Innovation procurement opportunities explored at Prague workshop

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03 May 2019
Innovation procurement offers interesting opportunities for EGNSS applications.
Innovation procurement offers interesting opportunities for EGNSS applications.

Innovation procurement can deliver solutions to public interest challenges and may be an interesting new instrument for European GNSS (EGNSS). To explore these opportunities, the European GNSS Agency (GSA) hosted the “EGNSS Innovation procurement opportunities within Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe” workshop at its Prague headquarters on 11 April 2019.

The workshop was held as part of the European Commission project “Analysis to define the potential use of Innovation Procurement (PCP/PPI) within Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe EGNSS market uptake calls”. It gave the participants an opportunity to learn about innovation procurement instruments; share their views on EGNSS R&D and the pilot pre-commercial procurement call for EGNSS planned for October 2019; and learn about the rules and conditions for participation in European Commission-funded projects to resolve public challenges.

Integrated approach

Welcoming the participants, GSA Head of Market Development Fiammetta Diani said that to support EGNSS market uptake, the GSA adopts an integrated approach built on market and user knowledge, support for market demand, and the creation of offers through new products and services.

She said that research and development programmes currently address needs all along the value chain, from navigation service provision to the end user, but that new downstream R&D funding tools would be needed after 2020 as the market and Galileo will change.

Read this: GSA presents EGNSS opportunities in aviation

“It will be necessary to significantly increase the budget of Horizon Europe compared to Horizon 2020 in order to complete market uptake in longer-term regulated segments. An increased budget will also be needed to position Galileo as a leader in market segments where its differentiators make an impact, and to support the export potential of EU industry,” Diani said.

She added that new funding tools would be required to cope with new needs. “A lot has been achieved thanks to current R&D initiatives, but now it is time to move forward and prepare the background for Horizon Europe and the EU Space Programme.”

Solutions adapted to public sector needs

Tina Mede, from the European Commission’s Directorate General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG GROW) highlighted some of the reasons why innovation procurement is important. She explained that Pre-Commercial Procurement (PCP) is used when there are no near-to-market solutions available and more R&D is required, while Public Procurement of Innovative solutions (PPI) is used when these solutions are almost ready or partially available on the market.

Mede stressed that the public sector is an important user of EGNSS applications and that, through pre-commercial procurement, EGNSS applications can be adapted to the specific needs of public authorities. She said that suppliers are also interested in the public sector as a ‘first customer’ for innovative EGNSS products.

Mede cited recommendations from the last Galileo User Consultation Platform, held during European Space Week in Marseille in December, which called for the use of innovative procurement schemes to be strengthened in order to stimulate the demand-side of innovation.

Regarding the 5th EGNSS call - Pilot on Pre-commercial Procurement of EGNSS applications for public authorities, planned for October this year, Mede said that this call aimed to launch demand-driven innovation actions by public authorities. Among promising applications, she mentioned Mobility as a Service (MaaS), cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems, helicopter emergency medical services, EGNSS to support port operations, among other applications.

Solutions addressing concrete needs

Marco Bolschi, Principal Consultant at VVA, highlighted some of the main results of the European Commission’s PCP/PPI analysis. He said that procurers should be innovation-oriented and enthusiastic about cross-border cooperation. Furthermore, they should have a concrete need and the investment should be worthwhile in terms of operational and public benefits.

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Bolschi highlighted some examples of promising applications for a potential PCP project, as revealed by the analysis. These include public safety applications, such as civil drones for emergency response; GNSS-based earthquake early warning systems; and the modernisation of Professional Mobile Radio (PMR) with improved performance in terms of position refresh rate, accuracy and battery life.

In the maritime and inland waterways sector, PCP can be used to improve port management through smart port systems and to secure the use of EGNOS corrections in IALA beacons and Automatic Identification System base stations.

Selected recommendations

The analysis also generated some recommendations for public procurers, who should start with defining a shared EGNSS-related need and inform themselves of any relevant legislation, standards, IPR and certification in the particular EGNSS area of application. Focusing the scope of the application will also help shape a manageable project.

Procurers should inform themselves – the more they learn about the state-of-the-art of the offer, the more effective the procurement will be. Finally, communication is particularly important – both with other procurers and with potential suppliers.

Meade noted some of the work still to be concluded as part of the PCP/PPI analysis, including a review of the impact of PCP/PPI implementation in other R&D activities, an analysis of interesting EGNSS applications for the introduction of PCP/PPI, and mapping the needs of relevant public institutions.

It is also planned to draft recommendations for an EGNSS innovation procurement implementation strategy using a number of pilot cases, and to organise a workshop with interested stakeholders to raise awareness.

To learn more and view the sessions' presentations, click here.

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Updated: May 09, 2019