Public procurement for innovation to help meet societal challenges: A review and case study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Public procurement for innovation (PPI) is a powerful, underutilized demand-side innovation policy instrument. How this instrument can contribute to meeting societal challenges, which require goaloriented transformation of socio-technical systems, remains unclear and is explored in this article. This article draws on the transitions and PPI literature to propose transformative processes to which PPI can contribute and identifies factors that determine the effectiveness of PPI in meeting societal challenges. The propositions are explored with a case study on the procurement of radically new flood barrier technology, using event history mapping analysis. The article concludes that, under certain conditions, PPI can contribute to the transformative processes of (1) the articulation of societal demands to direct challenge-driven transformation; (2) the development and production; (3) selection; and (4) the diffusion and use of new technologies to meet these societal demands. The article ends with policy recommendations on how PPI can help meet societal challenges.


External organisations
  • Utrecht University
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Public Administration Studies


  • Demand-side innovation policy, Infrastructure, Innovation system, Socio-technical Transition, Tender, Water sector
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)493-502
Number of pages10
JournalScience and Public Policy
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Publication categoryResearch