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User-driven procurement

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Subject area/Theme:

User Engagement/Governance

Best Practice:

The funds of programmes for Earth Observation related service development, such as GMES*, should be decided about by those who are expected to use the outcomes of the funded activities. For each funding line, the respective contracting bodies should truly represent the majority of the users and their needs, as a prerequisite for such programmes to be user-driven instead of supply-driven.

Explain why is there a need for this Best Practice?

The currently running GMES* projects are supply-driven instead of user-driven, as a consequence of the structures defined by the procurement processes. Thus far, GMES* related calls for proposals by ESA (European Space Agency) and by the European Commission, laid out an approach in which all resulting projects are initiated and led by service providers. Accordingly, potential users could not decide about project design, budgets and tasks at an early stage of project development. Indeed, the planning of these projects is mostly done without significant user inputs, so that the future operational implementation of the services is not always realistically envisaged. However, user involvement in project related User Boards and/or in data validation activities - although not sufficient to ensure user empowerment of project results - have at least contributed to spread knowledge on GMES* potentalities.

Cf Projects led and managed by users

Provide an example application(s):


How widely deployed is this practice (if applicable)

Not applicable  

Owner (Originator) Contact Information:

Best Practices/GEOSS Transverse Areas/Data and Architecture/Bottom up aggregation of land cover data/GNU.jpg

Submitter Contact Information:


Detailed Description of Best Practice

A user-driven programme with most funding decided by the advocates of the supply side is a contradiction which needs to be resolved to improve the acceptance by the variegated user communities. A user oriented GMES* project procurement is essential because these projects develop and prepare future services that will, on an operational basis, deliver data products and information services to users who are ultimately responsible for sustaining market demand over time. 

There are good examples of programmes which have a decisive role in the procurement process to target groups identified as users of the expected outcomes, such as Twinning projects, EuropeAid programmes and projects, Structural Funds, Life+.

Importantly, this issue must be decided on a programm level, it can hardly be addressed on a project level. For GMES* this could be accomplished through managed by GMES* procurement offices situated in the national Environment Ministries or similar organisations, which are both users and advocates of the wider user communities in their countries. Project evaluation and selection during procurement phases could then be accomplished in collaboration with international reviewers and supervised by the European Commission's Directorate General Environment.

Although this practice relates specifically to the European GMES* programme, it is relevant also in the context of GEO, firstly because GMES* is a major constituent of GEO and, secondly, because this practice will be applicable to Earth Observation related procurement and funding programmes outside of Europe as well. 

)* Global Monitoring for Environment and Security, the European contribution to GEO.


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