Invitation to Collaborate on Functional Public Procurement – Practice and Research

As readers of my homepage know, I have a keen interest in functional public procurement. Therefore, I sent out an invitation to collaborate on functional public procurement – see below. If you are interested in collaborating on this theme, please send an email to

The invitation letter follows:


You are hereby INVITED to participate in a group that exchanges knowledge and practical experience in order to develop Functional Public Procurement. The basic aim is to influence innovation in order to improve welfare and save environment and climate.

  • Functional procurement is when the public buyer does not describe goods or services (the product), but problems that shall be solved or functions that shall be fulfilled by means of the products (goods or services) to be procured.
  • Public procurement amounts to about 15 % of global GDP. In Sweden public buying is almost 800 billion crowns per year, or 17 % of GDP. The value of public procurement is approximately as large as the value of industrial production in Sweden. All this is spending of tax-payers money; public sector organizations are the market/demand. These resources are many times larger than, for example, the expenditures on Research and Development. Unfortunately, most public procurement is an obstacle to innovations, rather than enhancing them. This is because the general practice in public procurement is still that the buyer describes a product that he wants to procure – not a problem to be solved.
  • Functional procurement can influence the speed of innovation as well as the direction of innovation processes. Functional procurement is therefore particularly powerful as part of pursuing innovation policies intended to mitigate health, environmental and climate problems.
  • The initiative to form this group comes from CIRCLE, which is an interdisciplinary Centre for Innovation Research at Lund University (Home page: Researchers and practitioners are invited to participate in this collaboration. The work in the group will emphasize horizontal collaboration between researchers (globally), policymakers (and policy agencies), practitioners (carrying out functional procurement) and politicians. This is to secure that the research, policy and practice addressed in the program are relevant to each other. It will also facilitate the diffusion and transformation of research results into practical/policy use. We hope that this group develops into a leading global hub for collaboration on functional procurement!
  • The theme of functional procurement is described in more detail at:
  • The level or intensity of your participation in the group does not have to be decided now. If you indicate an interest to participate, you will receive additional information about the work in the group and you will be invited to the first meeting (whatever form it will take). If you are interested in participating, please send an e-mail to (For more information about me, please see my home page: If you know about someone else who might be interested in this initiative, please forward this invitation!

Best wishes,

Charles Edquist

Professor and Senior Researcher in Innovation Studies at CIRCLE (Centre for Innovation Research) and at the Division of Innovation Engineering, Lund University

Personal home page (including CV)
Mobile phone: +46 (0) 708 136213