LIFE launches grant round for European environmental projects

Published on: 5 May 2021 | Last edited on: 28 July 2022

The European grant program LIFE will reopen soon for grant applications, probably in mid-June. This will be the very first call of the new LIFE program 2021-2027. Read more about the program, the target group and the grant opportunities here.

About the LIFE program

LIFE is the most important European grant program in the field of environment and climate. The LIFE program 2014-2020 has delivered many great projects. This year sees the launch of an entirely new LIFE multi-year program for the period 2021-2027. With a subsidy budget totaling no less than 5.45 billion euros. This money will be distributed through various grant rounds (‘calls for proposals’).

The new LIFE multi-year program consists of four separate sub-programs. These are:

  • Nature and Biodiversity;
  • Circular economy and quality of life;
  • Climate adaptation and mitigation;
  • Clean energy transition (CET).

First LIFE grant call expected in June

What do we already know about the 2021 LIFE grant call? First, on June 14, the multi-year LIFE work programme will be officially endorsed. Shortly thereafter, the 2021 LIFE Grant Call will be published, with further details on this year’s topics. It is expected that this call for proposals will open for applications in mid-June. So while exact details on the topics are not yet known, it is already clear that it will include:

  • a broad call for “traditional projects” within the first three subprograms (these types of projects include pilots and demonstration projects);
  • a targeted call for the new fourth sub-programme “clean energy transition” (a new component, which also represents a broadening of the previous LIFE objectives);
  • an additional call, specifically addressed to NGOs active in the environment and/or climate field (they can apply for an “operational grant” for office costs).

Target group of the LIFE Programme

The LIFE program is in principle open to companies, knowledge institutions, government organizations and NGOs working on environmental and climate innovations in the EU. However, the bar is set quite high: small innovations or ordinary environmental investments fall outside the scope of the LIFE program. Opportunities exist only for innovative projects with a significant positive environmental impact (at least at European level) that are also readily replicable at other locations in Europe. Usually, these are multi-year innovation projects based on pilots, demonstrations and best practices. Although in principle a LIFE application can be submitted by a single party, LIFE projects are often carried out by collaborations involving several European partners.

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