Lars Bengtsson and Charles have just started (September 2021) an empirical research project on functional public procurement. It is financed by the Swedish Research Council for Sustainable Development (FORMAS) and will be running for two years. The background is that almost no systematic empirical data on functional procurement exist. In functional procurement, the buyer describes what shall be achieved (e.g., solving a problem), not how it shall be done. This opens up for innovations as a result of the public procurement and has a very large transformational potential. (Innovations are not possible to achieve by means of public procurement if the products to be bought are described in detail.) On the basis of cases of functional procurement that do exist and based on a survey, we will create systematic data on functional procurement. The conceptual framework for the project is based on the article by Charles and Jon Mikel Zabala-Iturriagagoitia on “Functional procurement for innovation, welfare, and the environment” published in Science and Public Policy and described on this home page further below (with a link for downloading).
The title of the project is “Functional public procurement for low-carbon innovations in the Swedish municipal sector”. The project aims to describe, analyse, and support the functional public procurement of fossil-free innovations with a focus on societal planning sectors in the municipalities. The ultimate objective of the research is to contribute to achieving a fossil-free society.