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Pre-commercial procurement on soil decontamination
Deadline: Mar 7, 2017  

 Waste Management
 Horizon Europe

Topic Description
Specific Challenge:

Soil contamination is typically caused by industrial activity, mining and smelting practices, agricultural chemicals or improper disposal of waste and is increasingly becoming a very serious environmental and health problem. Member States are making efforts to establish national decontamination/remediation strategies which are generally very costly. It is therefore crucial for public authorities to be able to identify the most fit-for-purpose and cost-effective innovative solutions.

The challenge is to address the lack of public demand driven innovation in the soil decontamination sector in Europe. This is needed to close the gap between supply and demand for innovative solutions. Pre-commercial procurement (PCP) has the potential to be an effective demand side innovation action par excellence.

PCP enables a buyers' group (consortia of procurers) to procure research and development to create innovative solutions, speed up the time-to-market and provide best value for money.


Launch of PCP – i.e. a joint procurement of research and development services – to find common innovative and sustainable solutions for soil decontamination/remediation, avoiding 'dig and dump'. The proposal is expected to bring radical and innovative improvements to the quality and efficiency of public soil decontamination services, processes and products.

The core of the consortium should be a qualified 'buyers group' (public procurement consortium), able to implement the action. Additional partners such as business/SME support organisations, innovation agencies or sectoral organisations may be included, to assist procurers in knowing what is available on the market through market consultations.

Proposals shall describe the jointly identified challenge, indicating how it fits into the mid-to-long-term innovation plans of the consortium, why solutions currently available on the market or under development are not meeting their needs, and put forward concrete targets for the desired functionality/performance improvement in the quality and efficiency of their public services. Activities shall include: (1) networking relating to preparation, management and coordination, (2) joint research activities relating to the validation of the PCP strategy and (3) activities for the follow-up of the joint procurement, such as activities for awareness raising, networking, training, evaluation, validation and dissemination of results. Proposals should explain clearly how the creation of jobs, economic growth and new businesses will be assessed as an integral part of the project.

The PCP should deliver successful innovative and fully tested product(s) and/or service(s) that meet the common needs of the buyers' group and that is therefore ready to be marketable. The final aim of the action is to develop innovative and fully tested solutions, which are fit-for-purpose and cost-effective, for soil decontamination/remediation.

Proposals should build on and take care to avoid duplication of the activities undertaken by the BRODISE project[[


Project(s) should have a maximum duration of 2 years.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of around EUR 5 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

The funding rate for Pre-Commercial Procurement (PCP) actions is limited to 90% of the total eligible costs (PCP is procurement of R&D services) to leverage co-financing from the procurers.

Expected Impact:

The project is expected to contribute to:

  • deployment of innovative solutions to deal effectively with soil contamination that respond to the common needs and beyond state-of-the-art performance targets of the buyers group;
  • reduced fragmentation of demand for innovative solutions by enabling public procurers to collectively implement PCP in the area of soil decontamination challenges, which, due to their nature, are better addressed jointly, or which they would not have been able to tackle independently;
  • new opportunities for wide market uptake and economies of scale for the supply side through the use of joint specifications, wide publication of results and – where relevant – contribution to standardization, regulation or certification to remove barriers for introduction of innovations into the market;
  • creation of new products, processes and/or services ready for market uptake, leading to viable new businesses, jobs and growth.

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