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COSME – Co-financing of public procurement of innovation consortia – 2021

Grants for projects aimed at boosting the competitiveness of companies and SMEs.

5 million euro

Appeal framework

Institution European Commission
Regions European Union

States members of the European union

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Priorities and funded actions

*This call for proposals falls within the second COSME objective, as it intends to improve SMEs’ access to markets inside the Union.
*In particular, this call for proposals is expected to contribute to a significant increase in the proportion of SMEs that have access to the public procurement market. In parallel, it will also contribute to increase the visibility and awareness of the advantages of procuring innovation for a constantly increasing greater number of public buyers.

Priority 1: The first objective is to encourage cooperation between public buyers to promote the use of public procurement to contribute to the development of innovative solutions able to tackle their needs.
Priority 2: The second objective is to increase the impact of public procurement on innovation. Public procurement can be used as a tool to foster innovation in areas of strong public interest such as, for instance, clean energy (contributing to Paris targets for fighting climate change) or healthcare. This will in turn encourage innovative EU companies, in particular SMEs, to develop new solutions to address societal challenges.
Priority 3: The third objective is to link and establish synergies with research and innovation projects funded by the EU whenever possible. This may be relevant in particular with other projects funded by the Commission in relation to innovation procurement, for instance the two ongoing projects funded under the call for proposals under the 2018 COSME Work Programme namesake of the current call for proposals (COS-PPI-2018-2-01, ref. GRO-SME-18-B-07) and the so-called Innobroker projects financed under the COSME programme. For this objective, consortia are invited to take into consideration also other EU initiatives on PPI13 to avoid repeating the same activities and to maximise the impact of their projects.

Among financed actions
* Assessment of the public buyers’ needs. It is essential that projects define a preparatory phase to clearly identify, prioritise and develop the client’s needs. Projects must engage in early discussions with immediate users (and possibly end-users) and others that may be affected by the proposed investment. Public buyers shall also determine the state-of-the-art of potentially available solutions by developing thorough “market consultations” involving the supply chain, accompanied by an announcement which may published in English via a Prior Information Notice in the Official Journal of the European Union14. In addition, they shall develop common or joint specifications for the procurement of innovative solutions within the consortium. Specifications shall not give any advantage to any technological or nontechnological solution and shall use functional/performance-based requirements instead of solution prescriptive specifications.
* Market consultation supporting dialogue with potential contractors to assess the state-ofthe-art and technological limitations for potential innovative solutions and carrying out wideranging market research to come to a better view on the state-of-the art and identify the companies working in the field. This procedure typically involves desk research with targeted expert discussions and events bringing together buyers with leading suppliers with the aim of better understanding buyers’ needs and the state-of-the-art.
* Engaging the market jointly, giving to the market signals concerning the size of the procurement in order to trigger the interest of providers. In addition, public buyers shall provide information on when the procurement is expected to take place, the description of the identified needs and what solution is expected to be procured. The communication and dissemination activities designed and implemented by the projects will need to address this task.
* Capacity Building and Coordination between public buyers including trainings, exchanges, secondment of personnel and other similar practices.
* Developing the specifications: assisting contracting authorities to articulate their needs in a way that ensures the best response from potential contractors.
* Preparation and implementation of the tendering procedure, covering the following steps:
– Design of the tender bearing in mind the specificity of cross-border procurement, if applicable. Legal expertise (internal or external) is important at this stage.
– Definition of award criteria.
– Publication of the call for tenders for innovative solutions in the Official Journal of the European Union at least in English and on the dedicated project website. Publication on other media is encouraged since it will help increase the visibility of the tenders.
– Evaluation of the received offers on the basis of the award criteria and completion of the award procedure.
– Purchase, as launch customers, of the innovative solution on offer.
– Co-ordinate the procurement process at least among the participating public procurement bodies.

Additional information
* This call of proposals is an open call of proposals. 
* Initial duration of the action: From 36 months and 48 months. Applications with different duration might also be considered, provided that the duration is coherent to the objectives of this call for proposals and realistic for the proposed activities.

* Eligibility :
– Be a public authority (national, regional, local);
– Be universities or educational institutions;
– Be research centres;
– Be a profit making entity;



* Amount of the grant: between 2 million and 5 million euro
* Co-financed rate: 90% of eligible costs of cost categories A, B, D, E as defined in section 12.2 of this call for proposals ; 30% of the eligible costs of cost category C as defined in section 12.2 of this call for proposals

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