Pioneering Partnership to Boost Regional Innovation

A pioneering partnership between Connected Places Catapult and leading researchers in Birmingham and Manchester will boost regional innovation and jobs. The team will work with local authorities to engage inventive companies in developing and deploying innovative new services, with the shared goal:  to invest public procurement funds in better, greener solutions.    

The project partners - University of Birmingham, the University of Manchester and Connected Places Catapult – have named their venture The Consortium for Research in Innovative and Strategic Public Procurement (CRISPP) which aims to gather evidence and develop best practice guidance for public sector bodies seeking new ways of delivering public services. It will also assess the impact of different approaches to innovation procurement – an area in which there are sizeable data and knowledge gaps, looking across the world for best practice solutions.  

Innovation is central to the Government’s growth strategy and its desire to use procurement to invest in innovation was highlighted in the Green Paper on procurement reform ‘Transforming Public Procurement’, published in Dec 2020, and the 2021 Queen’s Speech announcing the upcoming Procurement Bill. Innovation procurement will also play an essential role in delivering net zero carbon goals.  

CRISPP’s work will help maximise the effectiveness of this approach to drive growth in innovative products and services across the UK.  

 “Public procurement is worth £270bn a year of goods, works and services in the UK, and is a major influence on private sector innovation, having played key roles in the emergence of sectors such as IT and semiconductors,” says Nicola Yates OBE, Chief Executive of Connected Places Catapult. “Yet there are significant gaps in our knowledge of why innovation procurement is successful and how best to use it, with evidence typically reliant on case studies. This consortium is looking to address this data gap and thereby improve the impact of public spending on innovation.”  

“Our research focuses on insights and policy recommendations to improve the innovation outcomes of public procurement and maximise its benefits for regions and communities in the UK. We will develop analytical methods to understand the impact of innovation procurement in the productivity and growth of UK regions and cities. We are also interested in understanding how procurement can be leveraged to support inclusive innovation to ensure that all communities and places around the UK can benefit equally.” Professor Raquel Ortega-Argilés, Chair Regional Economic Development, City-Region Economic Development Institute (City-REDI), University of Birmingham. 

Dr. Elvira Uyarra, Director of the Manchester Institute of Innovation Research states, “Public procurement is a key, yet under-exploited, industrial policy tool with the potential to stimulate private sector innovation and productivity, foster industrial renewal and the development and diffusion of technologies that address societal challenges. This partnership reflects the strengths of the Manchester Institute of Innovation Research (MIoIR) at the University of Manchester in the area of innovation and public procurement and has the potential to significantly contribute to closing the evidence gap around this important agenda.”  

CRISPP is encouraging engagement and collaboration with its research. It is keen for any interested parties to get in touch, whether they have relevant data, are interested in the consortium’s findings, are running a related project or considering such a project.