21 December 2018 | Report

A comparative analysis of public procurement frameworks and practices in universities in Portugal and selected EU member states

A substantial share of public investment is spent on public procurement in the European Union and quality public services depend on well-managed and efficient modern procurement. Public higher education institutions, including university hospitals, are important public procurers. Universities act not only as buyers (of goods, services and works), but also as providers for other public authorities as well as companies, particularly in the context of research, development and innovation.


On average, Europe’s public universities spend 10-15% of their annual operational budgets on purchasing goods, services and works. This makes them major contributors to a dynamic, innovative, resource-efficient and socially inclusive economy and ecosystem. In purchasing the goods and services needed to achieve their mission, universities can deliver efficiencies and value for money in higher education and research.
In this context, it is vital to: understand the procurement needs of higher education institutions, identify enablers of efficient and effective procurement in the higher education sector, and analyse potential hurdles, be they at system (EU, national or regional) level, or inherent in institutional practices and governance frameworks.

The European University Association wrote this report for the Portuguese higher education sector. It is designed to provide a comparative overview of the existing public procurement frameworks in selected EU member states and to showcase the procurement systems and good practice at several universities. The analysis presented in this report was conducted during the final wave of changes to national procurement legislation triggered by the transposition of EU Procurement Directives. While many member states have delayed this process, the subsequent implementation period will see many public organisations, including universities, adopt new approaches to achieve better procurement results. Next to an analysis of the 2014 EU Directive on public procurement, the study covers a sample of seven benchmark countries representing different government, legal and university traditions: Austria, Finland, France, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain.

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