Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Novel water approaches to unlock the EU water sector’s innovation potential

An EU initiative introduced new methods and tools via public procurement in order to accelerate the development and deployment of innovative water solutions.
Novel water approaches to unlock the EU water sector’s innovation potential
Public procurement represents about 19 % of the EU’s gross domestic product, an important lead market for innovators particularly in the water sector. However, procurement of innovative water-related services and technologies is often underexploited in the public sector due to fragmentation.

To overcome such barriers, the EU-funded project WATERPIPP (Water public innovative procurement policies) developed methods and tools enabling the uptake of innovation in public procurement procedures.

Work began by mapping innovation-oriented public procurement (IOPP) initiatives developed by Member States and selected Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries. Results fed into a strategic paper on IOPP implementation in the water sector. It identifies the pros and cons, good practices and bottlenecks of innovative procurement practices in the EU and in OECD countries.

Project partners proceeded to define, adapt and validate 15 recommendations for IOPP targeting EU policymakers and procurers. A water innovation procurement forum was set up to gather key players in the innovation procurement chain.

The WATERPIPP team delivered a set of tools to assist key stakeholders in obtaining the knowledge and know-how needed to put IOPP into practice. How-to guides for implementation of IOPP procedures, e-learning modules and accompanying webinars and a toolbox for IOPP awareness-raising were published in English, French, Italian and Spanish.

Coaching and training provided relevant stakeholders with needed information on innovative procurement, and made public procurers more confident in undertaking pre-commercial procurement and public procurement of innovation initiatives. They also contributed to identifying, selecting, prioritising and preparing viable procurements, giving support and related training to procurers, and sharing best practices from other sectors.

WATERPIPP outcomes will help to empower public procurement for innovation in the EU. This should lead to investments and deliver solutions needed by the public sector to face water challenges. Accelerating the uptake of solutions will also create market opportunities for water innovation.

Related information


Water sector, public procurement, WATERPIPP, innovation-oriented public procurement
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