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.
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.
- The total budget comprises €1.35 billion.
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.
- New to the programme are the so-called Strategic Nature Projects, which specifically aim to integrate nature and biodiversity with other EU policy issues, such as agriculture.
- The total budget for Nature and Biodiversity is €2.15 billion.
Sub-programme Climate Action
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.
- The budget for this programme comprises €0.95 billion.
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.
- The total budget amounts to €1 billion.
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.
- Annual tender per theme: Applications for the sub-programme Environment take place in two phases, with the first taking place in the spring and the second in the autumn. For the Climate sub-programme there is a single phase, which opens in the autumn (indicative: first half of September).
- Grant percentage: 50-70% of eligible costs
- Average grant size: € 1-3 million
- Typical project duration: 3-5 years
We also refer NGOs to the temporary LIFE NGO call within the framework of the European Green Deal. More information can be found here. This call closes on 31 March 2021, so if you are interested, please contact us as soon as possible.
Examples of projects subsidised with LIFE
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