The PCP process
What is Pre-Commercial Procurement?
Pre-Commercial Procurement (PCP) is the procurement of research and development of new innovative solutions before they are commercially available. PCP works in conjunction with Public Procurement of Innovative Solutions (PPI).
The European Commission supports PCP as it enables public procurers to:
- Share the risks and benefits of designing, prototyping, and testing new products and services with the suppliers
- Create optimum conditions for the wide commercialisation and take-up of the results of R&D
- Pool the efforts of several procurers
- Develop innovative solutions for the societal challenges of the future
- Encourage companies to invest in highly qualified R&D in Europe
- Act as a "seal of approval" confirming the market potential of new emerging technological developments, thereby attracting new investors
By acting as first buyers of new R&D with important technological needs, public procurers can drive innovation from the demand side. This enables European public authorities to innovate upon the provision of public services faster and create opportunities for companies in Europe to take international leadership within new markets. Creating a strong European market for innovative products and services is an importsant step towards creating growth and jobs in quickly evolving markets such as ICT.
How does PCP work?
PCP involves different suppliers competing through different phases of development. The risks and benefits are shared between the procurers and the suppliers under market conditions.
For PCPs, risk-benefit sharing under market conditions is when procurers share the benefits and risks related to the IPRs resulting from the research and development (R&D) with suppliers at market price.
Competitive development in phases is the competitive approach used in PCP by procurers to buy the R&D from several competing R&D providers in parallel, and then compare and identify the best value for money solutions available to address the PCP challenges. R&D is split into phases (solution design, prototyping, original development and validation/testing of the first products) with the number of competing R&D providers being reduced after each evaluation phase.
Separation from the deployment of commercial volumes of end-products is the complementarity of PCP that focuses on the R&D phase before commercialisation.
The HNSciCloud PCP
The timeline and phases of the HNSciCloud competitive implementation phase are described below:
- Solution design: minimum 4 designs will be developed, 15% of the tender budget will be allocated to this phase. After the design step (3 months), the bidders should provide a report including architecture and technical design of components together with unit cost.
- Prototype development: min 3 prototypes will be developed, the duration of development will be 6 months, with 25% of the tender budget. After the prototype phase, the contractors should build the prototypes including all components and make it accessible to experts from the buyers group that perform functionality tests.
- Deployment of limited scale prototypes: minimum of 2 pilot systems will be deployed, for a duration of 5 months, with 60% of the tender budget. During the pilot phase, and following further tests by the IT experts from the buyers’ group, the pilots will then be made available to end-users so they can perform trials with their own applications. Access to the procured innovative services will be made using different delivery mechanisms:
- WLCG: Access for the LHC experiments will be provided by CERN through its existing OpenStack interfaces and supported via the WLCG operational structures.
- ELIXIR: Access to the ELIXIR research community will be managed by EMBL-EBI and made accessible via the ELIXIR compute platform.
- EGI Fed Cloud: Access for the research communities working with the ESFRI Research Infrastructures, the long-tail of science (i.e. small and medium size science: SMS) group and citizen scientists will be made via the OCCI interfaces and supported via the EGI competence centres.
- Local users: Access will be provided via the buyers in-house IT support services building on the OpenStack, OCCI or web GUI interfaces.
The allocation process for the procured innovative services to the users groups will be determined by the buyers. Each buyer will be allocated a percentage of the procured services that is proportional to their commitment to the total procurement sum. The buyer can then determine what fraction of their allocation is made available to each user group but cannot assign resources only to their local users.