International workshop: pre-commercial procurement (PCP) of R&D in Europe – lessons learned

On 7 and 8 December, the Corvers-MSM Chair in Innovation Procurement at Maastricht School of Management will host a challenging workshop in Maastricht to reflect on Europe’s experience in the deployment of Pre-Commercial Procurement (PCP) in order to contribute from a professional and academic perspective to the improvement of the PCP practice.

(Main Photo: a supercomputer at the Forschungszentrum Jülich, WDR/Michael Esser)

PCP “concerns the Research and Development (R&D) phase before commercialisation” and is an approach to procuring R&D for innovation promoted by the European Commission. According to the European Commission (2007)

Procuring R&D is commonly used by companies to gain a first-mover advantage. It could be more widely used in the public sector in Europe to improve efficiency and quality of service. This will typically require the public sector to develop strategies for procurement that are not only limited to the purchase of commercially available products and services but that also include the procurement of R&D of new solutions that can outperform those available on the market…”

The workshop is organised by the Corvers-MSM Chair in co-operation with the Forschungszentrum Jülich (Jülich Research Centre). The Forschungszentrum Jülich is a member of the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres and is one of the most substantial interdisciplinary research centres in Europe. In 2007 one of its scientists, Professor Grünberg, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics.

Corvers Commercial and Legal Affairs, the Corvers-MSM Chair and the Forschungszentrum Jülich have been increasingly involved over the past years on Pre-Commercial Procurement (PCP). The Corvers team has been involved in the last several years in the review of EU-funded PCPs as well as in the legal and commercial support of cross-border and national PCPs. Forschungszentrum Jülich has been involved and/or led the implementation of PCPs that have been co-funded by the European Commission.

Recognizing the contribution that PCP can bring towards breakthrough innovation and improved public services, Corvers Procurement and Forschungszentrum Jülich believe time has come to exchange ideas and share those lessons learnt, in order to enable present and future PCPs to benefit.

This is event is a closed workshop and participation is by invitation only. A summary of results, for public dissemination, will be made available in due course. For further questions please contact Ms. Oana Voda at

About the Chair in Innovation Procurement
The Corvers-MSM Chair in Innovation Procurement was launched in October 2016 at the Maastricht School of Management. The Chair holder is Professor Nicola Dimitri, who is supported by a team of researchers.

The scope of work of the Chair builds up on the strong attention received in recent years by both Public Procurement and Innovation, as two fundamental drivers for growth and development, a point particularly stressed by the recent 2014 EU Public Procurement Directives. Indeed, since for example in the EU innovation procurement through public expenditure counts for about 18% of the GDP, with tight public finances procurements delivery of best value for money has become crucial for the public sector. Moreover, because of its size, innovation procurement is in a best position for promoting innovative solutions to enhance societal growth and welfare. Innovation procurement also plays a role in industrial policy – vital for creating and maintaining a competitively growing economy, and an area of concern in the EC and industrially lagging countries in Africa and Latin America in recent years.

The Corvers-MSM Chair in Innovation Procurement has since it inception been active in generation of a number of publications and public lecturers on the topic (see Moreover, it has created and offers a flexible training programme in innovation procurement that is suitable for open enrollment as well as to be tailored to organizational needs. Recent clients include the Dutch Ministry of Defense.

In this the Chair is deepening the expertise of Corvers Commercial and Legal Affairs,  a leading legal consultancy firm in the Benelux area, specialized in European public procurement law, innovation, IPR and contracting. Corvers is consortium partner for the European Commission’s EAFIP initiative ( on innovation procurement.

Recent publications from the Corvers-MSM Chair in Innovation Procurement
Anne Rainville (2016). Standards in green public procurement – A framework to enhance innovation. Journal of Cleaner Production

Anne Rainville and Ramona Apostol (2017). Capturing Value in Innovation Procurement: A Business Case Methodology. MSM Working Paper No. 2017/02

Anne Rainville, (2017). “From whence the knowledge came: the heterogeneity of innovation procurement across Europe”, In: Journal of Public Procurement, 16( 4):463-504

Anne Rainville, Hawkins, R., & Bergerson, J. (2015). Building consensus in life cycle assessment: the potential for a Canadian product category rules standard to enhance credibility in greenhouse gas emissions estimates for Alberta’s oil sands. Journal of Cleaner Production 103(15), 525-533.

Anne Rainville. (2016). From whence the knowledge came: Heterogeneity of innovation procurement across Europe. Journal of Public Procurement, 16(4), 463-504.

Nicola Dimitri (2011). An Assessment of the Pharmaceutical Industry R&D Productivity, Trends in Pharmacological Sciences, 12: 683-685.

Nicola Dimitri (2012). R&D Investments for Neglected Diseases could be Sensitive to the Economic Goals of Pharmaceutical Companies, Drug Discovery Today, 17: 818-823.

Nicola Dimitri (2013). Best Value for Money in Procurement, The Journal of Public Procurement, 13 (2): 149-175.

Nicola Dimitri and Anne Rainville (2017). The Law and Economics of EU Innovation Procurement. MSM Occasional Paper 2017/01

Nicola Dimitri and Ramona Apostol (2016). Pricing Cloud Computing Services. MSM Working Paper No. 2016/13

Nicola Dimitri and Tünde Tátrai, (2017). “Colloquium”, In: Law and Economics of Public Procurement Reforms, Chapter 2 Joint public procurement

Nicola Dimitri, Francesco Saverio Mennini, Lara Gitto, Francois Lichere, Gustavo Piga, (2017). “Joint procurement and the EU perspective”, In: Law and Economics of Public Procurement Reforms, Chapter 2 Joint public procurement

Nicola Dimitri, Piga, G. and Spagnolo, G. eds. (2006). Handbook of Procurement. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Nicola Dimitri (2014). Managing Porfolio of Licenses. Working Paper No. 2014/40

Nicola Dimitri (2017). The Blockchain Technology. Some Theory and Applications. MSM Working Paper No. 2017/03

Nicola Dimitri (2017). The Economics of the EU Innovation Procurement. MSM Working Paper No. 2017/01

Wim Naudé  and Adam Szirmai and Ludovico Alcorta (eds) (2017). Pathways to Industrialization in the Twenty-First Century: New Challenges and Emerging Paradigms. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Wim Naudé  (2016). Is European Entrepreneurship in Crisis? CESIfo DICE Report 3/2016, pp. 3-7.

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