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LIFE Programme to open new calls for proposals and expand its future scope

The Life programme is the EU’s funding instrument for the environment and climate action created in 1992. The current funding period 2014-2020 has a budget of €3.4 billion.

The programme is divided into two sub-programmes, one for environment (representing 75% of the overall financial envelope) and one for climate action (representing 25% of the envelope). Both sub-programmes are due to open all their new calls on the 4th of April 2019 on the following topics:

Environment sub-programme

Climate action sub-programme


LIFE EU Infoday

The European Commission is organising an Information & Networking Day on the 2019 LIFE call for project proposals on April 30.

The event is open to potential applicants presenting project proposals on green technology, nature protection and climate action. Participants will be invited to a morning information session on the 2019 LIFE call, covering significant changes to the programme compared to previous years.

The afternoon will be dedicated to networking with fellow participants to share experience, match with potential new partners and meet representatives of the LIFE programme from the European Commission.

Registrations are open until 25 April. Read more and register now.


LIFE Program in 2021-2027:

The LIFE programme is among the EU funding programmes for which the Commission has proposed the largest proportional budget increase for the period 2021-2027: from €3.4 billion to €5.45 billion (+60%) in current prices (0.43% of total EU spending).

Raising the level of ambition for climate financing, the Commission has also proposed that at least 25% of EU expenditure across all EU programmes should contribute to climate objectives.

In addition to its own direct achievements, the LIFE programme will act as a catalyst for other funds. The main elements of the new LIFE programme (2021-2027) include:

  • Continued support for the transition to a circular economy and enhanced climate change mitigation: this includes funding for delivering on milestone policy objectives in line with EU’s strategic long-term vision for a prosperous, modern, competitive and climate neutral economy by 2050.
  • An increased focus on supporting the clean energy transition: a new specific sub-programme (LIFE-Energy) will stimulate investment and support activities focused on energy efficiency and renewable energy, especially towards sectors and European regions lagging behind in the transition towards clean energy (current proposal of € 1 billion).;
  • An increased focus on nature and biodiversity: a traditional strand of the LIFE programme, the new, dedicated ‘Strategic Nature Projects’ for all Member States will help mainstream nature and biodiversity policy objectives into other policies and financing programmes, such as agriculture and rural development, ensuring a more coherent approach across sectors;
  • A simple and flexible approach, with focus on developing and implementing innovative ways to respond to environment and climate challenges.

Finally, there are also talks of setting aside at least 25% of the budget to be used in Integrated Projects (IP’s) [IP’s = projects implementing on a large territorial scale (regional, multi-regional, national or trans-national scale) climate action plans, strategies or roadmaps required by specific Union climate legislation]


Next Steps

The provisional agreement is now subject to formal approval by the European Parliament and the Council. The budgetary aspects and related horizontal provisions of the future LIFE programme are subject to the overall agreement on the EU’s next long-term budget, proposed by the Commission in May 2018.


Zabala can help make your LIFE project a success! 

During the period 2016-2017, ZABALA reached a 60% funding success rate for proposals submitted under the LIFE programme, achieving a total of 18 funded projects with coordinators and partners from more than 4 EU Members States.  The European average funding rate in the same period is about 20%.

Notably, ZABALA also supported the preparation of the unique Spanish LIFE Integrated Project in the area of Climate Change (NADAPTA project, from the region of Navarre with more than €9 Million)

The last call in 2018 was another milestone since the LIFE Programme started a new 2-stage call procedure (Concept Note + Full Proposal) in the traditional projects of the Environment sub-programme (the most competitive sub-area). 60% of the Concept Notes submitted by ZABALA last June 2018 were invited for full-proposal submission in January 2019. The estimated success rate at European level on the same call is estimated between 24% and 30% of the more than 1000 concept notes submitted.  The final results on these proposals are expected to be known next June 2019.


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