The call for the DIGITAL GovTech incubator is now open! The first objective of the incubator is to offer a cooperation framework between EU GovTech actors, joining forces in a consortium formalised by a Framework Partnership Agreement (FPA).
What is GovTech?
We speak about GovTech when public sector organisations engage in their innovation activities with start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) for the design and provision of tech-base products and services. This practice beyond the mere creation of more creative and innovative digital solutions offers also an opportunity for governments to adopt more agile ways of working, have more choices beyond the offer of established IT providers, and to offer new market opportunities for SMEs.
The purpose of the Govtech Incubator will be to propose a favourable environment for the development of cross-border experimentation that leads to innovative services. The target will be to foster the creation of reusable and interoperable by default services in public administrations.
To this end, the European Commission will sign a long-term partnership with relevant initiatives supporting the GovTech Sector and other stakeholders. This partnership will be implemented through funding.
The main goal of the Govtech Incubator cooperation framework should be finding new interoperable solutions that can be adopted by other countries and that can become part of the offer on the Common Services Platforms (which proposes mature solutions). It will equally support the sharing of best practices, for example in the procurement of innovation. In addition, it will provide GovTech startups and SMEs the opportunity to widen their market and their opportunity to grow, as well to get inspiration from Europe’s diversity in digital public administration, and to benefit from simplified schemas of procurement of innovation or simplified sub-granting mechanisms allowed by the programme.
What is a Framework Partnership Agreement?
A Framework Partnership Agreement is a long-term cooperation between the Commission and a group of partners with the aim to contribute to the objectives of the EU policy. The FPA does not provide in direct funding, but provides the basis for regular or recurrent grants for the partnership under a common action plan.
Criteria for the Govtech Incubator
The incubator FPA call was opened on the 22nd of February on the Funding and Tenders portal. A first information session was organised, presenting in detail the call and gathering potential partners in the future partnership.
Although one of the eligibility conditions for a consortium is to have at least participants from three different participant countries (EU Countries and countries associated with the DIGITAL Europe programme), we also expect to have as many as possible countries represented. The participants should be mostly entities entrusted for GovTech or Innovation initiatives in their respective country (GovTech Labs, Digilabs, digitalisation agencies, academia,…), independent of their legal nature (public or private). Other types of partners (SMEs, private companies, academia, non-profit...) are also allowed if they bring specific expertise for the implementation of the action plan.
The consortium should equally make sure its proposed general 4 years action plan corresponds to at least five sorts of activities, which can be consulted in the call document under the title of ‘Scope’.
The Digital Europe Work-Programme 2021-2022 will finance the first two years of the GovTech Incubator and therefore the implementation of the first 2 years of the action plan. Following Work-Programmes will provide funding for the rest of the implementation of the action plan. Depending on the success, a possible extension of the FPA by 3 years (to cover the whole duration of the DIGITAL Europe Programme) is envisaged.
Only one proposal eventually selected
Even if the Commission receives several proposals, only one will eventually be chosen as GovTech Incubator, based on the general action plan that the consortium has proposed. This result will be announced in July.
The Commission will start funding only after the consortium is preselected as the Govtech Incubator and when the Incubator proposes the precise implementation of the two first years of activities.
The GovTech Incubator will be managed by the Interoperability Unit of DG DIGIT and the Interoperable Europe initiative.
The call will be closed on the 14th of May.