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Pre-commercial research and innovation procurement (PCP) for building the resilience of health care systems in the context of recovery

Pre-commercial procurement (PCP) can boost innovation in health care systems, while building the capacity of providers and increasing resilience and preparedness in the context of cross-border public health emergencies. Through the competitive development of a range of breakthrough innovations for a concrete health care challenge, PCP can strengthen the security of the supply chain in the health care sector. At the same time, these instruments can support the economic recovery of the EU by providing incentives to the EU health and technology industry (especially spin-offs, start-ups and SMEs) to innovate and commercialise their products or services at a larger scale than they normally would. Fostering the development of such innovative solutions in Europe can reinforce EU strategic autonomy in strategic health technologies and lead to the creation of new markets for the EU industry, thereby contributing to EU growth, employment and competitiveness. At the same time, joint/collaborative demand-side initiatives can help create economies of scale and early adoption of innovations by the health sector. Advances in this area can help EU health care systems build resilience and respond to public health threats better than if they would act individually.

Pre-commercial procurement actions in the area of health care gather relevant public and private procurers to address a common, unmet need through the cross-border public and private procurement of research and development for demand-driven innovative solutions. Specific guidance on PCP actions and minimum eligibility requirements can be found in General Annex H[[Link not yet available.]] of the Horizon Europe work programme.

Proposals should therefore be based on clearly identified user needs and well-structured work plans, explaining how the procured research and development will contribute to the expected outcomes. In addition, proposals should clearly state the expected health benefits of the solutions that will be developed during the course of the action. In this context, applicants should also consider aspects of accessibility and affordability of the solution, efficiency of the technology when implemented in the relevant contexts and how it contributes to health systems resilience.

This topic prioritises areas of health care such as health promotion, preparedness, prevention, surveillance and rapid response to cross-border health threats. Promoting coordination, cooperation and common standards in the procurement of innovation in health care (including emergency procurement) should be at the heart of any proposal submitted as well as facilitating the digital and green transition of EU health systems.

A wide variety of settings are potentially relevant for the implementation of such innovative solutions, such as: primary health care settings, ambulatory care, hospitals, specialised centres, and long-term health care facilities. The involvement of end-users and the use of cross-sectorial approaches are essential in the area of health. They can lead to more impactful proposals, especially if combined with cost-effectiveness/cost-benefit analyses in comparison with the status quo.

Within this topic, it is possible to provide for the transfer and adaptation of solutions and/or interventions from other sectors to health care. It is open both to proposals requiring: i) improvements mainly based on one specific solution/technology field; and ii) end-to-end solutions that need combinations of different types of innovation.

Proposals should demonstrate the potential and any future plans for the sustainability of good practices developed or implemented during the action, beyond its life. Such good practices could include cooperation with policy makers to reinforce relevant national policy frameworks, relevant actions to improve the skills of health professionals, patients or carers in the use of the solutions and collaboration with stakeholders for standardisation purposes or in order to leverage additional national funds or private investment for procuring solutions.

Synergies with the Technical Support Instrument[[Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council of 28 May 2020 on the establishment of the Technical Support Instrument, COM(2020) 409 final.]] and the European Structural and Investment Fund are encouraged.