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LIFE programme, European funding for environment and climate actions: Statistics and key figures

LIFE is a flagship EU programme with around €5.43 billion (in current prices) for the period 2021-2027, with €1.94 billion allocated for the field of climate action. Given the increasing importance of climate-tech projects within our portfolio, we have taken a closer look at how LIFE funds have been invested in the past.

What is the LIFE programme?

The LIFE programme 2021-2027 is the only EU funding programme entirely dedicated to environmental, climate and energy objectives. It aims to boost the shift towards a clean, circular, energy efficient, climate-neutral and climate-resilient economy, through the transition to clean energy, but also by protecting and improving the quality of the environment. To date, LIFE has co-financed more than 5,000 projects.

The new LIFE programme framework runs from 2021 to 2027, and it contains two main fields of action (environment and climate action), and four sub-programmes:

  • nature and biodiversity: €2.15 billion of funding,
  • circular economy and quality of life:  €1.350 billion of funding,
  • climate change mitigation and adaptation: €0.95 billion of funding,
  • clean energy transition: €1 billion of funding.

In February 2021, the former Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA) was replaced by the European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency (CINEA), whose mission is to implement some new EU programmes. Today, CINEA manages the LIFE  Programme which  focuses on environmental, nature conservation, climate action and clean energy projects.

2021 LIFE calls: statistics and key figures

Unfortunately, the European Commission has still not released the statistics of the LIFE programme in 2022 but the available data for 2021 is comprehensive and well detailed.

With a total EU contribution worth more than €604 million, 200 projects received funding in the 2021 calls representing an increase of 19% compared to the previous year. The number of participants also rose by 35% to 1671, with an average of 8 participants per project. 

The following diagram shows the share of projects by project duration. The most typical duration is 36 months but 71.5% are longer projects. 

Source: CINEA Project Portfolio https://webgate.ec.europa.eu/dashboard/sense/app/a429734c-ebed-4cf8-afe1-cd9c75f14032/sheet/4c9ea8df-f0f9-4c0d-b26b-99fc0218d9d9/state/analysis

Regarding the participant’s legal status, most of the awardees were private institutions (57.3%), and the remaining 42.7% of the awarded participants belonged to public organizations. 

Source: CINEA Project Portfolio https://webgate.ec.europa.eu/dashboard/sense/app/a429734c-ebed-4cf8-afe1-cd9c75f14032/sheet/4c9ea8df-f0f9-4c0d-b26b-99fc0218d9d9/state/analysis

LIFE projects in 2021: More than €600 million European funding for environment and climate actions

In 2021, the budget was divided into  a total of four subprogrammes: 

  • LIFE Clean Energy Transition,
  • LIFE Climate,
  • LIFE Environment,
  • LIFE Nature.

Source: CINEA Project Portfolio https://webgate.ec.europa.eu/dashboard/sense/app/a429734c-ebed-4cf8-afe1-cd9c75f14032/sheet/4c9ea8df-f0f9-4c0d-b26b-99fc0218d9d9/state/analysis

The most of the awarded projects belonged to LIFE Clean Energy Transition (70 out of 200 projects, 35%):

Source: CINEA Project Portfolio https://webgate.ec.europa.eu/dashboard/sense/app/a429734c-ebed-4cf8-afe1-cd9c75f14032/sheet/4c9ea8df-f0f9-4c0d-b26b-99fc0218d9d9/state/analysis

Source: CINEA Project Portfolio https://webgate.ec.europa.eu/dashboard/sense/app/a429734c-ebed-4cf8-afe1-cd9c75f14032/sheet/4c9ea8df-f0f9-4c0d-b26b-99fc0218d9d9/state/analysis

Awarded projects per country

The most awarded projects were located in Italy (70 out of 200 projects), Spain (68 projects), Belgium (56 projects), the Netherlands (47 projects), France (47 projects),  Germany (43 projects), Portugal (35 projects), Greece (34 projects), and Croatia (25 projects).

Source: CINEA Project Portfolio https://webgate.ec.europa.eu/dashboard/sense/app/a429734c-ebed-4cf8-afe1-cd9c75f14032/sheet/4c9ea8df-f0f9-4c0d-b26b-99fc0218d9d9/state/analysis

Belgium was the country that received the biggest chunk of funding (€84 382 294), followed by Italy (€72 660 112), France (€67 523 255) and Spain (€67 070 747).

Source: CINEA Project Portfolio https://webgate.ec.europa.eu/dashboard/sense/app/a429734c-ebed-4cf8-afe1-cd9c75f14032/sheet/4c9ea8df-f0f9-4c0d-b26b-99fc0218d9d9/state/analysis

From a total of 1671 participants in the LIFE Programme 2021, the top 10 organizations in number of projects are the Institute for European Energy and Climate Policy Stichting (the Netherlands), Centre for Renewable Energy Sources and Saving Foundation (Greece), Rgionalna Energetsko-Klimatska Agencija Sjeverozapadne Hrvatske (Croatia), Agencia Estatal Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas (Spain), Ethnicon Metsovion Polytechnion (Greece), Krajowa Agencja Poszanowania Energii Spolka Akcyjna (Poland), Consiglio Nazionale Delle Ricerche (Italy), Instituto de Sistemas e Robotica-Associacao (Portugal), Fraunhofer Gesellschaft zur Forderung der Angewandten Forschung Ev (Germany), Federation Europeenne des Agences et des Regions pour l’Energie et l’Environnement (Belgium) and Enviros Sro (Czechia).

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