchmarking of national policy frameworks and investments on innovation procurement across Europe. Now available: Final report, executive summary, country profiles of all 30 benchmarked countries as well as presentations and video of the final workshop that presented the results.

EU countries commit to leading the green digital transformation

24 Member States and Norway and Iceland have signed a declaration to accelerate the use of green digital technologies for the benefit of the environment. They will deploy and invest more green digital technologies to achieve climate neutrality and accelerate the green and digital transitions in priority sectors in Europe, for example by using the NextGenerationEU and InvestEU funds.

New EU competency framework for digital, innovative and green public procurement

ProcurCompEU, the EU's new competency framework for the professionalisation of public procurement reinforces the strategic role of public procurement for modernizing public services with innovations, for digital transformation and sustainable growth. By defining 30 key competences, including for innovation procurement, it provides a common reference for professionalisation across the EU. It encourages public buyers to develop skills on pre-commercial procurement and public procurement of innovative solutions and to position ICT as strategic sector for economic growth.

Records of EU events

The European Commission's Directorate-General GROW provided information on the Innovation Partnership method in a seminar series. The aim of the European Commission is to promote the demand for innovative goods, services and work in Europe. In this context, innovative procurement is seen as a key to bring innovations to the market.


The European Commission’s European Research & Innovation Days on 23 and 24 June 2021 focused on the implementation of Horizon Europe and measures to strengthen the European Research Area. Watch the video


Online seminar Workshop presenting results of the European wide benchmarking of innovation procurement investments and policy frameworks on 12 October 2020: The European Commission informed how much the public sector in different EU countries invests in the implementation of innovative solutions and in which sectors (e.g. health, transport, energy, security, ICT). In addition, existing National Action Plans and other measures to promote innovative procurement were presented.


European Week of Regions and Cities from 5 to 22 October 2020: The lecture programme covered the topics Empowering Citizens, Cohesion & Cooperation and Green Europe. These presentations focused on public procurement.

Presentation of European innovation procurement projects

The EU provides funding for the development of products that are not yet available on the market. The instruments Pre-Commercial Procurement (PCP) and Public Procurement of Innovative Solutions (PPI) are used. To give examples on how the projects can be structured and which products could be developed, the EU Contact Point for Public Procurement of Innovative Solutions presents the following projects in more detail: 

The European Commission has also updated its brochure Innovation Procurement - The power of the public purse. This presents EU-funded procurement projects that addressing ICT-based solutions. They cover areas such as health, transport, climate change, energy, security, education and public administration.

Challenges from Austria

The IÖB service point regularly publishes challenges to bring together public institutions and companies with innovative offers.  The current challenges can be found here.

Updated guidelines: procurement in relation to COVID crisis

The European Commission has released new guidance for public buyers to help public authorities use the flexibility provided by the EU’s public procurement framework to ensure rapid and efficient purchases of all necessary equipment. The possibilities range from considerably shortening the public procurement process to emergency procurement that is not subject to EU procedural requirements and does not require the prior publication of tender notices. The guidance also recommends that public buyers consider alternative innovative solutions and ways of engaging with the market.

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