This page keeps an up to date list of all the questions that have been asked during the entire procurement process and their respective answers. For transparency reasons, all the questions should be addressed via the form below and will be answered for the benefit of all potential suppliers. Please note that the answers provided are only meant as a guidance for interested parties, to allow for a common understanding by all potential suppliers. They are not legally binding in any way. The only binding documentation will be the Call for tender documentation to be published.

 

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List of Questions & Answers

 

 

Pre-commercial procurement (PCP) process

What is R&D procurement?

It’s about R&D, not commercial development

R&D procurement concerns a purchase of R&D by a body governed by public law. In this context, R&D (Research and Development) concerns the phase before commercialization in a product development cycle. R&D can cover activities such as solution exploration and design, prototyping, up to the original development of a limited volume of first products or services in the form of a test series. “Original development of a first product or service may include limited production or supply in order to incorporate the results of field testing and to demonstrate that the product or service is suitable for production or supply in quantity to acceptable quality standards”. R&D does not include commercial development activities such as quantity production, supply to establish commercial viability or to recover R&D costs, integration, customization, incremental adaptations and improvements to existing products or processes.

Types of R&D procurement contracts

According to the terminology used in the public procurement Directives, a public procurer can choose between three types of procurement contracts depending on what is the objective of the procurement. The objective of public works contracts is to procure the execution of works, public supply contracts to procure the supply of products, and public service contracts to procure the provision of services. In this context, a ‘work’ means the outcome of building or civil engineering works taken as a whole which is sufficient of itself to fulfil an economic or technical function. ‘Public supply contracts’ cover the purchase, lease, rental or hire purchase, with or without option to buy, of products. ‘Public service contracts’ are public contracts other than public works or supply contracts having as their object the provision of services. A public contract having as its object both products and services within the meaning of Annex II of the Directives shall be considered to be a ‘public service contract’ if the value of the services in question exceeds that of the products covered by the contract. Also, for R&D, there is the possibility of a R&D works, R&D supplies or R&D services contract. This depends on whether the main objective of the contract for the procurer is to get R&D works performed (e.g. purchase of the construction of an R&D test site), R&D products to be supplied (e.g. purchase of the outcome of an R&D activity: e.g. acquisition of a prototype, hire of a beta/test version of a product) or an R&D service to be performed (e.g. purchase of a number of man-hours of researchers’ and/or developers’ services to perform R&D activities according to the procurer’s specifications).

PCP is a particular approach of procuring R&D services

PCP is one particular approach of procuring R&D “services” (it is not an R&D supply or works contract) in which risk benefit sharing at market conditions is applied. PCP enables public procurers to share the risks and benefits of undertaking new developments with the companies participating in the PCP in a way that does not involve State aid.

What makes PCP interesting for public procurers?

The following advantages can be considered from the public procurers’ side concerning the PCP process

  • Ability to shape industry developments to better fit public needs
  • Lead to better quality products at lower price
  • Achieve desired degree of interoperability from the start
  • Reduce supplier lock-in and recurring unforeseen customized development expenditures
  • Opportunity to share development risks with suppliers – license free use for procurers
  • Opportunity to share the R&D risk with other procurers through pooling of resources
  • PCP can attract external financial investors for companies, which reduces for risk procurer to buy from innovative PCP companies in follow-up procurements

What are the potential benefits of PCP for industry?

The following advantages can be considered from the industry when engaging into a PCP process

(1) Opportunities to acquire international leadership in new markets

In pre-commercial procurement public authorities challenge industry to develop solutions for public sector problems that are so forward-looking and so technologically demanding that either no commercially stable solution exists yet on the market, or existing solutions exhibit shortcomings which require new R&D. By triggering the development of breakthrough solutions ahead of the rest of the world market, public authorities can through their role of demanding first buyer create opportunities for companies in Europe to take international leadership in new markets.

(2) Shorter time to market

The virtuous process of co-evolution of demand and supply enabled by pre-commercial procurement shortens the time-to-market for the suppliers that can better anticipate demand for new solutions and better align their product developments to fulfil concrete customer needs. Active involvement of interested public buyers from the early product development stages also enables public authorities to detect at an early stage potential policy and regulatory barriers that need to be removed in time to ensure short time to market for innovating public services.

(3) Wider market size, economies of scale

Assigning IPR ownership rights to companies participating in PCPs enables those companies to address wider markets beyond the procurer that initiated the development. Streamlining desired product specifications amongst suppliers and procurers at the stage when products are still under development empowers procurers to foster the necessary degree of standardization amongst suppliers to guarantee economies of scale and interoperability. Cooperation between procurers at the pre-commercial stage can act as a driving force to create the required critical mass on the demand side to reduce market fragmentation and increase economies of scale for suppliers in Europe. Through export focused commercialisation wide take-up and diffusion of the newly developed technologies can be achieved in different sectors, comprising private as well as public markets, locally and globally.

What is the selection approach regarding which company(ies) continue in each phase?

It is a competitive phased process. Suppliers work in parallel on their own solution. In other words, every supplier must answer all requirements successfully to proceed to the next phase. Details will be added after the finalization and publication of the Call of Tenders.

Can partners be added, or consortium be changed between phases?

Contractors that successfully completed Phase 1 and provided that their Phase 2 bid is selected (upon evaluation), will be awarded a Phase 2 contract. Contractors that successfully completed Phase 2 and provided that their Phase 3 bid is selected (upon evaluation), will be awarded a Phase 3 contract. It is a closed process, and no one can join in between phases, however, suppliers can add subcontracts in between phase according to the conditions set by the Call for Tenders. Details will be included in the published of the Call of Tenders.

How could a PCP process be initiated and how could the relevant and interested stakeholders be involved?

From the demand side, innovation procurement starts with an “unmet need” for innovative solutions, which is “a requirement or set of requirements that you (public procurers) have now or (preferably) one that you will have in the future, that current products, services or arrangements cannot meet, or can only do so at excessive cost or with unacceptable risk”.

From the supply side, the first step towards initiating a PCP process will be the publication of a Prior Information notice in the official journal of the European commission for notifying of the public procurer’s intention to conduct an open market consultation within the context of a PCP contract. This will have to incorporate a high-level description of the contract’s objective. In this phase all interested suppliers (industry representatives) will be invited to participate in the process of exchanging views and providing input on the basis of an Initial research and needs assessment identifying area(s) of focus and specific user needs, as well as the potential innovations which might meet them. This will provide the necessary input for refining / finalizing the necessary data prior to progressing to proceeding to the tendering process. Overall, this enables the procurer to cross-check before initiating the procurement, how realistic he has built his view on:

  • the prior analysis and regulatory / standardization environment
  • the desired minimum requirements for the innovative solutions
  • the main assumptions in the business case
  • the key contractual set-up and conditions for the procurement

Once Phase 3 is finished, will another open call be opened for the Commercial Phase?

The Commercial Phase is out of the scope of the SHUTTLE project. In case such an alternative will be decided, it should be taken into consideration by all potential suppliers that a similar tendering process will be required where public procurers will act as launch customers for such focused R&D services and close-to-market innovative goods after following the general steps mentioned below:

  1. The first step is to form a critical mass of purchasing power on the demand side (one large enough buyer or several smaller buyers in a buyer’s group). One that can incentivize industry to scale up the production to bring solutions to the market with the price and quality requirements for large scale deployment.
  2. For the second step, the procurer(s) make an early announcement of the innovation needs (with the required functionality/performance and possibly also price requirements). They express the intention to buy a critical mass of innovative products if industry can bring them to the market with the predefined price/quality requirements by a specific date. The procurers may wish to perform conformance testing of solutions of suppliers that have come forward with potential solutions by the target date. This is done to verify that there are indeed solutions that can meet their needs, before actually procuring the innovative solutions.

The third step is the actual public procurement of the innovative solutions through one of the existing public procurement procedures (e.g. open/negotiated procedure, competitive dialogue etc).

SHUTTLE PCP

What is the SHUTTLE project?

The aim of SHUTTLE (Scientific High-throughput and Unified Toolkit for Trace analysis by forensic Laboratories in Europe) is to support the development of a toolkit, which will facilitate the microtraces analysis collected in crime scenes. More information concerning the vision and concept of the project can be found here https://www.shuttle-pcp.eu/project-at-a-glance/vision-and-concept/

What is Joint Procurement? Who participates in the SHUTTLE Joint Procurement?

As per definition provided by EU, a Joint procurement combines the procurement actions of two or more contracting authorities. In this regard, the PCP Framework Agreement and Phase contracts will be awarded as one single joint procurement by the beneficiaries concerned. The group of procurers and the the buyer’s group have appointed a lead procurer to coordinate and lead the joint procurement.

The lead procurer will act as Contracting Authority, publish the PCP call for tender in the name and on behalf of the buyer’s group under the Greek applicable legal framework for public procurement coordinate the joint evaluation of offers. For other tasks related to the preparation of the call for tender, evaluation of offers, monitoring of the suppliers, validation/testing of solutions, evaluation of the results/impact of the call for tender, the effort to carry out these tasks can be shared between the members of the buyers group and the lead procurer (and where relevant by others such as end-users e.g. to test solutions, external experts e.g. to evaluate offers etc).

In SHUTTLE project the Group of Procurers is composed by the following partners:

  • MINISTERE DE L’ INTERIEUR (MININT)
  • NETHERLANDS FORENSIC INSTITUTE (NFI)
  • KENTRO MELETON ASFALEIAS (KEMEA)
  • LIETUVOS TEISMO EKSPERTIZES CENTRAS (LTEC)
  • MINISTÉRIO DA JUSTIÇA (PJ)
  • MINISTRY OF PUBLIC SECURITY- ISRAEL NATIONAL POLICE (MOPS-INP)

Lead Procurer is KENTRO MELETON ASFALEIAS (KEMEA).

How is the Procurement process organized? How long would the overall Procurement Process take?

SHUTTLE approach adopts the basic concepts of the Pre-Commercial Procurement (PCP) as proposed by the European Commission, is outlined in the following figure also incorporating the approximate duration of each phase.

Will the SHUTTLE Consortium be purchasing the SHUTTLE toolkit after the SHUTTLE funding period? If so: a. how many microscopes and how much tape will the SHUTTLE Consortium be purchasing; b. over what time period will the above purchase be made?

The commercial exploitation of the R&D results is not into the scope of this project and the PCP. In any case, follow-up PPI procurements for a limited set of prototypes and/or test products developed during this PCP procurement (‘limited follow-up PPIs’) may be awarded by an new call for tender.
Follow-up PPI procurements for a commercial volume of the innovative solutions developed in this PCP procurement may be subject to a new call for tender.

1. In what form the tape lift will come from the user (respectively, in what form it shall be processed in the future machine? – an open tape lift; – a tape lift being folded up ( – would there be then a double layer of lifted particles?); – a tape sandwich consisting of the tape lift and an empty tape of precisely the same material; – a tape sandwich consisting of the tape lift and an empty tape of different material – please specify what material; – any other form, please specify. 2. The requirements state: “Further analysis after isolation from tape: FTIR, ICP-MS, DNA” – Shall particles destined to DNA analysis be isolated at first, before the particles for other analyses? – What criteria shall be applied in order to qualify a particle for subsequent FTIR and/ or ICP-MS analysis? And shall the toolkit software take this decision – or shall the user decide about that? – In what form the particles shall be put at disposition for FTIR: totally isolated particle or particle on a small tape area / inside a small tape sandwich area? Please specify the sample holder onto which the isolated particles have to be transferred. – In what form the particles shall be put at disposition for ICP-MS: totally isolated particle or particle on a small tape area / inside a small tape sandwich area? Please specify the sample holder onto which the isolated particles have to be transferred.

According to the EU Treaty principles, in particular the principles of transparency and equal treatment, the detailed specification of the tape system as well as the SHUTTLE Toolkit, cannot be provided in this phase.
Some general information can be provided mostly to clarify the general concept, as it was presented in the first Open Market Consultation in Paris as well as it is presented in the SHUTTLE webpage.
Specific requirements will be made available at the release of the tender and there will be given enough time for inquiries.

Regarding the tape system, the supplier (e.g. a consortium of companies), has to develop a tape system that will be compatible with the SHUTTLE microscope as well as compatible for Optical Microscopy (Brightfield, Polarized / Fluorescent light microscopy and Microspectrophotometry). That means that traces can be examined with the aforementioned techniques while there are still inside the tape system. Furthermore traces inside the tape system shall be feasible to be isolated from the tape system so as further examinations can be conducted like FTIR, ICPMS and DNA analysis. The user will decide which traces will be isolated for further examination with which techniques, following the laboratory’s Standard Operating Procedures.
In the Terms of Reference document will be described which traces will be isolated and their priority. The general idea is that the traces lifted with the tape system will be well protected by the backing of the tape. The SHUTTLE Toolkit shall be able to automatically detect and identify initially the traces inside the tape system without opening it. The user will then decide which traces will be isolated for further analysis. The main need here is that the trace has to be isolated from the tape system without being damaged, altered or contaminated so as examination of it with the aforementioned techniques following the laboratories SOP’s and instrumentation will not be obstructed. During isolation the remaining traces in the rest of the tape has also to be protected from loss, damage or contamination, so as they can also be isolated for further examination in the future. The acceptable isolation options will be described more precisely in the ToR Document.
Having all the above in mind, the supplier has to develop a suitable tape system which will fulfill all the aforementioned needs.

Open Market Consultation

What is the Open Market Consultation?

The Open Market Consultation is an important step during the overall PCP preparation process, aiming at actively fostering the dialogue with the market in order to:

  • validate the identified need and solution design with the supply side,
  • explain clearly how confidentiality/IPR issues will be treated and
  • build trust between potential buyers and providers by explaining the procurement need, the envisaged contracting setup to vendors and evaluating their feedback in order to fine-tune the tender specifications that will drive to prototypes and pre-operational solutions.

Request for Tenders

When do you plan to launch the call for tender?

We currently plan to launch the call for tender around the end of May 2019 or early June 2019.

Where can I find partners to form a consortium?

Consortia can be formulated with companies at their own will. However, the SHUTTLE project in full compliance with the Horizon 2020 principles offers companies opportunities to form consortia via the below mentioned means:

  • On the 30th and 31th of January 2019 during the Open Market Consultation event, a networking event was held, aiming to enhancing relationship between the participants.
  • On the project website will be soon available a matchmaking tool, in order to help interested companies to formulate Consortia

Will a UK company be able to participate in the SHUTTLE PCP?

Natural persons residing in one of the following countries:

  • EU and EEA (European Economic Area) member states.
  • H2020 Associated Countries having signed a Bilateral Agreement with the EU on security procedures for exchanging and protecting classified information.

Legal entities established under the law of the following countries and having their central administration or principal place of business or registered office (seat) in one of the following countries:

  • EU and EEA (European Economic Area) member states.
  • H2020 Associated Countries having signed a Bilateral Agreement with the EU on security procedures for exchanging and protecting classified information.

Groups of economic operators of the above natural persons or legal entities, submitting a joint tender.

Based on the above, the eligibility of UK companies will depend on their actual status at the time of submission of tenders.

What are the IPR conditions in SHUTTLE?

SHUTTLE proposes an IPR (Intellectual Property Rights) approach, which is fully aligned with the fundamentals of PCP. SHUTTLE procures R&D services at market price, thus providing contractors with a transparent, competitive and reliable source of financing for the early stages of their research and development.  The partners will set up the suitable mechanisms that will allow sharing risks and benefits between the Contracting Authority and the PCP contractors. The ownership of the IPRs generated by a supplier during the contract will be assigned to that supplier. Giving each contractor the ownership of the IPRs attached to the results it generates during the PCP means that they can widely exploit the newly developed solutions commercially. All the Consortium members will be assigned a worldwide free and non-exclusive license to use the R&D results for internal use. In return, the tendered price (market price) must contain a financial compensation for keeping the IPR ownership compared to the case where the IPRs would be transferred to the procurers. Moreover, the contractors can be requested to offer license to third parties under fair and reasonable conditions with respect to the rights of third parties that do not accrue to the contractors. It will be ensured that if the IPR rights are not exploited within 4 years after the finalization of the Framework Agreement, they will return through a call back provision to the Consortium members. Details will be included in the published Call of Tenders.

Is/are the precise date(s) of the release of the exact SHUTTLE toolkit specifications and the call for tenders known? If so, what is/are those date(s)? If not, when might this information become available?

The SHUTTLE call for tender, including the toolkit specifications, will be announced on the project website and on TED (the online version of the ‘Supplement to the Official Journal’ of the EU, dedicated to European public procurement) where the contract notice will be published. The exact dates can not be confirmed yet.

Can I register to receive e-mail notification of the publication of the call for tender and associated documents (i.e. the exact SHUTTLE specifications etc)?

Of course you can register to the SHUTTLE newsletter where a dedicated anouncement for the Call for Tender release will be made.

Are there any minimum requirements for the track record of any given company that is part of a consortium formed for the purpose of tendering for SHUTTLE funding? For example, is there a minimum age or revenue for each such company?

A set of eligibility, exclusion and selection criteria for the potential tenderers who would like to participate in the SHUTTLE PCP will be made publicly available through the CfT documentation.

Consider a company that is part of a consortium tendering for SHUTTLE funds. In order to meet the needs of the SHUTTLE programme, this company needs access to technology that is owned by another party. That other party has agreed to grant that company access to the technology it needs and to do so by way of a licence. Does that licence have to exist before the tender can be made? Alternatively, would the SHUTTLE funding Consortium be content with a Memorandum of Understanding that states that the licence will be granted if the tender for SHUTTLE funding is successful?

The SHUTTLE Call for Tenders has not being finalized, yet. Such being the case, no answer on the eligibility criteria can be given at this stage. The Shuttle Consortium will get back to you, soon after the publication of the Tender.

Finance

What is the overall subcontracting budget?

The total amount dedicated for all phases of the procurement process is 5.9 million excluding VAT.

What is the percentage of the costs incurred during the development of the SHUTTLE toolkit by a successful funding recipient that will be covered by the SHUTTLE funds?

The PCP is a procurement and not a grant (thus no funding will be provided). Payments will be made to the contractors based on the invoices issued, in accordance with their financial offer (a detailed financial section will be included in the CfT). In any case, the maximum budget per PCP phase and the maximum budget per bidder (including VAT and other taxes and duties that may be applicable to the supplier) will be indicated in the CfT.

On what dates during the SHUTTLE programme will the funding be released and what would a successful funding recipient need to demonstrate in order to draw down that money?

Payments corresponding to each PCP phase will be subject to the satisfactory completion of the deliverables and milestones for that phase.Interim payments and payments of the balance is likely to be foreseen.Detailed provisions will be included in the CfT.

Piloting

How will the solutions be validated in Phase 3?

The participating contractors successfully completing Phase 2 and continuing in Phase 3 will develop the final version of the Toolkit. In Phase 3 will be conducted experimentation of the prototypes in real environment of the Forensic Labs using relevant operational benchmark cases and samples. It will be validated if the Toolkit results to be an effective Solution for the End-user from an operational perspective. In this regard, operational scenarios will be developed with specific areas and measurements of testing. Details will be added and included in the published Call of Tenders.