New LIFE Programme 2021-2027

Since its beginnings in 1992, the LIFE Programme has co-financed more than 5,400 projects with an overall budget of approximately €6,500M. LIFE is dedicated to targeting climate, environmental, and biodiversity challenges in the European Union. Its new edition, LIFE 2021-2027, was officially announced in April 2021 and has officially launched in July 2021.

The European Commission -through the recently created European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency (CINEA)-, launched the LIFE Programme 2021 Call for proposals with over EUR 580 million available.

As a novelty, the LIFE Programme 2021-2027 is launched for the first time through the Funding and Tender Portal.

The new LIFE Programme structure is divided in 4 subprogrammes:

  1. Nature and Biodiversity
  2. Circular Economy and Quality Of Life
  3. Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation
  4. Clean Energy Transition

The latter subprogramme, Clean Energy Transition, is a new addition to the traditional ones.

Agri-food industry: circular economy and quality of life

Agri-food, biobased, and circular economy-related solutions and best practices are included in the Circular economy and quality of life subprogramme. Under this subprogramme, innovative or best practices solutions could be described as:

  • Innovative practices: new when compared to the state of the art at Member State and sector level and implemented at an operational scale allowing the achievement of ambitious and credible impacts
  • Best practices: appropriate, cost-effective, state of the art (at Member State and sector level), and implemented at an operational scale allowing the achievement of ambitious and credible impacts

The submitted solutions could be related to any of the following areas:

  1. Circular Economy and Waste: Recovery of Resources from Waste; Circular Economy and the Environment.
  2. Air: air quality legislation and the NEC Directive & Industrial Emissions Directive.
  3. Water: water quality & quantity; marine & coastal water management; and water service.
  4. Soil
  5. Noise
  6. Chemical
  7. A New European Bauhaus
Deadline and budget

The total budget for this call is around 100 million EUR. In this occasion, it is estimated that around 50 projects will be funded. Thus, the indicative budget per project is between 2 and 10 million EUR.

This single-stage call has been opened since 13th July 2021 and the deadline is set on 30 November 2021 – 17:00:00 CET.

The evaluations will be sent in April 2022 and the Grant Agreement signatures will be carried out in July/August 2022.


LIFE 2021 call is open for the following eligible organizations:

  • a public or private legal entity registered in the EU, or an overseas country or territory linked to it.
  • a third country associated to the LIFE Programme; or
  • a legal entity created under Union law or any international organisation.

Natural persons are still not eligible to apply for LIFE funding.

The funding rate is 60% of the eligible costs in all subprogrammes, except for the Nature and biodiversity subprogramme that could reach 75%.

Changes and new rules in LIFE 2021-2027

New rules are included in this new Programme. The most relevant are:

  • Equipment costs are 100% eligible.
  • Personnel costs for SME owners not receiving a salary are accepted.
  • Creation of the volunteer cost category.

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