During the month of July, in collaboration with the cities of Athens, Cascais, Differdange, Grenoble-Alpes, Ioannina, Maribor, Sofia and Torino, ANCI Toscana – the association of Tuscan Municipalities – has organised and facilitated 8 hybrid events in the framework of an innovative procurement procedure, worth €2.3 million, which will be finalised by end September 2023 with the publication of a call for tender on the Official Journal of the European Union.

The events – named Preliminary Market Consultations (PMCs) after the EU Directive on Public Procurement – were aimed to inform potential participants about the procedure of Innovation Partnerships and the intention of ANCI Toscana of publishing the tender notice soon, and at the same time to receive information on the European state of the art of socio-technical solutions, either in the form of prototypes or established products and services, which might contribute to solving the specific challenges posed by the 8 cities in the context of their pathways to climate neutrality until 2030.

The PMCs were run in a hybrid mode to ensure the widest possible participation and open to all interested economic operators, particularly SMEs and start-up enterprises, as well as R&D institutions from both the public and the private sector. After the event, and until 31 August, participants were allowed the possibility of sending written proposals to the respective cities, the contents of which will be taken into account to calibrate the details of the procurement procedure.

Globally the initiative – which is run in the framework of the Horizon Europe funded project CLIMABOROUGH – has been a huge success with about 300 economic operators registered in the events from all over the EU and almost 90 written contributions – from more than 50 solution providers, most of them SMEs – were received until the stated deadline.

Matteo Satta, the CLIMABOROUGH scientific coordinator on behalf of ANCI Toscana, released the following statement: 

“The goal of this public procurement of innovation is to provide to all cities the services and products corresponding to their needs. The PMC results show a success beyond expectations. We are now working hard at the definition of a call for tender, using the instrument of the so-called innovation partnership, which will enable the creation of 8 “Green and Climate neutral City Hubs”, through awarding 16 distinct solutions (2 per city) that will improve their capacity to tackle the challenges of climate change mitigation and adaptation ”.

“We expect to allow until end November for the pre-qualification phase and until end January for the presentation of the technical bids. These will be further negotiated by ANCI in collaboration with the Cities, to ensure the best fit with the call requirements”. 

“In so doing, we hope to confirm the figures of participation experienced during the PMC phase and attract the best EU players to offer their innovative solutions at convenient prices”.

“In return, the CLIMABOROUGH partners and especially ANCI Toscana will provide the most welcoming conditions to realise the needed experimentations within the borders of the 8 cities and to valorise the results of the collaboration at a broader scale in Europe”.

“This is the key contribution that our project aims to provide to the EU mission of ‘100 climate neutral and smart cities by 2030’: showing that cross-border, federated public procurement of innovation can indeed facilitate the diffusion of R&D and innovation results showing clear potential of improving strategic urban planning and implementation of climate neutrality actions in Europe”.