Covid-19: exceptional measures for the 2020 LIFE call for proposals

Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the European Commission has taken 9 measures to ease the conditions for access and participation to the 2020 call for proposals of the LIFE programme.

What is the LIFE programme?

Created in 1992, LIFE is the European Commission’s main funding programme for Environment and Climate. The current 2014-2020 programming period has a total budget of €3.4 billion, of which around €400 million is allocated to this last call for proposals.

LIFE itself is divided into two sub-programmes, each with several priority areas:

2) The Environment sub-programme (€238 million), which funds projects concerning:

  • Environment and resource efficiency (ENV-RE),
  • Nature and biodiversity (NAT, BIO).

2) The Climate Action sub-programme (€74 million) which supports projects promoting:

  • Climate change mitigation (CCM),
  • Climate change adaptation (CCA).

These two sub-programmes also support actions of governance and information on Environment (EIG) and Climate (ICM).

On the one hand, LIFE funds projects through action grants (traditional and integrated projects). On the other hand, it proposes two financial instruments: the Natural Capital Financing Facility (NCFF) and Private Finance for Energy Efficiency (PF4EE).

In principle, LIFE grants are awarded through annual calls for proposals, published in spring. For the Climate sub-programme, the call closes by the end of summer, with the submission of the full proposal. For the Environment sub-programme, the selection takes place in two stages: first, the submission of a 10-page concept note and then, if the project passes the first stage, the consortium submits the full proposal.

New features due to the COVID-19 pandemic

The 2020 LIFE call opened on 2 April 2020. However, due to the Covid-19 outbreak, the Commission decided to make the conditions for participation more flexible through several exceptional measures:

  • All submission deadlines are extended by one month. To consult them, click here;
  • The first pre-financing payment is increased from 30% to 40%;
  • Financial support to third parties involved in the project;
  • Support for start-ups;
  • No more compulsory calls for tender above 130K€ for private structures.
  • Greater flexibility for the 2% rule;
  • No depreciation if the assets are used after the project, for the same purpose;
  • Priorities and topics remain the same, but ideas related to pandemic management are welcome;
  • The possibility of one-to-one discussions between applicants and EC advisors.

Five tips for a successful LIFE proposal

  1. Read carefully all the guidelines at your disposal (EU strategic priorities, etc.) and make sure that the LIFE programme is well adapted to your project.
  2. Pay attention to any exceptions that may apply to your project.
  3. Make sure that the budget is consistent with the description of the technical content and the cost-effectiveness of the proposed actions.
  4. Propose clear and simple actions that respond directly to the objectives of the project.
  5. Remember to address at least one priority topic to ensure additional points.

For more information: the Commission organised a Virtual Info Day on 30 April 2020 (video online here). Moreover, if you are particularly interested by the Climate Sub-programme, a specific webinar is available here.

Finally, if you need support from expert consultants for your LIFE proposal, Euronovia has launched a special offer for project coordinators. Don’t hesitate to contact us!

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