LIFE call 2021 will open in June

The first LIFE-call of the EU-programme period 2021-2027 will open soon. Once again, different types of organisations can submit a LIFE application for their sustainability project. The 2021 call has a broader scope compared to previous LIFE calls (2014-2020). As of this year, pilot projects – focusing on nature & biodiversity, climate mitigation & adaptation and the transition to clean energy – can be eligible for a LIFE grant.

General objective of the LIFE programme

The general objective of the LIFE programme for 2021-2027 is:

  • to contribute to the shift towards a clean, circular, energy efficient, climate neutral and climate resilient economy, including through the transition to clean energy;
  • to protect, repair and improve the quality of the environment, including air, water and soil (and thus improve our quality of life);
  • to halt and reverse the loss of biodiversity.

Does your project offer a substantial contribution to an improved European environment and climate? Find out whether there is a match with one of the following LIFE (sub)programmes.

Programmes LIFE 2021: Environment & Climate

The LIFE programme 2021-2027 consists of the following (sub)programmes and selection procedures:

Nature & biodiversity Circular economy
Improving N2000 areas; recovery of protected species Circular economy
Interventions in order to improve ecoystems Quality of life:

  • air and sound
  • water
  • soil
  • administration of chemicals
Integrating different policies Governance

Selection procedure

The selection procedure for Nature & Biodiversity and Circular Economy consists of two phases:

  • Concept note;
  • Full proposal.

Note: the 2021 call will deviate from this procedure on a one-off basis. In 2021, parties must immediately submit a full proposal!

Climate mitigation & adaptation  Clean Energy Transition (CET)
Greenhouse gas (GHG) savings To be announced
Adaptation to climate change
Governance and information

Selection procedure

There is currently still some discussion going on regarding the content of the subprogramme CET.

The selection procedure for Climate mitigation & adaptation and CET will consists of one phase only: you have to immediately submit a full proposal.

Executed by CINEA

The LIFE programme 2021-2027 will henceforth be executed by the EU-agency CINEA (previously known as INEA), and therefore no longer by EASME.

Who can submit an application?

Every type of organisation – located in an EU Member State – can submit a LIFE application: companies, public authorities, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and knowledge institutes. In contrary to the previous LIFE programme (2014-2020), parties located in the Caribbean are now also eligible for a LIFE grant.

Collaboration with parties from other EU countries

LIFE requires that essential stakeholders must be involved in the project. Collaboration between parties from several EU countries is therefore not a requirement. However, collaboration between parties from several EU countries will have an advantage since this will have a positive impact on the evaluation of their application.

Project requirements

The main points of attention for your LIFE application are as follows:

  • The project focuses on a problem/challenge at an European level;
  • The project costs are at least € 1 million (in view of the impact);
  • The intended impact is well-founded;
  • Monitoring: the effects are measured during the implementation of the project;
  • The emphasis is on trial and innovation (pilot, demonstration, best practice);
  • The project can be replicated at an European level (= more than communication).

Budget and grant contribution LIFE 2021

There is a total budget of € 5.43 billion for the period 2021-2027. The grant rate is usually 60% of the eligible project costs (for projects focusing on nature & biodiversity this can go up to 75%).

Note: only costs generated after signing the Grant Agreement (GA) are eligible. In addition, please take into account that there will be a period of approximately one year between submitting the application and signing the GA.


The final work programme of LIFE – which will cover the first four years (2021-2024) – still needs to be finalized and published. The final version is expected to be published at the end of April, or the beginning of May. The LIFE call 2021 is expected to be opened in June 2021.

Hezelburcht was involved in the drafting and submitting of several LIFE applications during the last few years. We would be pleased to support your organisation as well with acquiring a LIFE grant. Contact us to schedule a meeting with one of our specialists!

Personal advice? Contact us!
Or call us directly: 088 495 20 00

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Learn more about the LIFE call 2021 by contacting us via the form below or call us directly: 088 495 20 00.

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