LERU: new public procurement policies required

New public procurement policies could serve as an incentive to stimulate demand for universities’ research and knowledge base.

New public procurement policies could serve as an incentive to stimulate demand for universities’ research and knowledge base. The League of European Research Universities (LERU) has today urged the European Commission to make radical new public procurement policies its top priority in promoting innovation.

LERU’s position paper sets out the case for why governments should use their leverage as major buyers of goods and services to provide incentives for companies to become more innovative and to make full use of universities’ research and knowledge base.

According to the paper, governments across Europe spend in excess of €170 billion per year on public procurement, but only 1% of this is spent on research and development. In the United States, the corresponding figure is 15%.

“Research-intensive universities in Europe are committed to and heavily engaged with the innovation process What is needed now are incentives to stimulate demand for the university knowledge base, particularly from high-growth SMEs, which are the missing parts of the growth equation,” says Professor Geoffrey Boulton, Vice-Principal of Edinburgh University, convenor of the LERU Working Group on EU Research Policy and the author of the report.

“In Finland public procurement is submitted to competitive bidding, but usually offers are invited only for products that have already been developed. Competitive bidding clauses could include ones requiring development work and thereby inviting new products onto the market," says Kari Raivio, Chancellor of the University of Helsinki and Chairman of the LERU Board of Directors.

Raivio also points out that universities should improve their own activities in this respect. “Universities should pay more attention to the changing needs of business and industry when planning their curricula, particularly in terms of research training.”

The full position paper is available on the LERU website.

Text: Simo Salmela
Photo: The European Union
1.12.2006
www.helsinki.fi/digitalcommunications

Translation: Valtasana Oy


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