Public Procurement for Innovation

Public Procurement for Innovation

Eu-SPRI Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation Policy series

Edited by Charles Edquist, Nicholas S Vonortas, Jon M Zabala-Iturriagagoitia and Jakob Edler

This book focuses on Public Procurement for Innovation. Public Procurement for Innovation is a specific demand-side innovation policy instrument. It occurs when a public organization places an order for a new or improved product to fulfill certain needs that cannot be met at the moment of the order. The book provides evidence of the potential benefits to public and private actors from the selective use of this policy instrument and illustrates the requirements and constraints for its operationalization. The book intends to significantly improve the understanding of key determinants of effective public procurement aiming to promote innovative capabilities in the supplying sectors and beyond. It provides both case studies and conceptual contributions that help extend the frontier of our understanding in areas where there are still significant gaps.

Chapter 1: Introduction

Charles Edquist, Nicholas S. Vonortas and Jon Mikel Zabala-Iturriagagoitia

Subjects: economics and finance, economics of innovation, innovation and technology, economics of innovation, innovation policy, politics and public policy, public administration and management


This book addresses public procurement for innovation, which is a demand-side innovation policy instrument in the form of an order, placed by a public organization, for a new or improved product to fulfill its particular needs. With this book we aim to contribute to the understanding of public procurement for innovation, including its operationalization and implementation. It is oriented to a wider readership of scholars interested in the study of innovation policies, practitioners involved in the public procurement of goods and services, and students of public policy. Traditionally, innovation policy initiatives have mostly come from the supply side. Countries and regions have actively implemented and used innovation policy instruments such as fiscal measures, support for training and mobility, public financing of research and development (R & D), information and brokerage support and networking measures. The role of demand as an enabler and source of innovation has been a topic in innovation studies and innovation policy for quite some time (Izsak and Edler, 2011). Discussions on the positive impacts of demand-side innovation policies took place as far back as the 1970s (Dalpé, 1994; Geroski, 1990; Mowery and Rosenberg, 1979; Rothwell and Zegveld, 1981). Recent years have seen a resurgence of the interest in demand-side approaches to innovation policy (Edquist and Hommen, 1999; OECD, 2011). For example, in 2004, three governments issued a position paper to the European Council calling for the use of public procurement across Europe to spur innovation (Edler and Georghiou, 2007; French, German, UK Governments, 2004).