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EU LIFE Programme – funding for projects on climate and the environment

EU:n LIFE-ohjelma – rahoitusta ympäristö- ja ilmastohankkeisiin

The EU LIFE Programme is the only EU funding instrument intended exclusively for the environment, nature conservation and climate action. The Ministry of the Environment is the National Contact Point for the programme. The LIFE Programme has a budget of around EUR 3.4 billion (2014–2020).

LIFE is divided into two sub-programmes:

1) the Environment sub-programme, which finances projects promoting biodiversity conservation, environmental protection and resource efficiency, and environmental governance and information.

2) the Climate Action sub-programme, which finances projects promoting climate change mitigation, adaptation to climate change, climate management and the dissemination of climate information.

The European Commission's contribution to life projects is between 55 and 75 per cent of the total budget of the project, depending on the type of project and the sub-programme. The legal basis for the LIFE Programme is laid down in the EU LIFE Regulation (1293/2013).

What kinds of projects can receive funding?

LIFE-funded environment projects can explore topics such as water and the marine environment, wastes, resource efficiency, the environment and health, air quality or emissions. LIFE-funded nature projects should focus on measures to promote the implementation of the EU Habitats and Birds Directive, while the focus of biodiversity projects should be on implementing the EU Biodiversity Strategy. More detailed thematic priorities for LIFE-funded environment and nature projects can be found in the LIFE Programme's multiannual work programme for 2018–2020.

The themes of climate change mitigation projects can include renewable energy sources, energy efficiency, land use and carbon sinks, measures to improve the Emissions Trading Scheme, measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, or monitoring and reporting related to these. Climate change adaptation projects, for their part, may focus on the adaptation of urban areas, infrastructure resilience, flood and coastal management, or the adaptation of the agricultural, forestry and tourism sectors. More detailed information on possible themes for climate change projects can also be found in the multi-annual work programme.

Traditional LIFE projects focus on the piloting, demonstration, best practices or communication of solutions related to the above-mentioned themes. Traditional life projects are led by the applicant. Each year, the Ministry of the Environment organises a LIFE Info Seminar to share information on how to apply for traditional LIFE projects.

Integrated LIFE projects are extensive projects prepared in cooperation with the Ministry of the Environment and the applicant to implement environmental or climate-related plans or strategies required by EU environment or climate legislation, or prepared by national authorities. In addition to the core project financed with LIFE funding, the integrated LIFE projects involve complementary projects that receive funding from other EU, national or private funding sources. There are currently three integrated LIFE projects underway in Finland: Freshabit LIFE IP, Circwaste and Canemure.

Applying for LIFE funding

All legal persons registered in the EU can apply for LIFE funding, including companies, research institutes, public administration bodies and non-governmental organisations. The call for applications for LIFE funding takes place once a year. It opens in April and closes either in June (Environment sub-programme) or September (Climate Action sub-programme). Applications are submitted in English using the Commission’s eProposal service.

The application for the Environment sub-programme is completed in two phases: In the first phase, the applicant submits a concept paper of around 10 pages in length, based on which the Commission invites some of the projects to the second application phase. Applicants invited to the second phase will then submit a detailed project plan. The application for the Climate sub-programme consists of one stage, in which the applicant submits a detailed project plan. The LIFE project application process takes about one year.

An important criterion for granting LIFE funding is the added value of the project for the EU, which means that the project must contribute to the priorities and specific objectives set out in the LIFE Regulation and the multiannual work programme. Another important selection criterion is the sustainability of the results of the project, i.e. the ability to maintain the results of the project in the long term by sharing, reproducing or transferring the results.

More information on the LIFE application schedule can be found on the Commission’s LIFE application website. On the website, the applicant can also access the most recent application package, which provides details on the application process for each sub-programme.

Ministry of the Environment financing for preparing applications for LIFE financing and co-financing for LIFE projects

The Ministry of the Environment supports LIFE projects by granting financing for preparing applications for LIFE financing and national co-financing (EUR 30,000, 50,000 or 100,000) for competitive LIFE projects that serve the Ministry’s strategy. The call for applications opens on 23 January 2020, and there are two application periods. The first period closes on 28 February 2020 and the second on 29 April 2020. Please find more information in the application guidelines below.

Info seminar on LIFE 2020 will be held at the Ministry of the Environment (Pankkisali) on Thursday 23 April 2020 at 11–16.

LIFE 2019 Info Seminar


Pekka Harju-Autti
Ministerial Adviser
tel. +358 50 365 2359

Milka Parviainen
Senior Specialist
tel. +358 50 475 2218

Heta-Elena Heiskanen
Senior Specialist
tel. +358 50 347 1132


Published 2020-01-17 at 17:49, updated 2020-01-27 at 15:19