LIFE is the only European grant scheme specifically dedicated to the environment. The programme focuses on projects that demonstrate innovative concepts or technologies with European added value.
The development and implementation of EU policy on the environment and climate issues is an important focus, as is an emphasis on monitoring and knowledge dissemination. Specifically, the new programme for the period 2021-2027 will focus on the following three aspects:
- Transition towards a clean, circular, energy-efficient, less fossil-based and climate-robust economy, including sustainable energy transition;
- Improving and protecting the quality of the environment; and
- Halting and reversing biodiversity degradation, with attention for sustainable development.
The budget for the period 2021-2027 is €5.45 billion. LIFE has two programmes, each with two subcategories. More information is provided below.
Types of Projects
Before we address the different (sub)programmes and the related calls for funding, it is important to make a distinction between the different tpes of calls, or “actions”:
- Standard Action Projects (SAP)
- Strategic Nature Projects (SNAP)
- Strategic Integrated Projects (SIP)
- Technical Assistance (TA)
- Other Actions (OA, incl. Coordination and Support Actions, CSA)
Operating Grants (voor NGO’s)
In the abbreviations of the specific calls you can see what kind of action it is.
Sub-programme Circular Economy & Quality of Life
- This includes projects focusing on best practice, technology, and solutions at local, regional, and national levels. An example is finding solutions for plastic pollution in the ocean.
- This concerns four calls:
- LIFE-2021-SAP-ENV Circular Economy and Quality of Life
- LIFE-2021-SAP-ENV-GOV Environment Governance
- LIFE-2021-STRAT-ENV-SIP-two-stage Strategic Integrated Projects
- LIFE-2021-TA-PP-ENV-SIP – Technical Assistance preparation of ENV SIPs
- The total budget comprises €1.35 billion.
Sub-programme Nature and Biodiversity
- These are projects that halt the loss of biodiversity and restore ecosystem services.
- An important focus remains support for areas within the Natura 2000 network. In addition, there is extra attention for marine ecosystems.
- This concerns also four calls:
LIFE-2021-SAP-NAT Nature and Biodiversity
LIFE-2021-SAP-NAT-GOV Nature Governance
LIFE-2021-TA-PP-NAT-SNAP – Technical Assistance preparation of SNAPs
- The total budget for Nature and Biodiversity is €2.15 billion.
Programme Climate Action
Sub-programme Climate Mitigation and Adaptation
- This programme is aimed at mitigating and creating resilience to the consequences of climate change. You may think of the creation of urban nature, but also the development of, for example, alternative nature management strategies.
- This concerns 5 calls:
LIFE-2021-SAP-CLIMA-CCA – Climate Change Adaptation
LIFE-2021-SAP-CLIMA-CCM – Climate Change Mitigation
LIFE-2021-SAP-CLIMA-GOV Climate Governance and Information
LIFE-2021-STRAT-two-stage Climate Change
LIFE-2021-TA-PP-CLIMA-SIP – Technical Assistance preparation of CLIMA SIPs
- The budget for this programme comprises €0.95 billion.
Sub-programme Sustainable Energy Transition
- This programme is intended for projects that work on the transition towards sustainable energy in Europe. In addition, there is extra attention for regions that have less access to other subsidies and are therefore at risk of being left behind. Examples are small-scale renewable energy sources and projects aimed at energy efficiency.
- This concerns 18 specific calls:
- LIFE-2021-CET-LOCAL: Technical support to clean energy transition plans and strategies in municipalities and regions
- LIFE-2021-CET-POLICY: Towards an effective implementation of key legislation in the field of sustainable energy
- LIFE-2021-CET-GOV: Multilevel climate and energy dialogue to deliver the energy Governance
- LIFE-2021-CET-BUILDRENO: Large-scale rollout of industrialised deep renovation solutions
- LIFE-2021-CET-AUDITS: Uptake of energy audits recommendations for the energy transition of companies
- LIFE-2021-CET-VALUECHAIN: Fostering sustainable energy uptake along the whole value chain in industry and services
- LIFE-2021-CET-BUILDSKILLS: BUILD UP Skills – rebooting the National Platforms and Roadmaps
- LIFE-2021-CET-COOLING: Facing the increase in cooling demand of buildings in the coming years
- LIFE-2021-CET-SMARTSERV: Establish innovative business models and contractual schemes for smart and sector-integrating energy services
- LIFE-2021-CET-SMARTREADY: Creating the conditions for a global improvement of smart readiness of European buildings
- LIFE-2021-CET-MAINSTREAM: Mainstreaming sustainable energy finance and integrating energy performance in EU sustainable finance criteria and standards
- LIFE-2021-CET-INNOFIN: Innovative financing schemes for sustainable energy investment
- LIFE-2021-CET-HOMERENO: Integrated Home Renovation Services
- LIFE-2021-CET-HOMERECOM: EU community of Integrated Home Renovation Services practitioners
- LIFE-2021-CET-COALREGIONS: Community-driven clean energy transition in coal, peat and oil-shale regions
- LIFE-2021-CET-PDA: Disruptive PDA – Technical Assistance to advance market boundaries for sustainable energy investments
- LIFE-2021-CET-ENERPOV: Addressing building related interventions for vulnerable districts
- LIFE-2021-CET-ENERCOM: Developing support mechanisms for energy communities and other citizen-led initiatives in the field of sustainable
- The total budget amounts to €1 billion.
Operating grants for NGO’s
- LIFE-2021-NGO-OG-FPA: Voor het opstellen van een driejarige samenwerkingsovereenkomst (FPA) tussen de consortiumpartners
- LIFE-2021-NGO-OG-SGA: Voor het opstellen van een éénjarige projectovereenkomst (SGA)
- The total budget amounts to €12.37 million per call.
LIFE Target Groups
LIFE is open to governments, companies, knowledge institutions, and NGOs working on demonstration projects in the fields of nature and biodiversity, innovative environmental technology, and climate change. Whilst international cooperation is an advantage, unlike most other European grant schemes, it is not obligatory.
Grant rates, average project size and project duration differ per call. The same applies to the deadlines. Read more about this in our blog. The following key figures apply to the Standard Action Projects:
- In 2021 there will be a single call with 1 phase for all themes
- Grant percentage: 50-70% of eligible costs
- Average grant size: € 1-3 million
- Typical project duration: 3-5 years
Examples of projects subsidised with LIFE
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