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  • Writer's pictureX-officio

Report on Common Procurement by Research Infrastructures

Updated: Mar 30, 2020

X-officio recently produced a deliverable for the H2020-supported project "Preparatory Phase for the pan-European Research Infrastructure DANUBIUS-ERIC".

The DANUBIUS Preparatory Phase identified the European Research Infrastructure Consortia (ERIC) as the most suitable legal entity for DANUBIUS. DANUBIUS-ERIC will be a distributed research infrastructure with the central management forming part of the headquarters of DANUBIUS-ERIC but the DANUBIUS Components will be distributed, meaning they will be placed in the different member countries and will either have their own legal entity, or more likely, be owned or controlled by one or more DANUBIUS Partners (independent research institutions and universities). In accordance with Article 7(3) of the ERIC Regulation, the DANUBIUS-ERIC will be recognised as an international organisation for the purpose of the EU public procurement directives, and it could adopt its own procurement procedures. The position in relation to the DANUBIUS Partners is different, however, as the partners have a separate legal entity and are not legally part of the ERIC.

The report discussed the possibilities of common procurement between the ERIC headquarters and the distributed Components and concluded that, since there is no one definition of the term “common procurement”, it could be understood to mean one or more of the following: (1) Central procurement, (2) Joint procurement, or (3) Coordinated procurement.

Central procurement: if the ERIC were to act as a central procurement body it may face both regulatory and administrative constraints: in order for the ERIC to act as a central purchasing body for the benefit of the DANUBIUS Partners (and DANUBIUS Components), it will likely have to follow the EU procurement directives. In addition, if acting as a central procurement body, the ERIC will need to have the resources, capacity and capability required in order to handle issues such as logistics, insurance, administrative capacity as well as contract management capability and ability to handle potential disputes with suppliers.

Joint procurement: the prospects for the ERIC to conduct joint procurement with the Partners seems remote, because it is unlikely that the DANUBIUS-ERIC headquarter will require for its own use the same type of equipment, services or works that are needed for the Components. However, this does not exclude the possibility for two or more DANUBIUS Partners to conduct joint procurement among themselves.

Coordinated procurement: the simple form of “common procurement” is a coordinated procurement, which involves a joint effort in the preparation of common technical specifications for works or supply or services that will be procured by the Partners independently (or jointly by some of them), for the benefit of the Components. Under a coordinated procurement approach, DANUBIUS-ERIC and the Partners will work together to agree the technical specifications required for the various Components and possibly address and agree issues such as timing and costs, while each Partner will be left to conduct its own procurement process, or to conduct the procurement jointly with one or more other DANUBIUS Partners.

Click here to read the full report available on the DANUBIUS-PP website.

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