Frequently Asked Questions

The EU LIFE Programme co-funds projects in EU member states for the protection and improvement of nature and the environment.

What is the Budget size of a typical LIFE project?
Project Budgets range from circa €1 million to €5 million for large projects, with implementation of project actions taking place over 3 to 5 years.

What is the Maximum rate of EU co-financing under LIFE?
It is foreseen that for the 2018-2020 phase in general

  • a maximum funding rate of 55% of eligible costs will apply
  • 60% of eligible costs in the case of projects in the Nature & Biodiversity priority area
  • 75% of eligible costs for projects that concern priority habitats or species as defined in the Habitats (92/43/EEC) or the Birds Directives (2009/147/EC)

Who Can Apply?
Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), Non-Government Organisations, Universities and Public Bodies. Individuals cannot apply.

Calls for Proposals – What are the timelines?
Each year in April the EU invites potential applicants to submit project proposals that contribute to the achievement of the objectives and targets of EU environment and climate strategies and plans (Europe 2020 Strategy, the 7th Union Environmental Action Programme, and the Biodiversity Strategy).

Deadlines for submission of projects are on dates in September each year.

How to Apply?
The LIFE Programme is run by the European Commission. Applications for funding are made online using e-proposal. Deadlines are strictly enforced by the European Commission and all applicants are advised to note and stick to advertised deadlines.

Potential applicants are advised to contact the LIFE unit at as soon as possible in each application cycle to ensure that advice and assistance can be given to potential applicants.

Eligible Activities – What are they?
The LIFE programme has two sub-programmes, one for Environment, the other for Climate Action. Pending the publication of the 2018-2020 LIFE Work Programme, insights into eligible projects can be gained from the Life Multiannual Work Programme for 2014-17 Potential applicants under the Environment Sub-Programme of LIFE should note that the Work Programme lists project topics in priority areas that will be given preference by the European Commission.

What about applications that deal with topics not listed?
Applications under the Environment Sub Programme that deal with topics not mentioned in the Work Programme will still be accepted, however they will lose 10% of the assessment marks on offer and will therefore be at a substantial disadvantage to project applications that stick to the project topics.

Are there policy priorities for the Climate Action Sub Programme?
There is no list of priority project topics under the Climate Action Sub Programme, instead key priorities for Climate Action are specified in the annual Calls for proposals. Key Climate priorities for 2017 are listed in: LIFE 2017 Climate Action Guidelines for Applicants, which are available for download from the EU LIFE programme website.

What are the priority areas under the Environment Sub Programme?

The Sub Programme for Environment has three priority areas: 

  • Environment and resource efficiency: innovative demonstration and pilot projects will focus on implementation of environment policy and exclude market replication-oriented innovation
  • Nature and biodiversity: EU Birds and Habitats Directives, EU Biodiversity strategy. Projects will develop best practices for wider biodiversity challenges, while keeping a focus on Natura 2000. Projects can be Best Practise, Demonstration or Pilot. For Biodiversity projects, demonstration/innovation is required for certain project topics.
  • Environmental governance and information: Information, awareness and dissemination projects promote knowledge sharing, dissemination of best practices, and better compliance, in addition to awareness raising campaigns

What are the priority areas under the Climate Sub Programme?
The Sub Programme for Climate Action will support efforts for better implementation and integration of climate-related objectives in the following 3 areas:

  • Climate change mitigation: projects will focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and can be Best Practise, Demonstration and Pilot
  • Climate change adaptation: projects will focus on increasing resilience to climate change and can be Best Practise, Demonstration and Pilot
  • Climate governance and information will focus on increasing awareness, communication, cooperation and dissemination on climate mitigation and adaptation actions

What is the overall LIFE Budget?
The Sub Programme for Environment has a budget of €2.6 billion over the duration of the Programme (or 75% of the overall LIFE budget 2014-2020). The Sub Programme for Climate Action has a budget of approximately €864 million over the duration of the Programme (or 25% of the overall LIFE budget 2014-2020).

The Life Regulation
LIFE Regulation 2014 - 2020 was published in the Official Journal of the European Union on 20 December 2013(L347/185)

Successful Irish Projects – are there recent examples?

A database of successful projects under LIFE is available on the European Commission's LIFE website. Potential applicants are advised to search this database for projects in similar categories to their own, that may have been implemented in other EU member states. This database is a useful tool for identifying project topics and for ensuring that your own project proposal has not been already funded by LIFE.

Contact Us
In its role as LIFE National Contact Point, the Department of the Communications, Climate Action & Environment aims to promote the Programme as widely as possible. Potential beneficiaries of LIFE funding include government departments and agencies, local authorities, SMEs and larger companies, non-governmental organisations, and third level institutions.

If you have any further queries, contact details are provided below. If you have a substantial query we would recommend that you submit it to

Pat Martin
LIFE National Contact Point
Sustainable Development, Environment Coordination & Governance
Department of the Communications, Climate Action and Environment
Room 2.41
Custom House
D01 W6X0

Tel: +353 (0) 1 678 2316