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Bangor ICPS to help the EU implement the Small Business Act following major grant success

Bangor Law School’s Institute for Competition & Procurement Studies (ICPS) has recently been notified of a major grant success under the European Union’s COSME fund – a funding programme designed to raise competitiveness of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in the EU and to help the EU implement the requirements of the Small Business Act (the overarching framework for EU policy on SMEs).

The PPACT project (Public Procurement and Cross-Border Tendering) is a 5 partner, €335,000 initiative that will vastly improve SME access to cross-border public procurement markets, and aims to seize upon the opportunities ahead with the new European Public Procurement Directives.

The project will research barriers SMEs face in successfully bidding for contracts across borders, and provide research-led interventions and methodologies to overcome these barriers. The methodologies developed will feed into the Enterprise Europe Network’s membership base of over 600 Chambers of Commerce; technology centres; development agencies and research institutes. 

The project also incorporates a major knowledge transfer element based on ICPS’s earlier work in developing a Tender Review Methodology, meaning this tool will be utilised by PPACT partners right across Europe. The methodology was originally developed by ICPS in the Ireland / Wales INTERREG “Winning in Tendering” project and featured as a UK Research Excellence Framework Impact Case Study. PPACT’s focus on the Smart City sector, also builds on other ICPS initiatives, with the Smart City sector being a key topic theme within ICPS’s 2015 Procurement Week event.

Welcoming the news of the grant award, Professor Dermot Cahill, Principal Investigator for PPACT, said: “this grant allows us to deepen Bangor’s research into why cross-border tendering is so difficult and helps us further analyse how obstacles to cross-border trade can be overcome. With the advent of Brexit, the ability of SMEs to trade easily across borders will become more important than ever, especially if the UK is to isolate itself outside the EU market.

“This PPACT project now takes on an added significance as if Theresa May, the Prime Minister, is heralding a brave new world of global trade for UK industry, UK SMEs will need all the help they can get to help them find, develop, and win contracts in new markets. In this way, PPACT assumes ever greater significance given the recent regrettable advance towards commencing the Brexit process”.

ICPS’s Ceri Evans and Gary Clifford will be Project Co-Investigators, with Becky Jones undertaking the Project Coordinator role, and Dr Ama Eyo leading the procurement legal research elements.

ICPS will work closely with the PPACT partners ranging across Spain, France, Italy and Ireland. Partners include ACCIO (the Catalan Regional Trade and Investment Agency); CCI Paris Ile-de-France (the Paris Chamber of Commerce and Industry representing the interests of 844,000 businesses in the Paris region) and Unioncamere del Venetois (an association of 7 Chambers of Commerce from Venice, Italy). 

Publication date: 27 January 2017