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Project Methodology

The content below is intended to provide information to other projects and consortium wishing to run a Pre-Commercial Procurement project.  


An open competition will be run to find solutions to the challenge. The challenge in the call for tender is specified to fit the scope of an R&D service.


All tenders will be evaluated using the same criteria regardless of the geographical location of company, company size or governance structure. Furthermore, the tenders that offer the best solution at an appropriate risk and cost level will be favoured (best value for money).


Preparation stage

The objectives of the preparation stage are two-fold. On the one hand the consortium will have to develop an overall procurement strategy and structure to conduct any further (pre-commercial) procurement activities during the execution of the project. On the other hand, this phase will be also be a crucial stage in the final definition of the PCP challenge, the fine-tuning of the buyers’ requirements and the investigation of the market’s response to it (phase 0).


Based on the prior analysis an open market consultation and a needs analysis of the buyers group will be conducted in the preparation phase. The preliminary surveys that are part of the market consultation will be open to a large amount of interested parties, as we expect a number of solutions to be emerging from other than well-worn paths. Companies already active in the field of big data, environmental monitoring, energy management, healthcare systems, transportation, localisation of devices/people as well as companies not yet active in the expected lines of technology or services will be invited to participate in this survey and consultation phase.


Insights from this analysis will be used to review the function definition of partner cities’ needs and will serve as input for further procurement strategy. With the market consultation the consortium wants to get insight into the market; the state of the art and future developments in order to prepare an adequate call for proposals with the right and a feasible scope. Market feedback will also allow to finalise the decisions regarding the number of applicants that should be admitted, the number of prototypes that can be created for testing through the final phase, and whether the estimated budget and timing is adequate.


Execution stage

In this major phase of the project the joint PCP procurement and implementation of the PCP contracts will be executed. The execution will take place under the supervision of the buyers group, ensuring execution of the R&D services by the providers according to the action plan and requirements defined in the preparation stage.


At this stage the joint PCP procurement as described in the framework agreement will be executed. Phase after phase the challenge and the requirements will be published, initially in the form of an open call (phase 1), subsequently in the form of a limited call to the applicants who succeeded in the previous phase(s).


In order to stimulate the possibility of more radical approaches being proposed and out-of-the-box thinking being used, the initial challenge description will be phrased as an open challenge. Considering the nature of the challenge at this stage there will not be a detailed specification of a sought-after product or service. Instead there will be a description of the challenge to be addressed and a desired outcome.


Concept phase

Phase 1 (concept phase) will be a feasibility study of the proposed solutions and technologies. It aims to verity the conceptual, technological, organizational and budgetary feasibility of each proposal. The expected output from participating companies is a report with a concept design, a description of the results of their feasibility studies and their conclusions for the continuation of the development activities in phase 2.


The concept phase will consist of an open call. Several companies will be selected and funded to develop the concepts of competing solutions. Their concepts can/should be different, but are expected to solve the same common challenge. The procuring partners and external evaluators will evaluate all the proposals using the same criteria.


Prototype phase

The objective of phase 2 (prototype phase) is to select a limited number of the most promising concepts that have been estimated to be feasible in phase 1 and to develop them into well-defined, working prototypes. The selection process for phase 2 is based on the phase 1 reports and on an application process, in which the applicant’s design, roadmap and budgetary estimate will be outlined for phase 2.


The selected companies will each develop a prototype based on the results of their earlier concept and feasibility studies. The aim is to evaluate to which extent the prototype’s features meet the requirements as described in the challenge.


The selected applicants are expected to deliver prototype specifications, a lab demonstration, as well as a plan for the original development of a limited volume of first solutions, a roadmap for testing, and an updated cost/benefits evaluation including a preliminary business plan.


Several companies will be selected amongst the companies who participated in the concept and will be funded to realise a prototype service. The procuring partners and external evaluators will evaluate all the proposals using the same criteria.


Pre-production phase

Phase 3 (pre-production phase) aims to verify and compare the full feature set and performance of different solutions in operational conditions of the targeted service. Several companies who participated in the prototyping will be selected and funded to do (a series of) larger scale pilots.


To push the pilots even further, this project also foresees a validation phase that uses living lab techniques to validate the proposed solution that have been verified from a technical perspective in the pilot phase. The lab testing is undertaken at multiple sites (cfr. the procurers’ locations): all solutions will be tested in every one of the participating cities to ascertain a comparison and validation of a performance across sites and across solutions.


The expected output from the participating companies includes a roadmap for consecutive testing, including field test specifications, a minimum number of field tests, a specification of the final solution and other related technical documentation, and an updated cost/benefit evaluation.


At the conclusion of the pilot phase the IPR and the prototypes will remain the property of the companies involved. The participating partners will have a well-defined access to and a right of usage with regards to the developed and tested prototypes.


Potential procurement

The project is focused on developing a pre-commercial procurement process.  The further commercialisation of the product or service is therefore out of scope.


In phase X (procurement) the procuring partners decide to procure (or not) the solution based on the pilot. This concluding phase deals with the decision of the participating partners to decide whether or not to pursue a commercial procurement. This next stage is a normal procurement process, by means of an open call, evidently also open to the previously competing solutions.



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