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Research and innovation
News article14 April 2021Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises

Call for public and private procurers: the new European Innovation Procurement Awards are open for applications

The European Innovation Council (EIC) launched today the first edition of the European Innovation Procurement Awards. The prize rewards public and private buyers in their effort to promote procurement of innovation and thus help SMEs and start-ups across Europe to bring their innovative products and services to the markets.

Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, said:

Public and private procurement represent an untapped potential to stimulate the demand for innovation in Europe. The European Innovation Procurement Awards will open up new connections for public and private procurers, thus providing a platform that champions role models and helps innovation procurement practices to be replicated across Europe.

The prize supports the community of European procurers to share, work together and inspire each other in the design of innovative procurement processes, and particularly in the delivery of modern and efficient public services. It features three categories:

  • Innovation procurement strategy” award, which rewards long-term strategies that trigger different innovation procurements, sustainable solutions and practices
  • Facing societal challenges” award that rewards innovative procurement practice aimed to face the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Procurement leadership” award that recognises outstanding individual(s) who empower(s) their team to succeed and trigger innovation procurement practices

Each category will reward the winner with EUR 75 000 and one runner-up with EUR 25 000.

The contest is open to any public or private procurer, as well as individuals located in one of the EU Member States or Associated Countries to Horizon Europe. More information on eligibility and award criteria is available online.

Deadline for applications is 29 July 2021, 17:00 CET. A jury of independent experts will evaluate and select the winners and runners up, who will be awarded in the last quarter of the year.


The European Innovation Procurement Awards

The first edition of the competition recognises powerful cases of public and private buyers on using innovation procurement practices across Europe and emphasises the importance of close buyer–supplier cooperation in bringing the innovative solutions to market.

Innovation procurement modernises public sector with more economical and higher quality solutions. These practices directly contribute to EU competitiveness, by opening a route-to-the market for new players, especially SMEs. They also help larger companies to bring innovative products to the market, stimulating cross-border company growth and the creation of jobs. Innovation procurement also serves to tackle the most pressing societal needs.

This is one of the four 2021 European Innovation Council Prizes that celebrate those shaping the future of innovation in Europe, alongside with the EU Prize for Women Innovators, the European Capital of Innovation Awards, the European Social Innovation Competition.

European Innovation Council

The European Innovation Council (EIC) is a one-stop-shop for high potential innovators with a budget of €10 billion for 2021-2027. It provides support from idea to market, from early-stage scientific research on breakthrough technologies, to transitioning research results into commercial opportunities, and the development and scaling up of innovative start-ups and SMEs. A key novelty of Horizon Europe, it capitalises on the lessons learnt and achievements from the pilot phase 2018-2021 under Horizon 2020, which supported over 5,000 SMEs and start-ups and over 330 projects research projects.

More information

EISMEA-EUIPAwardsatec [dot] europa [dot] eu (EISMEA-EUIPAwards[at]ec[dot]europa[dot]eu)  

EUIP Awards webpage


Publication date
14 April 2021
Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises