General information

LIFE is the name of EU’s multiannual programme for Environment and Climate for the period 2014–2020.
The programme has an overall budget of 3.4 billion euro; for the remaining three years (2018-2020) the budget is over 1.6 billion euro. The LIFE programme is structured around two sub-programmes (each with specific thematic priority areas):

LIFE Environment: EUR 1.243.817.750

  • Environment and Resource Efficiency : EUR 444 808 200
  • Nature and Biodiversity: EUR 632 556 250
  • Environmental Governance and Information : EUR 143 377 30
  • European Solidarity Corps - Contribution from the LIFE sub-programme for Environment: EUR 3 000 000
  • Contribution to the Executive Agency budget from the sub-programme for Climate Action: EUR 20 076 000

LIFE ‘Climate Action’: EUR  413.245.250

  • Climate Change Mitigation: EUR 230 500 000
  • Climate Chance Adaptation: EUR 123 850 000
  • Climate Governance and Information: EUR 47 549 250  
  • European Solidarity Corps: EUR 1 500 000
  • Related support expenditure: EUR 9 846 000 

We will explain briefly the different thematic areas:

Environment & Resource Efficiency aims specifically at contributing to the development and implementation of EU environmental policy and legislation. The programme focusses on thematic priorities for the following five sectors: Water, including the marine environment; Waste; Resource Efficiency, including soil and forests, and green and circular economy; Environment and Health, including chemicals and noise; Air quality and emissions, including urban environment.

Nature & Biodiversity aims specifically at contributing to the development and implementation of EU policy and legislation in the area of nature and biodiversity. The thematic priorities for LIFE Nature projects are activities for the implementation of the Birds and/or Habitats Directives, in particular activities aimed at improving the conservation status of habitats and species, including marine habitat and species, and bird species, of Union interest; activities in support of the Natura 2000 network bio-geographical seminars; integrated approaches for the implementation of prioritised action frameworks. The thematic priorities for LIFE Biodiversity projects are activities for the implementation of the Union Biodiversity Strategy to 2020.

Environmental Governance & Information focuses among others on information, communication and awareness raising campaigns in line with the priorities of the 7th Environment Action Programme.

Climate Change Mitigation focuses on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

Climate Chance Adaptation focuses among others on projects that contribute to supporting efforts leading to increased resilience to climate change.

Climate Governance & Information focuses among others on projects that promote awareness raising on climate matters.

For whom?

The programme is open to the participation of entities registered in the Member States of the European Union being (1) public bodies, (2) private commercial organisations and (3) private non-commercial organisations (including NGOs). Also eligible are third countries and LIFE provides for activities outside the EU. It also provides a framework for cooperation with international organizations. The LIFE Programme may fund public and private bodies out of the following countries: EFTA, Candidate Countries, countries to which the European Neighbourhood Policy applies and countries which have become members of the European Environmental Agency, and some Overseas Countries and Territories (OCT).

Collaboration with one or multiple parties is not obligatory. However, in our experience, the participation of one or more international partners significantly increases your application's chance of success. Transnational projects will receive extra points in their evaluation.

Which projects?

LIFE can offer co-financing for so-called ‘traditional’ projects:

  • Best Practices: project that apply appropriate and cost-effective state-of-the-art techniques, methods and approaches taking into account the specific context of the project.
  • Demonstration projects: projects that put into practice, test, evaluate and disseminate actions, methodologies or approaches that are new or unknown in the specific context of the project, such as the geographical, ecological, socio-economic context, and that could be applied elsewhere in similar circumstances.
  • Pilot projects: projects that apply a technique or method that has not been applied or tested before or elsewhere, that offer potential environmental or climate advantages compared to current best practice, and that can subsequently be applied on a larger scale to similar situations.
  • Information, Awareness and Dissemination: projects supporting communication, dissemination of information and awareness raising in the fields of the LIFE-programme.

In addition, LIFE sometimes finances Integrated Projects, Technical Assistance and Preparatory projects.

Ask clarifications to our BIOPEN expert in Horizon2020 and in National and European funding programs