LIFE 2021 Opens in a New Format

LIFE 2021 in new format

For almost 30 years, LIFE has been the primary European funding programme for pilot and demonstration projects in the field of nature and environment. Since 2014, climate mitigation and adaptation have been added as topics. In the recently published 2021 call, two further topics have been added: “Circular economy and quality of life” and “Sustainable energy transition”. In this blog, we will update you.

New Types of Nature, Environment, and Climate Projects: SNAP & SIP

In terms of content, LIFE is still looking for pilot and demonstration projects that provide solutions to problems that are widespread across Europe. In addition to the traditional projects within the Environment, Nature, and Climate programmes—now renamed Standard Action Projects (SAP)—the new LIFE programme also includes more tailored project types: Strategic Nature Projects (SNAP) and Strategic Integrated Projects (SIP).

SNAP and SIP provide funding for activities that explicitly aim to implement European legislation, plans, and strategies at a regional, national, or transnational level. SNAP concerns the implementation of the EU Habitats Directive and other regulations on nature and biodiversity; whilst SIP supports the implementation of regulations on climate and circular economy.

Finally, there are also special SNAP and SIP calls that focus exclusively on Technical Assistance (TA). This involves additional funding for the writing and submission of an SNAP or SIP application. This can include networking activities, training of staff, but also hiring external expertise for writing the grant application.

Sustainable Energy Transition: Other Actions

The new theme “Circular economy and quality of life” follows the approach of Environment and Climate mitigation and adaptation—i.e., calls covering a broad scope of topics. “Sustainable Energy Transition”, however, has a completely different set-up. Instead of a broader, thematic call, the programme consists of 18 very specific calls, known as the so-called Other Actions (OA).

Eligible activities range from supporting network and communication activities, small nature conservation and ecosystem services-based climate actions in overseas territories (the so-called BEST, with a maximum of €100,000 funding) and pilot projects that focus on removing barriers in the transition to a climate-neutral Europe. For a complete list of calls, we would like to refer you to our website.  

Opportunities for NGOs: Operating Grants

The above calls are aimed at companies and governments. Finally, there are the Operating Grants (OG), specifically aimed at supporting NGOs in making a contribution to EU goals relating to nature, environment, climate, and the energy transition. An application consists of two steps: first, the submission of a three-year plan (Framework Partnership Agreement); and second, the application for a grant (Grant Agreement). The OG resemble the earlier grant call addressed to NGOs in support of the European Green Deal, as described in our blog of 17 December 2020

The table below provides an overview of the most important key figures and deadlines for each type of project.

Deadlines and Key Figures

Type ProjectAverage Project SizeMax. Funding of Eligible CostsMax. Project DurationDeadlines
SAP€2-6 million50-70%3-5 years30 November 2021
SNAP€15-50 million60%14 years1e phase: 19 Oktober 2021
2e phase: 7 April 2022
SIP€10-30 million60%14 years1e phase: 19 Oktober 2021
2e phase: 7 April 2022
OA€2-7 million95-100%18 months12 January 2022
SIP & SNAP TAMax. €70.00060%5 years22 September 2021
OG€0,4 - €0,3 million70%1 year28 September 2021

Most applications have a single phase. SNAP and SIP are exceptions.

Would You Like to Identify Your Opportunities?

All calls are now open for applications. Do you have a project idea that might be eligible for funding under the new LIFE programme, and are you in need of a sounding board or assistance in selecting the right call? We are keen to help. Please do not hesitate to contact us soon, because most deadlines are in the autumn of 2021. Now is the perfect time to start working on a sound project definition, consortium formation, and writing the grant application.


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