Pre-Commercial Procurement (PCP) challenges the industry from the demand side to develop innovative solutions for public sector needs and provides a first customer reference which enables companies to create competitive advantage in the market. PCP enables public procurers to compare alternative potential solution approaches and filter out the best possible solutions the market can deliver in order to address the public need. More specifically, in Pre-Commercial Procurement (PCP):
1. The scope is R&D services only: R&D can cover activities such as solution exploration,design and prototyping, up to the original development with a limited volume of first products or services in the form of a test series (see Figure 1).
2. The application of risk-benefit sharing: The public purchaser does not reserve the R&D results exclusively for their own use: Public authorities and the industry share the risks and benefits of the R&D which is necessary in order to develop new innovative solutions that outperform those available in the market.
3. A competitive procurement designed to exclude State aid: Organising the risk-benefit sharing and the entire procurement process in a manner ensuring maximum competition, transparency, openness, fairness and pricing at market conditions, therefore enabling the public purchaser to identify the best possible solutions the market can offer.
MARINE-EO follows the basic PCP concept and approach while adopting the typical product innovation life cycle:
PCP Phase 0 (January 2017 – May 2018):
- The participating public procurers of the R&D services, with the support of Technical Advisor partners, should agree on common requirements and performance levels for the two Copernicus thematic and geographical areas covered by the project by preparing the tender documents, evaluation procedures and criteria. li>
- The Consortium will define the verification and validation strategy for the evaluation of the results achieved by each participating tenderer in each PCP Phase.
- The Consortium will organize an ‘open market consultation’ to be published — two months in advance — in the Official Journal of the European Union (via a ‘prior information notice’ (PIN), drawn up in English and any additional language(s) chosen by the buyers group) in order to develop awareness on the target industry regarding the tender to be launched and to collect insights on industry expectations and skills which can be used to perfect the tender specifications.
- The results of Phase 0 leads to the call for tenders, proposal submissions from the bidders, evaluation of proposals and last to the selection of a group of bidders to be contracted in order to participate in the subsequent phase.
PCP Phase 1 (June 2018 – October 2018, 5 months including 1 month for evaluation):
- During PCP Phase 1 the R&D providers will start solution design and verify the technical, economic and organizational feasibility of their solution approach to address the PCP challenge.
- On completion of PCP Phase 1, the R&D providers will each deliver End of Phase 1 deliverables requested by the procurers (e.g. copies of designs, drawings, calculations, plans, list of IPRs generated/used etc.) and an End of Phase 1 report, describing the performed activities and the obtained Phase 1 results as well as a business/commercialisation plan.
- For PCP Phase 1 payment purposes, the Phase 1 performance assessment committee will assess whether the results delivered by the R&D providers are satisfactory; the committee will also assess which R&D providers achieved successful completion of Phase 1 (solution meeting the expected quality/cost requirements).
PCP Phase 2 (November 2018 – July 2019, 9 months including 1 month for evaluation):
- During PCP Phase 2, the winning R&D providers will develop a prototype and will test this in lab conditions (lab of the R&D provider or procurer, as chosen by the procurer).
- On completion of Phase 2, the R&D providers will deliver End of Phase 2 deliverables requested by the procurer (e.g. software code of simulations, data lists, updated list of IPRs generated/used etc.) and an End of Phase 2 report, describing the performed activities and Phase 2 results (e.g. product specification, tested prototype, production plan and an updated business / commercialisation plan).
- For PCP Phase 2 payment purposes, the Phase 2 performance assessment committee will assess whether the results of the R&D providers are satisfactory; the committee will also assess which R&D providers achieved successful completion of PCP Phase 2 (solution meeting the expected quality/cost requirements).
PCP Phase 3 (August 2019 – August 2020 months, 13 months including 1 month for evaluation):
- During PCP Phase 3, the successful R&D providers will produce an initial limited set of products/services and after testing by the procurer in relevant environments/real-life operational conditions, will subsequently incorporate the results of the field testing in a final limited set of products/services that demonstrate suitability for large scale production after the PCP.
- On completion of PCP Phase 3, the economic operators will deliver End of Phase 3 deliverables requested by the procurer (e.g. completed limited series of tested end-products, updated list of IPRs generated/used etc.) and an End of Phase 3 report, describing the undertaken activities and the obtained Phase 3 results (e.g. final product specifications, tested products/services, refined production and commercialisation/business plan).
- For payment purposes, the PCP Phase 3 performance assessment committee will assess whether the Phase 3 results can be qualified as satisfactory. The committee will also assess which R&D providers achieved successful completion of PCP Phase 3 (solution meeting the expected quality/cost requirements).
Evaluation and Conclusions (September 2020 – November 2020, 3 months):
During the last phase of the project and after the end of PCP Phase 3, the overall evaluation and validation of the technical solutions tested will take place, encompassing technical, operational and economical aspects.
The figure below represents the whole PCP cycle and a potential PPI action derived from the results of the PCP.