EU Horizon 2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Funding awarded to a project on Sustainable Public Procurement


We are part of a successful consortium of European Universities to be awarded the prestigious Horizon 2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Innovative Training Network (ITN). The project, called SAPIENS -Sustainability and Procurement in International, European, and National Systems- has been awarded with €3.9 million. and combines 10 universities from 8 countries.

The Greenwich team is led byProfessor Olga Martin-Ortega, at the School of Law and Criminology, who leads the Business, Human Rights and the Environment Research Group (BHRE).

The objective of SAPIENS is to foster interdisciplinary research into the evolving use of public procurement to address the social and environmental challenges of the 21st century

It aims to create a significantly increased European knowledge base and research capacity on the law, the economics and the business sciences of sustainable public procurement, thus helping Europe in addressing social and environmental challenges. At the heart of the project are 15 PhD projects on various multidisciplinary aspects of Sustainable Public Procurement linked to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The 15 Early Stage Researchers will attend common training programmes, participate in common public engagement, dissemination and impact activities, and benefit from a number of relevant placements in public institutions, think tanks, lobbyists, and international organisations. The project will not only offer extraordinary, global research and training opportunities to these researchers, but will also contribute to increasing the overall quality and innovation of doctoral training in Europe and beyond. The aim is to produce significant research results in law, economics, business studies and social science, make them openly available, facilitate the utilisation of that knowledge by policymakers, think tanks, business, and the legal and other professions, and to train a uniquely qualified cohort with professional prospects inside but also beyond academia.

The network is an interdisciplinary collaboration, pooling world-leading researchers from relevant disciplines of law, economics and business studies. The project is managed from the University of Turin (Italy) led by the Network Coordinator Professor Roberto Caranta and together with the University of Greenwich includes University of Birmingham (UK), University of Copenhagen (Denmark), Lodz Polytechnic (Poland), Corvinus University of Budapest (Hungary), Tor Vergata University of Rome (Italy), Hasselt University (Belgium), University of Gävle (Sweden), Babes-Bolyai University Romania). Moreover,18 partners, including the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the International Training Centre of the International Labour Organisation, George Washington University, Fair Trade Advocacy Office, Electronics Watch and Eating City, as well as national agencies and public purchasers are contributing to the training programme.

SAPIENS confirms the leadership of the University of Greenwich in the field of sustainable public procurement research

It also increases our international projection as it places us at the forefront of European research and collaboration. The Horizon 2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Innovative Training Network (ITN) are the most prestigious European (and global) research training networks today. The project will fully fund one Early Stage Researcher who will be primarily based at Greenwich developing her research under the supervision of Professor Martin-Ortega and another ESR who will be co-supervised by her and based at the University of Turin.

The Business, Human Right and the Environment Research Group (BHRE) is one of the leading centres of research on socially responsible public procurement in the UK and Europe

Led by Professor Olga Martin-Ortega the Research Group has a special focus on the protection and prevention of modern slavery and human trafficking in public supply chains. We develop policy relevant research which is highly valued by national and international institutions as well as civil society. We have supported the UK Home Office on their effort to prevent abuses in government supply chains, the Local Government Association, the London Universities Purchasing Consortium and several local councils. At international level we have produced guidance for the OSCE and are working with the International Labour Organisation in the development of their policy on Fair Labour Recruitment and Human Rights. We too partner with civil society organisations to further develop awareness and understanding of the risks to the human rights of those who produce the products we buy and provide the services we contract, including in the electronics industry through Electronics Watch.

This award not only confirms this leadership but will also allow us to grow our team and our European network to advance our research and knowledge transfer activities. We are looking forward to working together to advance the Sustainable Development Goals and make public procurement a force for change in public supply chains.