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International comparison of public procurement during the Covid-19 crisis

The Public Procurement Research Centre (PPRC), in collaboration with the University of Twente and Erasmus School of Health Policy & Management has been awarded funding for Project MASSC: MAterials Supply Strategies in a Crisis. This is an international comparative study of the procurement and supply of critical materials, such as personal protective equipment (PPE), tests and respiratory equipment, during the Covid-19 crisis. Professor Jan Telgen explains: ‘The aim of the study is to learn from an international comparison of the different procurement strategies adopted during the Covid-19 crisis. We expect to have the results by the end of 2021.’

The grant awarded is part of a wider programme being undertaken by the Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development (Zon Mw), which includes studies into social dynamics during and after the Covid-19 crisis and the associated measures taken. The aim is to generate knowledge about the effectiveness and impact of various measures and strategies applied in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Three-part study

The research will consist of three parts. The first will focus on investigating the procurement of vital materials in the Netherlands at the national level, but also in relation to various institutions in the ‘cure’ (hospitals) and ‘care’ (including nursing homes) sectors. The aim is to establish an accurate picture of what was done, by whom and when, as well as how the relevant actors intend to handle a future crisis. In the second part of the study, similar information is collected at the national level in 23 different countries, by conducting interviews with the most senior procurement officials in those countries. The third stage of the research will bring parts one and two together, comparing the facts and experiences in the Netherlands with data from the 23 other countries. Specifically, strategies such as building up countries’ own national manufacturing capacity, amassing significant stockpiles or making agreements with suppliers will be considered.


Some 520 research proposals were submitted for this particular focus area. Ultimately, the Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development awarded grants for 31 proposals as part of this programme, including this research into international procurement strategies for critical materials during the Covid-19 crisis.

Public Procurement Research Centre (PPRC)

The PPRC is a social enterprise that aims to generate and disseminate knowledge about procurement in the public sector. The aim is for our employees to further their academic careers by publishing scientific articles. The funding required for this is obtained by conducting paid research. The PPRC is therefore expressly a non-profit organisation: all income generated is used for research purposes. To ensure compliance with this objective, shares in the PPRC are owned by a foundation that monitors compliance with this objective.

Further information

For more information about the project or the consortium, please contact prof. Jan Telgen or prof. Louise Knight

drs. M.M.J. van Hillegersberg - Hofmans (Martine)
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