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Klara Granheimer Photo: Privat
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How may a public client promote innovation in the procurement of design services?

Published: 19 October 2022

The infrastructure sector is seen as a major source of carbon emissions. Therefore, public clients are encouraged to use public procurement to promote innovations for carbon reduction.

Since engineering consultants are usually involved in shaping future infrastructure, they are important actors. The study of the PhD student Klara Granheimer is supposed to investigate how a public client may promote innovation in the procurement of design services, focusing on carbon reduction.

The Swedish Transport Administration (STA), which is one of the biggest clients within the construction sector, is funding the study. Klara Granheimer is employed by the STA and thus combines doctoral studies with strategic procurement tasks. The research project is divided in two parts: part one finished with a licentiate degree at the Royal Institute of Technology this spring and part two starts in October at Luleå University of Technology with the aim of a PhD degree.    
Klara Granheimer will, together with Per Erik Eriksson, Professor at Industrialized and Sustainable Construction, Tina Karrbom Gustavsson, Professor at The Royal Institute of Technology and Erika Hedgren, Adjunct Professor at Industrialized and Sustainable Construction, research innovation within design services.

“Within academia, studies of public procurement of design services are rather few. Therefore, it is fun to contribute to more academic knowledge in the field,” says Klara Granheimer.     

In 2016, the Swedish government decided upon the National Public Procurement Strategy which aims to guide public clients. Among other things, the strategy clarifies that the clients should use public procurement as a strategic tool for doing business, that public procurement should drive innovation and be environmentally responsible.

”For me, being an externally employed doctoral student, the practical contribution in addition to the pure academic is also very important. I hope that the results from this study will contribute to increased knowledge regarding how public procurement may be used to promote carbon reduction, within the STA and other public clients,” says Klara Granheimer.  

The project starts with a literature study of research within the field. After that a case study of two design service contracts at the STA will be carried out, mostly using empirical material interviews and observations

Per-Erik Eriksson

Per-Erik Eriksson, Professor

Phone: +46 (0)920 493058
Organisation: Construction Management and Building Technology , Industrialized and sustainable construction, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering