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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here you will find the common question about the CircularPSP project. Any updates to the FAQ will be summarised here. Similarly, the questions received from any supplier, not yet covered here, will be added to the FAQs.


Is there an overview of the documentation regarding the Request for Tenders?

Information is continuously being developed and will be available timely in the Call for Tender on the CircularPSP website. 

What is CircularPSP aiming at?

The Buyers Group and Preferred Partners seek a new green digital platform enabling entire municipal operations (city) and the local economy (market) to transition toward Circular Economy. The platform will choose, open up, and enable users to consume existing and new data. The solution is to support business processes and workflows to plan, procure and implement innovative CE-solutions across Europe more quickly and at a larger volume. The solution will include AI-aided collection and generation of content whilst ensuring quality, usability and practicality through specialised moderation. The goal is to enable more city staff and local businesses to understand, learn and act on circularity practice for any upcoming task across all sectors and value chains. 

What is Pre-commercial Procurement (PCP)?

It is an approach to public procurement of research and development (R&D) services. PCP challenges industry from the demand side to develop innovative solutions for public sector needs and provides a first customer reference that enables companies to create a competitive advantage in the market. PCP enables public procurers to compare alternative potential solution approaches and filter out the best possible solutions that the market can deliver to address the public need. 

How is the PCP structured?

The PCP is structured through a staged approach consisting of three main phases. Phase I focuses on the solution design and the selection of an initial set of suppliers to closely with the procurers. During Phase II, the suppliers selected to continue in the PCP process need to develop the prototypes in accordance with the procurers’ feedback. Lastly, the suppliers entering Phase III scale up the solution to reach based on the iterations of the previous stage and the new requirements stemming from the co-creation process with the procurers. It is the aim that after the end of the PCP process, procurers acquire solutions to full operational use. If further development is necessary to reach commercialisation, procurers and Preferred Partners can reach additional agreements. 

Who is responsible for operations in CircularPSP?

Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality is the Lead Procurer and is responsible for facilitating the challenge. 

Will there be exchange between suppliers and procurers during the tender phase and the project?

Yes, in multiple forms. During the tender, all information is shared via the website, OMCs and several tender training workshops will be organised shortly after the tender is launched.  

During the project, a Teams will be set up to share information with all suppliers and as a forum for public questions. Additionally, suppliers will have regular exchange with procurers to discuss progress, design etc.  

What are preferred partners?

Preferred partners are organisations (including cities) with a special interest in closely following the PCP process. They are likely future customers of successful suppliers. We will facilitate networking between suppliers and preferred partners. 

  • Your organisation contributes wherever possible to shape and validate the PCP goal by providing background information regarding the specific needs as a procurer.
  • Your organisation will be kept informed about all aspects of the PCP and granted access to all information concerning the PCP results. 
  • It is envisaged that your organisation gets access to the successful platforms during Phase 3 testing. 
  • Through your engagement, you gain insights and are first in line for the uptake of successful solutions through your own Public Procurement of Innovative solutions (PPIs). 
What are followers?

Related projects, platforms or organisations advancing the uptake of Circular Economy. The benefits for Followers are:

  • Receive the information about the PCP and be granted access to information concerning the PCP results.
  • Projects and platforms: Ensure your work and service is included in the CircularPSP solution to be made automatically accessible to all relevant cities (e.g. on national level)
  • Contribute, shape validate the PCP goal by providing input on how to uptake circular economy
How can one organisation become a Preferred Partner or Follower of CircularPSP?

You just need to contact us via mail. We will get back to you.  

How can I get updates on the project, OMC (Open Market Consultation) events, and tender?

Keep an eye on our website and subscribe to our NEWSLETTER, and follow us on TWITTER, MASTODON and LINKEDIN to be up to date with CircularPSP’s developments. 

How does Turkish legislation affect the PCP-rules?

The EU legislation is leading, the relevant Turkish tender regulation is compliant with EU-legislation. Everything will be clearly described in the Request for Tenders.

If we don’t operate in in the EU or Associated countries, can we then only spend 50% of the budget?

In such case the bid cannot be a sole operator and requires a consortium. If the consortium consists of companies from the EU and Associated countries, the full budget can be spend by the consortium. The 50% requirement applies to the share of the consortium that is not within the EU or Associated counties.

In most Member States, ‘traditional’, implies no exchange with the market (our intent). In some Member States ‘traditional’ means a coordinated design of tender specifications.

CircularPSP has initiated Open Market Consultations. We inform early and seek input, but we do not at any point design the tender specifications jointly with the market. Questions are welcome and will be answered directly and via this FAQ.

Are the cities already linked to an existing European program or platform (Circular Cities and Regions initiative, ACR+)? Will the project also be connected to one of those platforms?

We are currently in the process of registering the project on multiple platforms and networks. Multiple procurers are already members and will present the progress in these networks.

Consortia and Partners

Is it preferable that the consortium brings together local companies? Or can we form an international consortium?

There are no rules for the selection of the consortium, as long as a minimum of 50% of the project activities/budget takes place in the EU or associated countries (as of the date of the tender’s release).  

Is there any limitation on adding partners that might be introduced to a joint tender?

In case of joint tenders, the participants must be identified clearly in the tender. There may be no change in the composition of a group that tendered at the beginning of the PCP procedure. Adding subcontractors may be possible in some circumstances, which will be detailed in the Request for Tenders.  

Can the consortium be made of an SME and a Research Institute? Or does it need to be composed of only for-profit companies?

There are no rules for the setup of the consortium. Members can form it based on their needs and capabilities. 

Can a company or other kind of entity submit a tender alone or are you looking for consortia?

Tenders may be submitted by a single entity or in consortium with others and/or with subcontractors. 

Can you preview our company and advise us if we should participate in your tender?

Unfortunately, we cannot advise if you should participate or not in our Request for Tenders. However, we suggest you participate (or check the videos of previous) in the Open Market Consultations and review the documentation to get a detailed understanding of the requirements and funding conditions for your company. 

Is the challenge only open to Europe-based companies or also to companies outside Europe?

The call will be open to all participants, as long as a minimum of 50% of the project activities/budget takes place in the EU or Associated countries 

Request for Tenders

Will suppliers be able to choose the location of prototype studies?

No. The procurers will provide their, by design, scalable platform to all procures. How access is granted to preferred partners to gather more insights and to also provide opportunity to suppliers to exchange in detail with Preferred Partners will be determined in the Request for Tender. 

Are prototype tests going to be conducted in all sites where procurers are located?

All phases of prototypes, demos, and trials will be conducted in all procurer regions. These are Slovenia and Sweden (cities to be confirmed), Guimarães, Istanbul, Berlin, Helsinki, and Sandyford (Dublin) and for the Associated Partner London. See above on how Preferred Partners are to be involved. 

In an offer, do suppliers need to describe all the phases or only the first phase?

The exact requirements will be detailed in the Request for Tender and in the “Challenge Brief”. Offers will have to describe the approach to all three phases. To learn more about the phases go HERE 

How many languages/countries should the prototypes be able to address?

The proposal and project deliverables are to be delivered in English. Final solutions have to be delivered in the procurers’ languages (Slovenian, Turkish, Portuguese, German, Finnish, Swedish) and English. In addition to the required languages, the suppliers could also deliver the solutions in additional languages for dissemination or marketing purposes, but this may not necessarily be considered as a superior work, if accomplished 

What bids does CircularPSP expect?

The CircularPSP consortium expects bids from ICT companies (e.g., AI, platforms, Natural Language Processing, etc.), circular economy experts, research institutes (applied research), innovative SMEs and start-ups, among others. 

When will the request for tenders be launched?

The project calendar expects to launch the request for tenders in November 2023. It remains to be seen whether this date will be achieved or will have to be postponed due to external factors. Please check project website regularly, subscribe to the NEWSLETTER, and follow us on social media (TWITTER, MASTODON and LINKEDIN).  

How are specs and criteria for the platform defined? If this is through user research would this research be made available to the successful applicants?

We are conducting a survey among procurers and other interested organisations. Additionally, we conducted extensive focus groups. The results will be made public and accessible.

Should the platform include an open chat function on this platform, to enable people to learn from each other?

This is one of the possible approaches. Networking and learning from each other should be possible without language barriers. The exact requirements will be described in the Challenge Brief.

Could you provide more details on the requirements and systems should be integrated with the platform?

Specific requirements will be specified in the Request for Tenders, expected in November 2023, and in the Challenge Brief, expected in September 2023.

How does the intended platform relate to what regular procurement platforms offer?

CircularPSP does not intend to replicate or compete with any existing procurement platform. We believe that various procurements can be avoided in the first place and more work needs to be done within departments before any procurement is triggered. Hence, the CircularPSP solution is located “before” (and “after”) any procurement. In this context, a possible feature could be to extract relevant criteria from prior procurements via existing platforms to inform the user and empower to pick better criteria. Since the entire platform is to be built with interoperability at the core, capability to transfer data into existing system using standard protocols will be welcome. The exact requirements will be published in the Challenge Brief.

Can I submit only a part of the solution, or do I have to describe the complete solution?

A consortium must be able to answer the enter Challenge Brief. There will be no lots.

Is it eligible if one consortium proposes more than one solution?

It is expected that the CircularPSP challenge requires multiple technological components with to which a wide range of designs can be applied. If a consortium is not sure which solution approach is best suited it can describe which are to be assessed during Phase I of the project at the end of which the most promising design should be selected. The consortium must describe each alternative clearly without repetition of shared elements and the methodology by which the determination will be made.

Is it possible to access the need and requirement analysis of the cities in the project or will it be shared after the tender launch?

The results of the requirement analysis will be specified in the Request for Tender as part of the “Challenge Brief” expected to be released in November. Relevant research will be shared in Annex.

Competition Process

If we have an existing solution, is it possible to participate in the tender?

You can participate only with a solution that is not yet on the market. If there is a similar solution already in the market, there must be something discernibly new in your solution compared to existing ones. This does not preclude utilising already existing components or technologies. In the case of CircularPSP, one of the core challenges is to integrate a wide range of technologies, feature and services to accelerate public administrations transition to a circular economy 

What are the selection and award criteria for each phase? How does the EC participate in the evaluations? What is the evaluation board’s structure like?

For the exclusion, selection, compliance, and award criteria, please refer to the request for tender documents when they are published. The European Commission does not participate in the evaluations. They will be conducted by each procurer. Once finalised, the evaluations of all procurers will then be consolidated. The scorecard for the evaluation of the offers’ technical sections, as well as details of the evaluation, will be available in the request for tender documents.  

How are suppliers selected from one phase to the next?

Towards the end of each phase, suppliers hand in an (updated) offer which will be largely based on the initial offer and work conducted during the phase and to which further detail might be requested. The evaluation procedure described above is repeated. 

Is it allowed to try out new business models and investigate this during the piloting phase?

Yes, this is allowed.  

Will it be possible to do user research during the Solution Design (Phase I)?

Throughout the entire project, suppliers will have access to the procurers through monitoring calls and direct communication.

Testing by users is foreseen during Phase II and III, suppliers will be given access to cities and users to test the platform. A well-reasoned, limited and output-oriented effort to interact with users during Phase III will be decided on a case-by-case basis.

Who will select the initial set of suppliers?

The Evaluation Committee is nominated by the procurers who will select the suppliers based on the offer. The nominees are typically represented by the staff involved in the project. Each procurer has one vote.  


Can the tenderer get funding from other public sources?

Tenders that receive public funding from other sources will be excluded if this leads to double public financing or an accumulation of different types of public financing that is not permitted by EU legislation, including EU state aid rules. An on/off award criterion related to this point will be part of the Request for Tenders.  

The max. budget per phase is defined with a max. budget per supplier. With the term “supplier”, do you mean per consortium member or can subcontractors also be named as suppliers?

The term “supplier” refers to the entire consortium. You are able to divide the budget between your consortium members as you wish 

In case of a consortium: is funding available per ‘project’ or per partner per project?

The funding is for the consortium and the members of the consortium will share the budget 

In case the payment schedule is delayed by the Lead Procurer whereas the supplier has completed his mission, will there any financial interest be applied?


Is the approval of the European Commission needed for the payments for the selected suppliers?

No. As the Leading Procurer, Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality manages the budget.  

If the tender is accepted, when is the funding provided: before or after the phases of the Pre-Commercial Procurement?

Payments corresponding to each Pre-Commercial Procurement phase will be subject to the satisfactory completion of the deliverables and milestones for that phase. The payment schedule can be found in the tender documents. This may include pre-financing in Phases II and III.  

Is the budget equally shared among all suppliers in each phase?

The total budget for Phase I, II and III will be divided by the number of suppliers. This sum will be the ceiling for suppliers’ offers, not including the compensation for retained IP rights. The exact budget is determined by the offer of the suppliers. Suppliers compete in quality and price. The exact share will be announced in the Request for Tender.

Who will be issued for the suppliers’ invoices? Who will make the payments to the suppliers?

As the Leading Procurer, Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, manages the budget. Detail including the payment plan will be provided in the Request for Tender.

How will the commercialisation process be after the end of the Project? Will the suppliers share the IPRs with the consortium?

CircularPSP supports the pre-commercial development of solutions to be offered to municipalities across Europe after the end of the project. Therefore the IP remains with suppliers provided they do offer commercial products or services. In case they fail after four years, the procurers will gain access to IP. The pre-commercial instrument follows the risk-benefit sharing approach. The exact terms will be described in the Framework Agreement.

Tender Documents

Do you prefer to have all the information inserted in the designated forms in Word and Excel? Or can we enter in the Form a reference to an appendix (e.g. “see appendix XX”) which we can style as we please and images?

All the information has to be inserted into the designated forms, and images can be used in these forms. Suppliers are not allowed to send unrequired appendices.  

Is it possible for suppliers to suggest amendments and/or modifications to the Framework Agreement?

No, this is not possible.  

How are suppliers involved in drafting the tender?

Suppliers are not involved.

In what language will the tender information be published?

All project documentation will be in English.

Revision / Correction history


  • Added questions asked during OMC events
  • Minor edits