LIFE 2014-2020

LIFE supports environmental conservation and climate change projects across Europe. The main three strands for which funding is available are Nature and biodiversity, Environment, and Climate change.

The UK is still a full member of the EU, and UK applicants are eligible for EU funding until new arrangements are agreed. 

With a budget in excess of €3.4bn, the general objective of LIFE is to contribute to the implementation, updating and development of EU environmental and climate policy and legislation by co-financing projects which demonstrably benefit from Europe-wide collaboration.

Case study: Bure LIFE

The main aim of the Bure LIFE project is to restore the lake habitat to a species-rich, clear-water state through minimal carbon footprint project actions. The restoration work will also benefit EU priority habitats, and species such as otter as well as water fowl including wigeon, gadwall and shoveler.

In addition, Bure LIFE will facilitate the removal of sediment from Hoveton Great Broad, increase the fen habitat available in the Broad, create a monitoring plan to capture the habitat response to the project’s actions and improve awareness and appreciation amongst local communities, visitors, land managers and a range of other target audiences.

The project is set to have completed these objectives by November 2020.

Natural England and the partnership received just over €3m from the LIFE programme, and levered in an additional €2m of funding from its partners.

Sub-programme 1: Environment

The Environment sub-programme of the LIFE programme is the main funding mechanism for projects in the area of the environment. The sub-programme has a budget of €2.6bn, and its three priorities are:

  • Environment and resource efficiency
  • Biodiversity
  • Environmental governance and information

Sub-programme 2: Climate action

With a budget of €800m, the sub-programme for climate action of the LIFE programme contributes to the shift towards a resource-efficient, low-carbon and climate-resilient economy. The three priorities under this sub-programme are:

  • Climate change mitigation
  • Climate change adaptation
  • Climate governance and information
More information about both sub-programmes can be found on the LIFE 2014-2020 programme website.

The LIFE programme has a number of different rates of match funding, and these are dependent on the activity proposed by each project. The list of rates is as follows:

For integrated projects, preparatory projects and technical assistance projects: 60% of your project can be funded by the programme.

For capacity building projects: 100% of the project can be funded.

For all other projects*: 60% between 2014 and 2017 (also known as the first multi-annual work programme period), dropping to 55% for 2018 to 2020 (the second multi-annual work programme period).

*Environment sub-programme 'Nature and biodiversity projects' will be funded at up to 60% for the complete period (2014-2020), with an increase to 75% for any projects targeting “priority habitats and species” under this objective.

Eligible applicants for the LIFE 2014-2020 programme include:

  • Private bodies including small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)
  • National, regional and local authorities
  • Non-governmental organisations active in the field environment and/or climate action
  • International organisations

The programme will periodically release documents alongside calls for projects under the objectives above which will give greater detail on the eligibility criteria for each specific call.  Potential applicants should keep up to date with the latest information by checking the programme website.

Projects within the LIFE programme will require that you have a number of partners, but these do not need to include partners from overseas. For the latest information about the partnerships required in the LIFE programme visit the programme website.

To keep up to date with the latest call dates for projects in the LIFE 2014-2020 programme’s first multi-annual work programme, check the programme website here.

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