life subsidie

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.

CINEA, the European Executive Agency for Climate, Infrastructure and the Environment, has reported that the calls for the LIFE Programme 2022 are expected to be launched on 17 May 2022. 

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”:

Action Grants

  • 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.

Programme Environment

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 five calls:
    • LIFE-2021-SAP-ENV Circular Economy and Quality of Life (closed)
    • LIFE-2021-SAP-ENV-GOV Environment Governance (closed)
    • LIFE-2021-STRAT-ENV-SIP-two-stage Strategic Integrated Projects (deadline concept note 8 September 2022; full proposal 7 March 2023)
    • LIFE-2021-TA-PP-ENV-SIP – Technical Assistance preparation of ENV SIPs (closed)

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 six calls:
    • LIFE-2021-SAP-NAT Nature and Biodiversity (closed)

    • LIFE-2021-SAP-NAT-GOV Nature Governance (closed)

    • LIFE-2021-STRAT-NAT-SNAP-two-stage (deadline concept note 8 September 2022; full proposal 7 March 2023)

    • LIFE-2021-TA-PP-NAT-SNAP – Technical Assistance preparation of SNAPs (closed)

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 (closed)

    • LIFE-2021-SAP-CLIMA-CCM – Climate Change Mitigation (closed)

    • LIFE-2021-SAP-CLIMA-GOV Climate Governance and Information (closed)

    • LIFE-2021-STRAT-two-stage Climate Change (deadlines concept note 8 September 2022; full prposal 7 March 2023)

    • LIFE-2021-TA-PP-CLIMA-SIP – Technical Assistance preparation of CLIMA SIPs (closed)

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 concerned 19 specific calls in 2021:
    • LIFE-2021-CET-EUCF – European City Facility 
    • 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                                    

It is not yet known whether these calls will all return in 2022. 

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)

Other actions

  • LIFE-2021-PREP: For the development and implementation of Union environmental or climate policy and legislation. 

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.

Key Figures

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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