Technology & Tools
PAPIRUS Conference – Innovation in Public Sector Construction Projects

Encouraging innovation from the market through the public procurement process (“Public Procurement of Innovation”) is now seen as a key goal for the European Commission, member states and indeed many contracting authorities. A number of initiatives are under way, some of which we have reported on here previously, and one of the most interesting is the PAPIRUS project.

It is one of the pilot projects in the innovation area, co-financed by the European Commission within the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Framework Programme. The project, started in October 2013, is now reaching its final stage. That means the PAPIRUS final conference is coming soon.  “Public Administration Procurement Innovation to Reach Ultimate Sustainability” will take place the 29 September 2016 in Bilbao, Spain. The event will discuss the PAPIRUS project’s results and achievements and also address objectives, challenges and other issues, such as contract drafting, within the field of Procurement of Innovation.

The PAPIRUS project is focused on the area of sustainable construction, which is one of the largest spend areas in every country and has big opportunities for both innovation and sustainability. It is easy to see how the two issues are linked; innovative solutions will be needed to drive better sustainability performance in areas related to construction, such as energy usage in buildings and end-of-life re-use of materials.

The public sector is responsible for a significant proportion of construction activity, so as well as benefiting itself directly, it can act as an example and test-bed for new approaches that can benefit the private sector too. As the PAPIRUS team says; “The project implies an introduction of a new public procurement process focused on providing materials characterized by near zero energy consumption for the repair and construction of buildings in four European locations”.

PAPIRUS has focused on five main technologies and solutions that:

–  Reduce the energy losses through buildings’ opaque envelope

–  Reduce energy losses in winter and solar gains through windows in summer

–  Technologies for light weight prefabricated panels with low specific CO2 emissions

–  Solutions that store thermal energy increasing the thermal comfort and shifting heating and cooling peak loads

–  Technologies that provide good quality natural day-lighting

Coming back to the conference – it will feature public procurement professionals who have implemented “Public Procurement of Innovation” as well as experts in the field who will present their case studies and share their experience. The conference is open for everyone who is interested in this topic including public procurers, suppliers, experts, legal advisers, policy makers and others.

The agenda for the event is here. Attendance is free (hooray!) and the agenda is a mix of keynote presentations with workshops in the afternoon – one aimed at buyers, one for suppliers.

Another attraction of the event is that representatives of the Commission will also present details of upcoming Horizon 2020 funding for 2016-17 that can support procurers to undertake innovation procurements. So if you have some ideas about interesting projects you would like to do in this area, this is a chance to learn more about the available funding that might support your activity.

I can’t see a link to actually book for the event yet, but keep an eye on the PAPIRUS website and I’m sure that will appear soon. It certainly sounds like a very worthwhile event if you’re interested in this topic. And I’m told Bilbao is a great place to visit too!