Elior Korem, visiting PhD researcher at UUCePP, on: Public procurement from an Israeli perspective and Fermat’s Last Theorem

'Who' and 'what' are you?

My name is Elior Korem. I am a PhD student at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem law faculty, and a visiting PhD researcher at UUCePP. My PhD supervisor is Prof. Eyal Zamir. I have been practicing commercial and administrative law as a private attorney for over a decade, and was drawn to the field of public procurement. Once I glanced up and discovered the brilliant research in the field and the fascinating questions it poses, I could not look back.

New to the Netherlands, I am enjoying its rich scenery, culture, and history. My family and I love the nature here and the warm welcoming spirit.   

What are you working on, and why?

My primary research question centers on improving public procurement practices in Israel. Initially, Israel’s public procurement principles and rules were developed on a case-by-case basis by its Supreme Court, seating as the High Court of Justice overseeing administrative actions. Many of these principles and rules were subsequently codified with the enactment of Israel’s Mandatory Tender Law and Regulations in the early 1990s.

Arguably, the historical evolution of Israel’s public procurement legal framework has led its public procurement system to underperform. Heavy emphasis was given to compliance with legal constraints while overlooking the fulfillment of public goals, envisaged in economic, social, and environmental policies. Thereby, not affording enough attention to innovative and efficient procurement practices, such as centralized purchasing, framework agreements, competitive negotiations/dialogue, alternative award methods, green public procurement, innovation procurement, dynamic purchasing systems, and more.

What do you get out of bed for every morning? And is that different now that we have started working hybrid?

Well, usually the kids wake me up bright and early. But seriously, after all the morning hustle, what motivates me and keeps me going is just knowing more about the world. Public procurement resides at an intersection of public and private law, economics, and various others areas of knowledge. It provides me ample food for thought. I like hybrid work because it allows for a better day-to-day balance.

Our world seems to be in a continuous state of various crises (environment, COVID19, Ukraine): Can you indicate for one (or possibly several) of these crises how this affects your field?

I believe that public procurement should play a significant role in fighting climate change and safeguarding the environment. Governments’ purchasing power should be harnessed to achieve this goal. Public procurement practices that lead to reduced resource consumption, not only enhance environmental protection but also save public money. Governments can also mitigate climate change by lowering their environmental footprint, encouraging R&D of innovative green products, and setting an example for the private sector in adopting environmentally friendly practices. In my dissertation, I hope to further discuss these common policies from an Israeli perspective.

Name the book/movie/thinker that impressed you the most, shaped you, would like to read or see you 100 more times and why?

One book that really sparked my imagination was Simon Singh’s FERMAT’S LAST THEOREM. For me, it underlined how a good combination of persistence and curiosity can endure the toughest challenges. Just in case I need inspiration, I brought a copy of it with me to the Netherlands.  

“A view of my home town beach, where I spent lots of happy Saturdays sailing and rowing with the Sea-Scouts. It is our duty to preserve nature for future generations.”