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Innovative Procurement

Agile procurement for “Mein Bildungsraum”: flexible approach for innovative development

A functioning basic framework for the digital network infrastructure is supposed to go online in the autumn of 2023 – a minimum viable product (MVP) in software development terms. This will mark the start of testing the “Mein Bildungsraum” functionality. For developing the required software components, multiple services need to be procured . The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) therefore established a dynamic purchasing system (DPS) at the end of June 2022.

Tendering through the dynamic purchasing system

The dynamic purchasing system is a two-stage digital procedure for the procurement of commercially available services. In the first stage, companies apply for participation in the dynamic purchasing system. Concrete services are subsequently awarded through a mini-competition with the suitable bidders. This procedure is very well suited for the procurement of individual components, since the entire infrastructure is not tendered at once. 

A DPS is characterised by a low barrier to participation, since potential bidders can participate continuously during the entire term of the dynamic purchasing system. Any company is fundamentally permitted to submit an application for participation in the dynamic purchasing system. This sets the system apart from classic master agreements with a fixed and therefore exclusive group of participants over the entire contract term. Suitability criteria established in the announcement are used to evaluate the submitted applications for participation.

The inclusion of market expertise in the development of the digital network infrastructure can be optimised with the dynamic purchasing system. It gives bidders the flexibility to participate in the individual mini-competitions. Small and midsize enterprises as well as start-ups in particular are therefore included and given the opportunity to contribute innovative approaches and groundwork to the development of the components. The suitability criteria for participation are defined accordingly. At the same time, the agile nature of the dynamic purchasing system provides the flexibility to quickly respond to technical and functional requirements during the course of the project.

The mini-competitions held to date within this framework are structured according to the development services required for the basic components. Numerous companies and bidder consortiums have applied. Initial contracts have been awarded since October 2022. 

An accompanying external evaluation was also commissioned to verify the successful development of the digital network infrastructure. The evaluation assesses the target achievement, impact and cost-effectiveness of project. Adaptations are suggested as needed.

Basic project information

“Mein Bildungsraum” (announced as a national education platform) is a major project within the framework of the German Development and Resilience Plan (DARP). Around 500 million euros of the total DARP volume of 630 million euros is intended for the procurement of the five basic components of the networking concept and the digital learning space. Conceptual groundwork has been ongoing since 2021 in the “BIRD” research and development project. Around 40 reference projects of the entire educational sector are also being funded since September 2022. They are dedicated to the development of additional learning and teaching opportunities in all areas of education to establish the digital learning space.