The LIFE funding instrument is one of the largest public funding programmes in Europe, dedicated to environment and climate. The instrument is annually launching calls totalling approx. 500 M€ to implement best practices, develop, demonstrate and promote innovative techniques, methods and approaches, accommodating an extremely wide range of topics and sectors. What’s in it for you? We asked our LIFE programme expert Mikko Tiira to navigate us through the intricacies of LIFE.
Before joining the Bioeconomy team at Spinverse, our Senior Consultant Mikko Tiira served as a LIFE project manager team leader, LIFE project developer, LIFE monitoring expert for the European Commission and consulted on multiple biodiversity and strategic LIFE projects in Finland and abroad. With his specialised background, Mikko is indeed our go-to expert to enlighten us on the LIFE programme and what kind of funding calls are opening in the upcoming months for companies seeking to launch forward-looking environmental initiatives.
Successful LIFE actions are all about environmental impact, sustainability, replicability and transferability
Managed by CINEA (European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency), the LIFE programme boasts a budget of 5.45 B€ for 2021-2027, constituting a 100% contribution to the objectives of the European Green Deal. With its four programmes (nature and biodiversity, circular economy and quality of life, climate change mitigation and adaptation, and clean energy transition), LIFE contributes to an astonishingly wide scale of topics. LIFE programme offers a unique breeding ground for bold and innovative ideas across different, even unexpected, disciplines and sectors. For instance, LIFE funding has brought together art and nature conservation. Mikko lists examples of areas where LIFE funding could be applied: technology solutions or approaches to waste management, smart buildings, energy efficiency in built environments, traffic solutions, circular economy, safe chemicals…and then some!
Mikko explains that the LIFE programme contributes to creating new knowledge and application of best practices with focus on environmental impact, sustainability, replication and transferability.
Measurable ‘environmental impacts’ are key to a successful funding proposal. In addition, the project may have substantial socio-economic impacts in the EU. Further, the action can make a significant technology impact, introduce new kind of expertise or practices, ways of operation, operation models or change in policies and regulations. ‘Sustainability’ refers to the long-term nature of funded actions and their end results: how can the outcomes of the action be maintained after the project has been completed? At the same time, the project must demonstrate ‘replicability’ and ‘transferability’ to new regions, countries or sectors.
Mikko points out: “When considering the eligibility of your project proposal, in addition to environmental impacts you need to keep the requirements on the project’s impact in your mind: Can this what I am planning to do be done elsewhere and will it benefit others — even in the whole of EU? Will my action change mindsets, approaches, or policies?”
Useful tips from Mikko
Mikko explains that the LIFE programme has not set limits to the number of partners or countries that can apply for funding together, but typically there are 3-5 partners collaborating in one project. Mikko recommends seeking international collaboration as it will promote transferability and replicability to other countries. International actions increase the chances of securing funding when the action can be tested and validated in another country.
As for budget, there are no maximum budgets set by LIFE, but typically, the funded actions are in the range of 1-15 M€. The reason behind the flexible scale is that the challenges seeking for solutions are of different magnitudes. Successful projects demonstrate “value for money”, high potential and conceivable, direct results. The project proposals also need to demonstrate a well thought-out plan to communicate and disseminate the outcomes of the action.
Clean Energy Transition deadline is approaching
As for the upcoming calls, Mikko reminds of the Clean Energy Transition funding call with its deadline on 16th November 2023 approaching fast. For this call, the preset maximum budgets for each topic range between 1 to 2.5 M€ with a significant maximum funding rate of 95%. There is still time to react to this call and if you need help in crystallising your idea, do not hesitate to contact Mikko and his colleagues at Spinverse.
Mikko sums up: “The LIFE programme may have a reputation of being difficult to approach and conceive, but I find this claim a myth. Putting together a winning proposal is of course a labour-intensive undertaking, but once you have carefully defined your approach, the LIFE programme offers a myriad of options with a lot of flexibility. We are happy to offer our understanding and expertise to our customers in identifying the most successful approach for the funding application. Upon a successful funding decision, our experts can also continue the collaboration in managing the funded project.”
Get in touch with Mikko:
Mikko Tiira, Senior Consultant
tel. +358 40 1696 646
More information: https://cinea.ec.europa.eu/programmes/life_en