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2019 LIFE call for proposals for traditional projects - environment and resource efficiency
Deadline: Jun 17, 2019  

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1.1 What is LIFE?

LIFE is the European Programme for the Environment and Climate Action, for the period from 1 January 2014 until 31 December 2020. The legal basis for LIFE is Regulation (EU) No 1293/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 20131 (hereinafter "the LIFE Regulation").

The LIFE Programme is structured in two sub-programmes: the sub-programme for environment and the sub-programme for climate action.

The sub-programme for environment covers three priority areas:

  •   LIFE Environment and Resource Efficiency

  •   LIFE Nature and Biodiversity

  •   LIFE Environmental Governance and Information

The thematic priorities for each priority area are further described in Annex III to the LIFE Regulation.

The sub-programme for climate action covers three priority areas:

  •   LIFE Climate Change Mitigation

  •   LIFE Climate Change Adaptation

  •   LIFE Climate Governance and Information

The overall financial envelope for the implementation of the LIFE Programme is EUR 3.457 Billion, 75% of which is allocated to the sub-programme for environment (EUR 2,592,491,250).

According to Article 17(4) of the LIFE Regulation, at least 81% of the total budget shall be allocated to projects supported by way of action grants or, where appropriate, financial instruments. The second LIFE Multiannual Work Programme covering the period 2018-2020 foresees a budget of EUR 1,243.81 Million for the sub-programme for environment2.

During the period 2014-2020, the Contracting Authority will publish one call for LIFE project proposals per year under the LIFE Regulation.


1.2 "Traditional" Projects

Article 2 of the LIFE Regulation defines the various types of projects which may be supported by the LIFE 2014-2020 programme.

These "traditional" types of projects are:

  •   "pilot projects" means projects that apply a technique or method that has not been applied or tested before, or elsewhere, and that offer potential environmental or climate advantages compared to current best practice and that can subsequently be applied on a larger scale to similar situations;

  •   “demonstration projects” means projects that put into practice, test, evaluate and disseminate actions, methodologies or approaches that are new or unknown in the specific context of the project, such as the geographical, ecological, socio-economic context, and that could be applied elsewhere in similar circumstances;

  •   “best practice projects” means projects that apply appropriate, cost-effective, state-of- the-art techniques, methods and approaches taking into account the specific context of the project;

  •   "information, awareness and dissemination projects" means projects aimed at supporting communication, dissemination of information and awareness raising in the fields of the sub-programmes for Environment and Climate Action.

In order for a project to be considered pilot/demonstrative, the overall character of its core actions must be pilot/demonstrative. Although some best practice actions might be included in the project proposal, the overall approach must clearly have a pilot/demonstrative character and this should be justified in detail in the proposal.

The following table shows which type of project may be submitted to which priority area:


Priority Area
Types of Traditional Projects Eligible

Environment and Resource Efficiency
Demonstration and pilot projects

Nature and Biodiversity
Best practice, demonstration, and pilot projects

Environmental Governance and Information
Information, awareness and dissemination projects

Climate Action
Climate Change Mitigation
Best practice, demonstration, and pilot projects

Climate Action
Climate Change Adaptation
Best practice, demonstration, and pilot projects

Climate Action
Climate Governance and Information
Information, awareness and dissemination projects


The amount available for co-financing action grants for all types of "traditional" projects under the Environment sub-programme is indicatively set at EUR 224 960 000

Projects financed by the LIFE Programme under one priority area shall avoid undermining environmental or climate objectives in another priority area and, where possible, promote synergies between different objectives as well as the use of green procurement.

1.3 Role of project topics

The LIFE multiannual work programme for 2018-2020 defines project topics implementing the thematic priorities for the sub-programme for environment listed in Annex III to the LIFE Regulation for pilot, demonstration, best practice and information, awareness and dissemination projects ("traditional" projects). They reflect the priorities on which projects should focus during the relevant period. Eligible proposals that reach or pass the minimum pass scores (see section 5.1.1 of the LIFE multiannual work programme for 2018-2020) and target a relevant project topic will be given priority over projects of comparable quality that do not fall under one of the project topics. See also the Guide for the evaluation of LIFE project proposals 2019 for further details on scoring of proposals.

1.4 How, where and when to submit a proposal?

Project submission procedure will be organised in two stages:

  •   Stage 1: Concept note

  •   Stage 2: Full proposal

Stage 1: Concept Note

Concept notes should be submitted through the online tool eProposal, available via the LIFE web page. The application tool contains all administrative (A), technical (B) and financial (F) forms required to submit a Concept Note.

For complete details regarding the application forms relevant at Stage 1, please refer to section 3 of this document. For complete details regarding the use of the eProposal tool, please refer to Annex 3 of this document.

The concept note can be modified, validated and (re)submitted as many times as needed until the deadline. You are recommended to submit your draft(s) regularly during the entire submission period to avoid last minutes issues with your internet connection of other IT related failures. Each subsequent submission overwrites the previously submitted version (earlier versions are not archived and are therefore not available anymore).

Applicants must submit their concept notes to the Contracting Authority via eProposal before

17/06/2019, 16:00 Brussels local time.


Stage 2: Full proposal

The applicants with the best ranked concept notes will be invited (in 10/ 2019) to submit a full proposal using the web tool eProposal available via the LIFE web page.

The application tool contains all administrative (A), technical (B and C) and financial (F) forms required, and functionalities to attach relevant documents (maps, photos, diagrams, graphs, mandatory administrative and financial annexes). For complete details regarding the application forms, please refer to section 3 of this document. For complete details regarding the use of the eProposal tool, please refer to Annex 3 of this document.

The proposal can be modified, validated and (re)submitted as many times as needed until the Stage 2 submission deadline. You are recommended to submit your draft(s) regularly during the entire submission period to avoid last minutes issues with your internet connection of other IT related failures. Each subsequent submission overwrites the previously submitted version (earlier versions are not archived and are therefore not available anymore).

For the proposals covered by these guidelines the Contracting Authority is the Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (EASME).

When preparing the proposal, the applicants may wish to consult the relevant LIFE National Contact Point; the complete list of the names and contact addresses of the national/regional authorities for LIFE in the Member States can be found on the LIFE website at

1.5 How will LIFE projects be selected?

The technical methodology for the project selection procedure and the selection and award criteria are described in section 5 of the LIFE multiannual work programme for 2018-2020. For a detailed description of how this procedure will be implemented, please refer to the 'Guide for the evaluation of LIFE project proposals 2019'.

Very important: Please note that the e-mail address specified by the applicant as the contact person's e-mail address in form A2 will be used by the Contracting Authority as the single contact point for all correspondence with the applicant during the evaluation procedure. It should therefore correspond to an e-mail account which is valid, active and checked on a daily basis throughout the duration of the evaluation procedure.

The earliest possible starting date of projects is defined in Annex 1.

Applicants invited to submit their full proposals to the Contracting Authority via eProposal will have to do it by the deadline communicated in Stage 2 invitation letter.

1.6 General Guidance to Applicants

The current chapter replies to some frequently asked questions on how to conceive a LIFE project proposal. For specific guidelines, see section 2; for recommendation on how to fill in the technical and financial forms, please refer to section 3 of this document.

1.6.1 In which language may the concept note/full proposal be submitted?

The concept note must be submitted in English.

As for the full proposal, the Contracting Authority strongly recommends that applicants fill in the technical part and especially the financial part of the proposal in clear English only, although they may also be submitted in any of the official EU languages, except Irish.

Note that the grant agreement, project management, formal reporting, key deliverables and all communication with the Contracting Authority will have to be in English.

The title of the proposal and form B1 ("Summary description of the project") must always be submitted in English. Form B1 may in addition also be submitted in the language of the proposal.

1.6.2 Who may submit a proposal?

A proposal may be submitted by any legal person registered in the European Union.

Entities participating in the proposal may fall into three types of beneficiaries: (1) public bodies, (2) private commercial organisations and (3) private non-commercial organisations (including NGOs).

The term "public bodies" is defined as referring to national public authorities, regardless of their form of organisation – central, regional or local structure – or the various bodies under their control, provided these operate on behalf of and under the responsibility of the national public authority concerned. In the case of entities registered as private law bodies wishing to be considered for the purpose of this call as equivalent to "public law bodies", they should provide evidence proving that they comply with all criteria applicable to bodies governed by public law and in the event the organisation stops its activities, its rights and obligations, liability and debts will be transferred to a public body. For a complete definition, please refer to the annex "Public body declaration", which must be completed by all beneficiaries which wish to be considered and treated as a 'public body'. The only exception concerns those central (e.g.: Ministry) and local administrations (e.g.: Provinces, Municipalities, Regions etc.) whose nature of 'public body' is clear.

Please note that so called 'Sole traders' (i.e. entities owned and run by one individual and where there is no legal distinction between the owner and the business) are considered natural persons and are therefore not eligible to participate as beneficiary or affiliate in this call.

Please refer to the 'Guide for the evaluation of LIFE project proposals 2019 of Environment Sub-programme' for full details regarding the compulsory administrative documents which are required with the proposal depending on the legal status of the coordinating beneficiary.

Once a proposal has been accepted for co-funding, the applicant will become the coordinating beneficiary who is responsible for ensuring the implementation of the project. The coordinating beneficiary will be the single point of contact for the Contracting Authority and will be the only beneficiary to report directly to the Contracting Authority on the project's technical and financial progress.

The coordinating beneficiary receives the EU financial contribution from the Contracting Authority and ensures its distribution as specified in the partnership agreements established with the associated beneficiaries (if there are any – see below). The coordinating beneficiary must be directly involved in the technical implementation of the project and in the dissemination of the project results.

The coordinating beneficiary must bear part of the project costs and must thus contribute financially to the project budget. It cannot therefore be reimbursed for 100% of the costs that it incurs.

The coordinating beneficiary must show its legal status (by completing application form A2) confirming legal registration in the EU.

In addition to the coordinating beneficiary, a LIFE proposal may also involve one or more associated beneficiaries and/or one or more project co-financiers.

The associated beneficiary must always contribute technically and financially to the proposal and hence be responsible for the implementation of one or several project actions. Furthermore, it must provide the coordinator beneficiary with all the necessary documents required for the fulfilment of its reporting obligations to the Contracting Authority.

There is no pre-defined number of associated beneficiaries to be involved in a LIFE proposal. A proposal that is submitted without any participant other than the coordinating beneficiary itself is eligible. On the other hand, a beneficiary should not hesitate to associate other beneficiaries, if this would bring an added value to the project, such as when the partnership strengthens the feasibility or the demonstration character of the proposal, its European added value, its impact and/or the transfer of its results and lessons learnt.

Public undertakings whose capital is publicly owned and which are considered an instrument or a technical service of a public administration, and which are subject to the public administration's control, but are in effect separate legal entities, must become beneficiaries if a public administration intends to entrust the implementation of certain project actions to these undertakings3.

Exceptionally an associated beneficiary may be legally registered outside the European Union if the actions outside the EU it is responsible for are (the coordinating beneficiary of the project in any case be based in the EU) necessary to achieve EU environmental objectives and to ensure the effectiveness of interventions carried out in the Member State territories to which the Treaties apply. In other words, the participation of an entity established outside the EU that will only contribute with the know-how or will collaborate to implement actions in the EU will not be considered as sufficient.



All associated beneficiaries must show their legal status (by completing application form A5), and provide full information on the Member State or third country in which they are registered. In addition all beneficiaries whether registered or not in the EU must declare that they are not in any of the situations foreseen under art. 136(1), 136(4) and 141 of the EU Financial Regulation4 (by signing the application form A3 or A4 – see instructions in section 3 of this document).

For private beneficiaries, the Contracting Authority may accept that affiliated entities to a beneficiary participate in a project as long as all conditions listed in the Model Grant Agreement and its Annex X (Financial and Administrative Guidelines) are fulfilled. However, the association of entities as affiliates may complicate the project structure and thus have a negative impact on the technical and financial coherence of the project. It is therefore entirely in the Contracting Authority's administrative discretion to accept affiliates, and in no case will affiliated entities be accepted for public beneficiaries or entities that do not comply with the description of affiliated entities hereafter.

Affiliated entities need to comply with the eligibility and -exclusion criteria applying to applicants and should have a structural link with the beneficiary concerned (i.e. a legal or capital link) that is neither limited to the project nor established for the sole purpose of the project implementation (so the link would exist independently of the award of the grant; it should exist before the call for proposals and remain valid after the end of the project).

As affiliated entities could be accepted those directly controlled by the beneficiary (i.e. daughter companies or first-tier subsidiaries), entities controlling the beneficiary (mother company) OR in case of Memberships, the beneficiary has to be legally defined as a network, federation, association in which the proposed affiliated entities participate. However, if several beneficiaries want to work with the same 'affiliate', the 'affiliate' should be proposed as 'beneficiary' instead.

If you consider using young volunteers for specific actions, please consider applying for the European Solidarity Corps calls. The European Solidarity Corps (ESC) is conceived to offer young people between 18 and 30 in Europe the chance to support a non-governmental organisation (NGO), local authority or private company active in addressing challenging situations across the European Union. In 2019 additional emphasis is placed inter alia on response to environmental and climate challenges, including disaster prevention, preparedness and recovery (excluding immediate disaster response). For further information:

A project co-financier only contributes to the project with financial resources, has no technical responsibilities, and cannot benefit from the EU financial contribution. Furthermore, it cannot act, in the context of the project, as a sub-contractor to any of the project's beneficiaries.

For specific tasks of a fixed duration, a proposal may foresee the use of sub-contractors. Sub-contractors provide external services to the project beneficiaries who fully pay for the services provided. Beneficiaries (including their affiliated entities) may not act as sub- contractors. Sub-contractors should normally not be identified by name in the proposal; if they are, the General Conditions of the Model LIFE Grant Agreement must still be respected.

For a more detailed description of the respective rules related to the coordinating beneficiary, associated beneficiaries, affiliates, co-financiers and sub-contractors, please refer to the General Conditions of the Model LIFE Grant Agreement.

For British applicants: Please be aware that eligibility criteria must be complied with for the entire duration of the grant. If the United Kingdom withdraws from the EU during the grant period without concluding an agreement with the EU ensuring in particular that British applicants continue to be eligible, you will cease to receive EU funding (while continuing, where possible, to participate) or be required to leave the project on the basis of Article II.17.3 of the Grant Agreement.

1.6.3 What is the optimal budget for a LIFE project?

There is no fixed minimum size for project budgets. While large ambitious projects (i.e. over 5,000,000 Euro total costs) have been financed several times in the past, small projects (i.e. below 500,000 Euro total costs) have seldom succeeded due to the limited output and consequently the low added value.

1.6.4 What is the maximum rate of EU co-financing under LIFE?

For the duration of the second LIFE multiannual work programme for 2018-2020, the maximum EU co-financing rate for "traditional" LIFE projects is 55% of the total eligible project costs. An exception is made for "traditional" LIFE projects in the priority area Nature and Biodiversity under the sub-programme Environment for which the EU co-funding rate can go up to 60%, or 75% in specific cases.5

5 This higher co-financing rate of 75% will only be applied to projects allocating 50% or more of the total estimated cost for concrete conservation actions to activities directly benefitting priority habitats or species of the Birds and Habitats Directives, when actions in the project are necessary to achieve the conservation objective.

1.6.5 How much should project beneficiaries contribute to the project budget?

The coordinating beneficiary and any associated beneficiaries are expected to provide a reasonable financial contribution to the project budget. A beneficiary's financial contribution is considered as a proof of its commitment to the implementation of the project objectives – a very low financial contribution may therefore be considered as an absence or lack of commitment.

A proposal cannot be submitted if the financial contribution of any of the beneficiaries to the proposal budget is EUR 0.

Moreover, where public bodies are involved as coordinating and/or associated beneficiaries in a project, the sum of their financial contributions to the project budget must exceed (by at least 2%) the sum of the salary costs charged to the project for personnel who are not considered 'additional'. For details, please refer to section 3.4 of this document.

1.6.6 What is the optimal starting date and duration for a project?

When preparing the project's time planning, beneficiaries should be aware of the expected date of the signature of the grant agreements for the LIFE 2019 projects as indicated in Annex 1.. The earliest possible starting date is also defined in Annex 1. Any costs incurred before the project's starting date will not be considered eligible and cannot be included in the project budget. There is no pre-determined project duration for a LIFE project. Generally speaking, the project duration must correspond to what is necessary to complete all of the project's actions and to reach all its objectives. On average projects last for 3–5 years.

Only under exceptional circumstances, the Contracting Authority may decide to grant an extension of the project duration. The experience of the previous LIFE Programmes has shown that many projects had difficulties completing all actions within the proposed project duration, mostly due to unforeseen delays and difficulties encountered during the project. Beneficiaries are therefore strongly advised to build an appropriate safety margin (e.g. 6 months) into the timetable of their proposal.

Beneficiaries should also be aware that a project that has completed all of its actions prior to the expected end date can submit its final report ahead of schedule and receive its final payment before the official project end date mentioned in the grant agreement.



1.6.7 Where can a LIFE project take place?

LIFE projects shall take place in the territory of the European Union Member States. The LIFE Programme may also finance activities outside the EU and in overseas countries and territories6 (OCTs), provided that the coordinating beneficiary is based in the EU and strong evidence is provided that the activities to be carried out outside the EU are necessary to achieve EU environmental objectives and to ensure the effectiveness of interventions carried out in the Member State territories to which the Treaties apply (e.g. actions aimed at the conservation of migratory birds in wintering areas or actions implemented on a trans boundary river). Please note that this is clearly an exception as normally actions should be carried out in the EU. However, when the problem at stake cannot be addressed successfully or efficiently unless actions are carried out also in non-EU countries, this will be possible. Qualitative and quantitative evidence to justify the need for those actions outside the EU must be given in the description of each of these actions in the relevant forms.

1.6.8 Who should manage a LIFE project?

It is expected that the project management is carried out by the staff of the coordinating beneficiary. However, on the basis of an appropriate justification it may be carried out by an associated beneficiary or by sub-contractor under the coordinating beneficiary's direct control. Very often a proper project management implies the involvement of a full-time project manager for a smooth coordination and implementation of the project.

The proposal should clearly describe who will be in charge of the project management, how much personnel and time will be devoted to this task and how and by whom decisions on the project will be made during the project period (i.e. how and by whom the project management will be controlled).

1.6.9 Outsourcing of project activities

The beneficiaries should have the technical and financial capacity and competency to carry out the proposed project activities. It is therefore expected that the share of the project budget allocated to external assistance should remain below 35%. Higher shares may only be accepted if an adequate justification for this is provided in the project proposal.

The General Conditions of the Model LIFE Grant Agreement must be respected for any external assistance.

In line with Article 19(3) of the Regulation, beneficiaries (public and private) are strongly advised to use "green" procurement. The European Commission has established a toolkit for this purpose. More information can be found at

1.6.10 Under which conditions does LIFE favour transnational projects?

The LIFE Regulation indicates that, while selecting the projects to be co-funded, the Contracting Authority shall have special regard to transnational projects, when transnational cooperation is essential to guarantee environmental or nature protection. On the basis of award criterion 6, additional points will be given to a proposal if there is sufficient evidence for an added value of the transnational approach. If such evidence can be provided, the proposal will be considered for a higher scoring in the project selection process and will therefore have a higher chance of being selected for co-funding.

N.B. The meaning of "transnational" as foreseen in the LIFE Regulation only covers cooperation among Member States as well as cooperation among Member States and third countries participating in the LIFE Programme under article 5 of the LIFE Regulation. Activities outside the Union or in overseas countries and territories, while possible as foreseen under article 6 of the LIFE Regulation, will not entail additional points under award criterion 6.

1.6.11 How voluminous should a LIFE proposal be?

A proposal should be as concise and clear as possible. Applicants should avoid voluminous proposals and should not provide excessively detailed descriptions of project areas, environmental technologies, lists of species, etc.

Clear and detailed descriptions should, however, be provided for all project actions. Maps should be annexed wherever this would be useful to clarify the location of the proposed actions (note that they are obligatory in some cases).

Brochures, CVs and similar documents should not be submitted and will be ignored if provided.

1.6.12 Ongoing activities

Actions already ongoing before the start of the project are not eligible.

Where actions to be undertaken in the project are significantly different from previous or ongoing activities in terms of frequency or intensity they are not considered ongoing. The applicant must provide adequate information in the proposal that allows to assess this aspect.

Exceptionally, in case of actions that were undertaken and completed in the past and that are proposed to be repeated at a similar frequency or intensity during the project, the applicant must provide evidence that such actions would not have been carried out in the absence of the LIFE project.

1.6.13 Sustainability of the project and its actions

LIFE projects represent a considerable investment, and the European Union attaches great importance to the long term sustainability of these investments. The sustainability of the project results in the medium and long term is understood as the capacity to maintain them after project implementation, be it by continuation, by replication or by transfer. It is obligatory that throughout the duration of the project, the beneficiaries consider how these investments will be secured, maintained, developed and made use of or replicated/transferred during or after the end of the project. Successful continuation, replication and/or transfer require a strategy including tasks to multiply the impacts of the projects' solutions and mobilise a wider uptake, reaching a critical mass during the project and/or in a short and medium term perspective after the end of the LIFE project. This goes beyond transfer of knowledge and networking, and involves putting the solutions developed and/or applied in the project into practice beyond the project period, elsewhere or for a different purpose.

1.6.14 Research activities and large infrastructure

Whereas EU funding for research activities is provided under Horizon 2020 – the Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (2014–2020)7, limited research aimed to improve and enhance the knowledge data underpinning the project may be carried out within a LIFE project. Research must be strictly limited and intrinsically related to the project's objectives and the applicant shall explain in detail how the proper implementation of the project relies on these research activities, showing that the existing scientific basis is insufficient, and how the additional knowledge will be used to implement the project actions. In such a case, scientific publications are considered important deliverables of the project.

Projects dedicated to the construction of large infrastructure do not fall within the scope of the LIFE Programme and are therefore not eligible. A project is considered to be dedicated to the construction of large infrastructure if the actual cost8 of a "single item of infrastructure" exceeds € 500,000. A "single item of infrastructure" means all elements as described in form F4a that are physically bound to ensure the functionality of the infrastructural investment (e.g. for an eco-duct the bridge, barriers, signposting, etc.). Such amount may be exceptionally exceeded if full technical justification is provided in the proposal demonstrating the necessity of the infrastructure for ensuring an effective contribution to the objectives of Articles 10, 11 or 12 of the LIFE Regulation.

1.6.15 Complementarity with other EU funding programmes

According to Article 8 of the LIFE Regulation, activities supported from the LIFE Programme must ensure consistency and synergies, and avoid overlap with other funding programmes of the Union. In particular, the Contracting Authority and the Member States must ensure coordination with the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund, the Cohesion Fund, the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development, the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund and Horizon 2020.

It is thus essential that, prior to submitting their proposal to the Contracting Authority, beneficiaries check thoroughly whether the actions proposed under their project in practice could be, or are, funded through other EU funds.

The beneficiaries must inform the Contracting Authority about any related funding they have received from the EU budget, as well as any related ongoing applications for funding from the EU budget. The beneficiaries must also check that they are not receiving on-going operating grants from LIFE (or other EU programmes) that could lead to double financing.


Failure to signal this in the appropriate form A7 might lead to rejection of the proposal.

Please note that this is an area of growing concern, evidence shows that an increasing number of similar or same proposals are submitted to various programmes. Increasingly severe checks and cross-checks are carried out by the contracting authority. Failure to declare that the same or a similar proposal has been submitted to another programme (or worst, already even partly financed) may have serious consequences.

In addition, at the project revision stage, the national authority may also be required to indicate the steps taken to ensure the coordination and complementarity of LIFE funding with other EU funding programmes.

On the contrary, projects that show synergies with EU policies different than those covered by the LIFE programme and with other EU funding mechanisms, will receive bonus points in the evaluation phase (Award criterion 6) depending on the extent and quality of such synergies. An example of such synergies could be a project aimed at improving waste management that simultaneously increases social integration.

1.6.16 Proposals following or based on previous LIFE projects

If the applicant is proposing a continuation of a previous LIFE project, he should clearly describe in form A7 why a further project phase is needed and how this will complement the results achieved with the previous project. The applicant should also explain when discussing sustainability (form B6), how a further continuation would be ensured with resources other than the LIFE programme. Last, but not least, in the description of every key action (C-forms) the applicant should provide precise information on how this action builds upon and complements the similar action carried out in the previous project phase.

Applicants should also show that they have taken into consideration other LIFE projects financed that addressed a similar issue. They will need to explain how their proposal builds upon or differs from the others and how it will coordinate with them if those projects are still on-going.

During the evaluation process these aspects will be carefully checked. Failure to provide full details on these aspects will have a negative impact on the final score.

1.6.17 Quantification of environmental benefits

The improved performances/advantages introduced by the proposed solution must be quantified in terms of the expected environmental benefits. They must be concrete, realistic and quantified as far as possible and must be presented in a life-cycle reasoning where relevant. This must be done by clearly comparing them to the state-of-play estimated or measured at the outset of the project. In this regard as far as the full proposal is concerned, consistency shall be ensured between environmental benefits described in the relevant forms and values reported in the table on LIFE Key project level indicators .

1.6.18 Coordination requirements for multiple proposals aimed at the same/similar issue

Evidence shows that an increasing number of proposals aimed at the same or at a similar issue are submitted, often in the same Member State without a clear rational and coordination mechanism. This happens more frequently in the Nature and Biodiversity priority area.

To avoid such situations applicants are strongly encouraged to consult with National Contact Points ( to check whether the topic they are addressing is being addressed also by other applicants. If this is the case, applicants are encouraged to seek cooperation to avoid possible overlaps and increase synergies.

1.7 Personal Data Protection

The personal data supplied with your proposal, notably the name, address and other contact information of the beneficiaries and co-financiers, will be placed in a database named ESAP that will be made available to the EU Institutions and agencies, as well as to a team of external evaluators who are bound by a confidentiality agreement. ESAP is used exclusively to manage the evaluation of LIFE proposals.

The same personal data of successful projects will be transferred to another database called BUTLER, which will be made available to the EU Institutions and agencies and to an external monitoring team who are bound by a confidentiality agreement. BUTLER is used exclusively to manage LIFE projects.

A summary of each project, including the name and contact information of the coordinating beneficiary, will be placed on the LIFE website and made available to the general public. At a certain point the coordinating beneficiary will be invited to check the accuracy of this summary.

The list of successful beneficiaries and the relative amounts awarded to the projects selected will also be published in a public database called the Financial Transparency System9.

The Contracting Authority, or its contractors, may also use the personal data of unsuccessful applicants for follow up actions in connection with future applications.

Throughout this process, data will be processed pursuant to Regulation (EC) No 2018/1725 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data by the EU institutions, bodies, offices and agencies. Unless indicated otherwise, the questions and any personal data requested that are required to evaluate the application in accordance with the specifications of the call for proposal will be processed solely for that purpose by the Head of Unit Eco-innovation and LIFE of EASME.


Details concerning the processing of personal data are available on the privacy statement at:

Personal data may be registered in the Early Detection and Exclusion System by the EASME, should the beneficiary be in one of the situations mentioned in Articles 136 and 141 of Regulation (EU, Euratom) 2018/1046[1] For more information see the Privacy Statement on:

Submission of a proposal implies that you accept that the personal data contained in your proposal is made available as described above. It will not be used in any other way or for any other purposes than those described above.


2. LIFE Environment and Resource Efficiency
2.1 What is LIFE Environment and Resource Efficiency?

These guidelines concern uniquely LIFE Environment and Resource Efficiency.

LIFE Environment and Resource Efficiency aims specifically at contributing to the implementation, updating and development of European Union environmental policy and legislation, including the integration of the environment into other policies, thereby contributing to sustainable development. Furthermore, actions financed must have a European added value and be complementary to those actions that can be financed under other European Union funds during the period 2014-20.

The priority area Environment and Resource Efficiency focuses on:

- developing, testing and demonstrating policy or management approaches, best practices and solutions to environmental challenges, and in support of resource efficiency- related policy and legislation, including the Roadmap to a Resource Efficient Europe.

- improving the knowledge base for the development, implementation, assessment, monitoring and evaluation of Union environmental policy and legislation, and for the assessment and monitoring of the factors, pressures and responses that impact on the environment within and outside the Union.

Annex III of the LIFE Regulation describes the thematic priorities for each of the following five sectors:

  •   Thematic priorities for Water, including the marine environment

  •   Thematic priorities for Waste

  •   Thematic priorities for Resource Efficiency, including soil and forests, and green and circular economy

  •   Thematic priorities for Environment and Health, including chemicals and noise

  •   Thematic priorities for Air quality and emissions, including urban environment

LIFE Environment and Resource Efficiency support will be allocated to the best proposals in terms of innovative solutions for important environmental issues, leading to viable as well as qualitatively and quantitatively measurable concrete results. Proposals must be highly visible and technically and financially sound. They should incorporate the dissemination of knowledge. The demonstration character is particularly important; projects must be implemented on a technical scale that allows evaluation of technical and economic viability of large scale introduction. LIFE Environment and Resource Efficiency is not directed at research or at investment in existing technology. LIFE aims to bridge the gap between research, policy and development results and widespread implementation, and to improve innovative solutions.


2.2 Thematic priorities and project topics for LIFE Environment and Resource Efficiency

In this section applicants will find the thematic priorities and project topics to which priority will be given. This does not exclude the possibility of submitting proposals addressing issues that are not covered by project topics or thematic priorities, in accordance with Annex III of the LIFE Regulation. In this regard, please note that points under award criterion 5 'Contribution to the project topics' will be awarded only to proposals that clearly and fully comply with the project topics listed below (for further details on criterion 4, please see the Guide for the evaluation of LIFE project proposals 2019). Applicants must choose maximum two project topics in eProposal and must clearly explain whether and why their proposal falls under the selected project topics. Only compliance with topics indicated by the applicant will be examined. By not choosing a project topic, the applicant declares that the proposal does not fulfil any of the project topics and acknowledges that no points can be awarded to the project under criterion 5.

2.2.1 Thematic priorities for Water, including the marine environment

Activities for the implementation of the specific objectives for water set out in the Roadmap for a Resource-Efficient Europe and the 7th Environment Action Programme, in particular:

(i) integrated approaches for the implementation of the EU Water Framework Directive10;

(ii) Floods Directive11;

(iii) Marine Strategy Framework Directive12;

(iv) activities to ensure safe and efficient use of water resources, improving quantitative water management, preserving a high level of water quality and avoiding misuse and deterioration of water resources.

Project topics

Addressing water quality, floods and drought management in a cost efficient way is a serious challenge within the EU. Responding to the challenges and opportunities in the water sector requires a holistic approach across a number of actors. In line with the implementation of the Water Framework Directive, the Flood Directive and the priorities of the European Innovation Partnership on Water, projects should focus on developing and particularly implementing actions which can help Member States move to genuinely integrated water resource management, promoting ecosystem-based approaches where relevant. In the context of actions targeted at the implementation of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive, particular emphasis should be placed on emerging pressures and impacts, as well as fostering better integrated coastal management and maritime spatial planning. With respect to the water industry, the technologies and processes used to ensure the provision of water services (production of drinking water or waste water treatment) are reaching maturity. In line with the priority areas of the European Innovation Partnership on Water, the current challenge is twofold: (i) ensuring proper implementation in a way which yields cost-effective, resource efficient and legally compliant results, and (ii) ensuring an ability to deal with emerging issues in this field.

Priority will be therefore given to the following projects:

Water, floods and drought - Annex III, section A points (a)(i)-(ii)

  1. Implementation of flood and/or drought risk management actions by applying at least

    one of the following:

    •   Nature-based solutions consisting in natural water retention measures that increase infiltration and storage of water and remove pollutants through natural or "natural-like" processes including re-naturalisation of river, lake, estuary and coastal morphology and/or re-creation of associated habitats including flood- and marsh plains;

    •   prevention and protection tools and techniques for support of policy, land use planning, risk reduction, post-event resilience and emergency management and/or

    •   integrated risk assessment and management approaches taking into account social vulnerability and aiming at improved resilience while ensuring social acceptance.

  2. Projects addressing hydro morphological pressures identified in River Basin Management Plans and originating from land or water uses in order to achieve good water status or potential as required by the Water Framework Directive objectives.

  3. Integrated management of nutrients and organic pollution of human and/or agricultural origin by directly removing pollution. The actions foreseen should be identified as a result of a comprehensive gap analysis13 defining the measures needed on a river basin scale or catchment scale to allow for the achievement of the Water Framework Directive and Marine Strategy Framework Directive requirements, taking into account what has been delivered via the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive14, Nitrates Directive15, Bathing Waters Directive16 and Groundwater Directive17 requirements.

  4. Reduction of pressures from chemical pollutants in the water environment by reducing emissions of priority substances and other chemicals identified as river basin specific pollutants at source, through the use of appropriate substitutes18 or alternative technologies.

  5. Implementation of water saving measures in order to reduce the quantitative and qualitative pressures on water bodies in water stressed basins as identified in the relevant River Basin Management Plan.

Marine and coastal management - Annex III, section A point (a)(iii)

  1. Application of tools, technologies or practices to ensure the sustainability of human activities related to the marine environment, including by reducing the pressure of human activities on the marine environment, and addressing at least one of the following topics of high concern:

    •   underwater noise,

    •   disturbance of the sea floor,

    •   deep sea mining,

    •   fishing,

    •   agriculture and/or

    •   navigation.

  2. Projects aiming at preventing and reducing marine litter or contaminants, addressing them at the source at land and/or in the seas.

Water Industry (Annex III, section A point (a)(iv))

  1. Application of technologies for drinking water and urban waste water treatment systems, through the use of resource efficient processes for the provision of water services19, onsite procedures and/or control processes, to diminish or eliminate discharges of emerging pollutants and/or pathogens as part of wastewater treatment effluents.

  2. Application of tools ensuring the resource efficient provision of water services compliant with the Drinking Water Directive and the Urban Waste Water Directive to population living in rural areas20.

  3. Improvement of the efficiency and effectiveness of solutions and/or treatment options regarding recycled/reclaimed water, implementing one or more of the following:

    •   Concepts for (alternative) water supply, wastewater treatment, reuse, recovery and recycling of resources21;

    •   Source control methods and cost-effective on-site technologies for discharges of emerging pollutants and pathogens into the wastewater treatment system;

    •   Water treatment innovation hubs, in regions that currently lack of appropriate sewer systems and treatment and sanitation facilities, applying smart technologies and decentralized systems with a focus on alternative water sources;

    •  Systematic approaches to avoid loss of water, energy and resources in industrial production and/or water and wastewater infrastructure.

2.2.2 Thematic priorities for Waste

Activities for the implementation of the specific objectives for waste set out in the Roadmap for a Resource-Efficient Europe and the 7th Environment Action Programme, in particular:

(i) the implementation and development of Union waste legislation, with particular emphasis on the first steps of the Union waste hierarchy (prevention, re-use and recycling);

(ii) resource efficiency and lifecycle impact of products, consumption patterns and dematerialisation of the economy.

Project topics

With respect to waste, the Roadmap for a Resource-Efficient Europe and the 7th Environmental Action Programme aim at reaching the following overall goals by 2020:

  •   to reduce waste generated;

  •   to maximise recycling and re-use;

  •   to limit incineration to non-recyclable materials; and

  •   to limit landfilling to non-recyclable and non-recoverable waste.

Priority will be therefore given to the following projects:

Implementation of waste legislation - Annex III, section A points (b)(i)-(ii)

Implementation of methods for management (separate collection, sorting and recycling) of waste in Outermost Regions of the EU22 or on islands23 with a resident population of less than 250 000 inhabitants24.

Implementation of innovative solutions targeting one of the following:

  •   Separate collection and recycling of waste electric and electronic equipment (WEEE) and/ or batteries and accumulators or recycling of WEEE and/or batteries and accumulators;

  •   Dismantling and recycling of End of Life Vehicles (ELVs)

  •   Selective deconstruction of construction works or buildings resulting in value- added recycled25 materials or products;

  •   Sorting and value-added recycling of plastics;26

  •   Separate collection and recycling of bio-waste and/or

  •   Recycling of composite materials to recover critical raw materials.

Explanatory note:

Complementary to these innovative solutions and the LIFE project, the other relevant waste management operations in line with the waste hierarchy should also be pursued during and beyond the project period.

Identification27 and separation of hazardous substances contained in wastes, to enable value-added recycling28 of the treated waste and safe disposal of the hazardous substances within the framework of the project.


Waste and Resource efficiency – Annex III, section A point (b)(iii)

1. Implementation of new business and/or consumption models and/or approaches to support resource efficiency, in the priority industrial sectors as set out in the Roadmap for a Resource Efficient Europe29 and the EU Action Plan for the Circular Economy30, focusing on product durability, reuse, repair and recycling and alternative processes to the sale of products. Already during the project duration, the implementation of the new business models and approaches should:

  •   result in a reduction in resource use (i.e. material use, energy and/or water use, depending on the main effects) and

  •   support transformation in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)31 and/or

  •   integrate the social dimension in the business model.

Explanatory note:

Alternative processes include but are not limited to sharing or leasing, remanufacturing, industrial symbiosis, optimising food chains, transport and mobility, sustainable buildings and construction / demolition.

2.2.3 Thematic priorities for Resource Efficiency, including soil and forests, and green and circular economy

Activities for the implementation of the Roadmap for a Resource-Efficient Europe and of the 7th Environment Action Programme that are not covered by other thematic priorities referred to in this Annex, in particular:

(i) industrial symbiosis and knowledge transfer, and development of new models for the shift towards a circular and green economy;

(ii) Soil Thematic Strategy (Commission Communication of 22 September 2006 entitled "Thematic Strategy for Soil Protection") with special emphasis on mitigation and compensation of soil sealing, and improved land use;

(iii) forest monitoring and information systems, and to prevent forest fires.

Project topics

Projects under the thematic priorities for Resource Efficiency, including soil and forests, and green and circular economy will focus on the implementation of the Roadmap to a Resource Efficient Europe, the EU action plan for the Circular Economy32, the Thematic Strategy for Soil Protection33 and the 2013 EU Forest Strategy34.

With respect to industrial symbiosis, knowledge transfer and the shift towards a circular and green economy, particular attention should be given to circular/resource efficient, environmentally sound performance of businesses, consumer policy, new business and consumption models, and value chains. Public support to circular economy has been so far biased toward 'recycling', while projects for reuse, repair and remanufacturing are underrepresented.35 If implemented along (local) value chains the circular economy has a big potential to create positive social effects for example with respect to job market integration of underprivileged individuals and formalising activities in the shadow economy. Projects addressing the circular economy are invited to consider these aspects alongside the direct measurable environmental impact. These value chains will address the priority sectors, and thus also promote the implementation of the upcoming 'Strategy on Plastics in the Circular Economy'36.

With regard to soil protection, there is a need to improve soil management and, in particular, to limit and mitigate soil sealing. Soil related data collected in the project should be provided to the relevant regional, national and/or EU data bases.

Projects targeting forests are expected to contribute to forest monitoring by providing any relevant data they may generate to current or future European forest information systems. On the other hand, there is a need to find cost-efficient close-to-nature or similar alternative silvicultural approaches to planted even-aged and single-species stands in order to further boost biodiversity and resilience. Particular efforts should be made to prevent the outbreak of forest fires, to minimise the conditions for their progression, and to increase overall forest resilience, especially in protected areas such as the Natura 2000 sites which hold a large proportion of forests and represent the backbone of the EU nature protection action.

Priority will be therefore given to the following projects:

Resource Efficiency, green and circular economy - Annex III, section A, point (c)(i)

1. Implementation of the circular economy concept targeting at least one of the priority sectors of the EU Action Plan for the Circular Economy37 and ensuring the use of high quality secondary resources, scrap materials and/or wastes within a value chain or different value chains. Already during the project duration, the implementation of the circular economy should:

  •   support transformation in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and/or

  •   integrate the social dimension in the value chain(s).

Soil - Annex III, section A, point (c)(ii)

1. Implementation of actions in line with the Soil Sealing Guidelines38 with improved efficiency compared to market solutions with a view to achieving region- or nationwide spatial development without further land take or soil sealing. Such actions shall consist in at least one of the following:

  •   limitation and/or other remediation actions focused on contaminated sites;

  •   mitigation of soil sealing and/or;

  •   compensation for soil sealing.

2. Implementation of integrated sustainable soil management practices in line with the Voluntary Guidelines for Soil Sustainable Management39 through regional, national or transnational networks or organisations.

Forests - Annex III, section A, point (c)(iii)

Besides the indicator data related to the forest habitats and ecosystems and their services, LIFE projects targeting forests should also provide data on the relevant indicators under criteria 1, 2, 4 and 5 of the Updated Pan-European Indicators for Sustainable Forest Management40.

1. Effective and efficient application of tools, methodologies, techniques, technologies and equipment to implement close-to-nature forest management approaches and similar silvicultural alternatives41 to more intensive42 forest management and/or management approaches based on planted even-aged and single-species stands, with a cost effectiveness comparable to that of medium or large scale operations used in an equivalent more intensive and/or even-aged and single-species forest management context43.

Explanatory note:

Close-to-nature forest management' (sometimes also referred to as 'ecologically sound forestry' or 'continuous cover forestry') is characterised by practices which try to emulate natural processes and which aim to combine the economic use of forests with nature conservation. The result are actively managed but multi-storeyed and rich mixed forests which are relatively close to natural forests. The concept includes active forest management with timber harvest and thus should not be mistaken for approaches explicitly intending to preserve natural processes e.g. in wilderness areas. The practices typically used may vary slightly from one country to another but would be expected to include the following elements use of native or site-adapted tree species, natural regeneration, limited machine operation, inclusion of nature conservation measures, exclusion of fertilisation or pesticide use, long rotation length, and single stem or group harvesting.44

2. Testing and implementing methods45 for converting existing highly fire-prone forests to more resilient stands with a lower fuel build-up and fire progression risk, relying on silvicultural and land management practices that favour semi-natural mixed or broad- leaved forests, exclude overexploitation of related waterbodies, and/or ensure sustainable land use reducing the fire risk and/or fire intensity.

2.2.4 Thematic priorities for Environment and Health, including chemicals and noise

Activities for the implementation of the specific objectives for environment and health set out in the 7th Environment Action Programme, in particular:

(i) Regulation concerning the Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH)46;

(ii) Environmental Noise Directive47;

(iii) Seveso III Directive48.

Project topics

With regard to environment and health, new methods to reduce the impact of chemicals, noise and industrial accidents on the environment and human health should be explored.

Priority will be therefore given to the following projects:

Chemicals – Annex III, section A, point (d)(i)
1. Reduction of the impact on the environment or human health, of at least one of the following:

Substances identified as hazardous to human health or to the environment under the Regulation on classification, labelling and packaging of substances and mixtures (CLP)49;

combination effects of chemicals, including endocrine disruptors; nanomaterials;
biocidal products and/or pesticides.

This shall be reached through one or more of the following:

  •   a safer or more sustainable use,

  •   minimisation of exposure to toxic chemicals in products or in the environment, and/or

  •   substitution with safer substances or with non-chemical solutions. Noise - Annex III, section A, point (d)(ii)

    Under this heading, priority will be given to projects in urban areas in order to improve the situation for a maximum number of persons.

1. Reduction of noise from roads inside densely populated urban areas by means of using low noise surfaces and/or tyres having life cycle costs comparable to those of standard surfaces and/or tyres while achieving a substantial noise reduction.

Industrial accidents - Annex III, section A, point (e)(iii)

1. Facilitation of the implementation of the Seveso III Directive (Directive 2012/18/EU) on the control of major-accident hazards involving dangerous substances through deployment of particularly cost-effective methodological tools for carrying out human health and environmental risk mapping, and for addressing domino effects. Projects shall foresee the demonstrative application of these tools by different duty holders and implement risk preventing or reducing measures on their basis.

2.2.5 Thematic priorities for Air quality and emissions, including urban environment

Activities for the implementation of the specific objectives for air and emissions in the Roadmap for a Resource-Efficient Europe and the 7th Environment Action Programme, in particular:

(i) integrated approaches to the implementation of Air quality legislation;

(ii) facilitate compliance with Union air quality and related air emissions standards including the National Emissions Ceilings Directive50;

(iii) enhanced implementation of the Industrial Emissions Directive51, with a special emphasis on improving BAT definition and implementation process, ensuring easy public access to information and enhancing the contribution of the IED to innovation.

31.12.2008, 1, as last amended to technical and scientific progress:


Project topics

The thematic priority “air quality and emissions including urban environment” focusses on the implementation of air quality legislation and a comprehensive approach to urban environmental problems. Air pollution remains the most serious environmental health problem in Europe, with a mortality rate more than ten times that from traffic accidents, and also having a significant impact on ecosystems (e.g. 70% of the EU's Natura 2000 sites suffer from eutrophication as a result of air pollution). It should be addressed in line with the forthcoming EU Air Quality Strategy for the period up to 2030. Projects should refer to PM and/or NO2, not to CO2. If reducing emissions of CO2 is the primary objective, the project should be submitted under the sub-programme for Climate Action.

The Industrial Emissions Directive (IED) is a key instrument for pollution prevention and control from large point sources. Experience with implementation of the IED (and its predecessor, the Directive on integrated pollution prevention and control IPPC) has allowed for identifying additional needs in terms of public information and the introduction of emerging techniques.

Priority will be therefore given to the following projects:

Air quality legislation and the NEC Directive - Annex III, section A, points (e)(i)-(ii)

Where not explicitly stated otherwise, air quality projects should generally focus on urban areas in order to cover as many people as possible.

Air quality improvement and emission reduction of particulate matter (PM) in areas with high use of solid fuel like biomass, coal, and peat for domestic heating. Such projects shall implement one or more of the following:

  •   technical52,

  •   management,

  •   regulatory and/or

  •   incentive based solutions53.

Sustainable road transport mobility aiming at emissions of air pollutants, the reduction of which is essential for helping meet air quality standards, focussing on one or more of the following:

  •   cleaner real world driving;

  •   cleaner or electric two- or three wheelers and/or analysis for and implementation

    on a test scale of related infrastructure needs;

  •   the use of electric or super low emission vehicles54;

  •   the use of alternative fuels;

  •   innovative retrofit programmes for vehicles55;

  •   alternative drive train technology56;

  •   high-impact traffic access systems such as Low Emission Zones and road pricing schemes through advanced access criteria and/or labels; and/or

  •   the use of innovative logistic platforms57.

3. Sustainable aviation and Non Road Mobile Machinery (NRMM) mobility aiming at reducing emissions, notably from existing NRMM not covered (yet) by Regulation (EU) 2016/162858.

4. Reduction of ammonia, methane and PM emissions from agriculture in support of the implementation of the upgraded UNECE Code of Good Practice for reducing emissions from agriculture59.

Industrial Emissions Directive - Annex III, section A, points (e)(iii)
1. Application of pollution prevention and abatement techniques referred to in the

Industrial Emissions Directive as emerging techniques.

Urban environment - Annex III, section A, point (e)

1. Implementation of integrated urban policies and regulatory approaches for sustainable planning and design and/or for supporting innovative technical solutions to improve at least one of the following aspects:

  •   urban public transport and mobility,

  •   energy or resource efficiency or no-/low-emission60 renewable energy or materials solutions61,

  •   local food production and/or

  •   the condition of urban ecosystems and their services62.




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