An open cloud data storage service shared by 10 public research organisations from seven European countries has been recognised for its innovative use of procurement.
The Helix Nebula Science Cloud won the Procura+ Award for outstanding innovation through pre-commercial procurement–the procurement of research and development of new innovative solutions before they become commercially available.
The cloud service aims to meet the demands of large-scale scientific projects for big data storage and analysis tools. The consortium–headed by CERN, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research–required a service that was more adaptable to changing needs, and that provided a cloud-based system designed specifically for science and research.
“I believe [the Helix Nebula Science Cloud] is a good example of how multiple procurers from different European countries can work together to address a common need to contribute to establishing the single digital market,” Bob Jones, Senior Staff Member at CERN, told Cities Today.
Jones added that it would address a key sustainability point of reducing the impact of IT on climate change by allowing the public sector to make use of the most energy efficient means of procuring IT services.
“The resulting cloud services are now available as commercial services from the bidders and can be used by any city,” he said. “The [Helix Nebula Science Cloud] provides a best practice example of how the PCP instrument can be used by groupings of cities across Europe to procure innovative solutions.”
In other categories, Zurich’s initiative to use recycled concrete in buildings won for best procurement initiative; Ghent took the sustainable procurement award for a pilot procurement for ethically produced workwear line; and Frederiksberg’s partnership for decentralised cloudburst management was awarded for innovative procurement.
An honourable mention was given to SELECT for Cities for outstanding innovation in ICT procurement for the potential scale and impact of its smart city platform. SELECT identified the need to develop joined-up smart city solutions to ensure an interconnected marketplace. Different cities can use the same operating systems for user interfaces and applications.
The developed platform is open-source and can support innovative solutions across multiple cities by acting as an interface between different IoE service components and allows automated testing and validation of services. The cities of Antwerp and Helsinki are able to integrate the new platform and services into their already existing smart and participatory city plans.
The Procura+ Awards are partly funded by the Procure2Innovate project via the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.